Malawi’s economic resurgence has been interrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic, which saw socioeconomic restrictions and border closings that resulted in inaccessible markets, job losses and price hikes that that have the potential to send up to 2.2 million people into poverty temporarily.
Agriculture is the mainstay of Malawi’s economy, being the primary economic activity for over 80 per cent of the 18.6 million population. Infrastructure development, manufacturing and adoption of new technology are low, while corruption levels remain high – Transparency International ranked Malawi at position 123 out of180 in 2019. On the other hand, the country’s Ease of Doing Business score improved from 59.59 in 2019 to 60.9 in 2020.
Though Malawi has one of the lowest electricity access rates in the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) region at 18 per cent, it has been gradually rising over the last decade due to, among other factors, expansion of the Malawi Rural Electrification Programme (MAREP) and the proliferation of solar technologies. But the current annual population growth rate of 2.8 per cent is outstripping the pace of electrification at an average of 0.82 per cent over the last five years.