The U.S. established diplomatic relations with Malawi in 1964, following its full independence from the United Kingdom. Malawi was a one-party state from 1966 to 1994. The transition to multi-party democracy in 1994 strengthened bilateral relations between the U.S. and Malawi and the two countries have worked together to advance health, education, agriculture, energy, and environmental stewardship in Malawi. U.S. and Malawian views on the necessity of economic and political stability in southern Africa generally coincide. Malawi advocates peaceful solutions to the region’s problems through negotiation and works to achieve these objectives in a variety of regional and international fora.
U.S. Assistance to Malawi
The U.S. seeks to promote health and medical service delivery; improve food security and agriculture-based economic growth; reduce poverty; preserve Malawi’s unique biodiversity and its ability to mitigate climate change; strengthen public and private institutions for better delivery of social services; empower the private sector and civil society; promote economic growth through the revitalization of Malawi’s power sector; and advance democracy, human rights, and good governance. U.S. partnerships with the Government of Malawi, civil society, and other donors aim to strengthen and buttress the government’s efforts to overcome constraints to meet the basic needs of its citizens, support regional stability, and help the government remain a responsible actor on the international stage.
Bilateral Economic Relations
Malawi is eligible for preferential trade benefits under the African Growth and Opportunity Act. U.S. exports to Malawi totaled $40 million in 2016, and included pharmaceutical products, small electronics, and donated goods, including agricultural products. U.S. imports from Malawi totaled $75 million in 2016, and included tobacco, tea, sugar, macadamia nuts, coffee, and apparel. While U.S. investment is modest, U.S. companies have invested in the agriculture, leisure and tourism, retail, and power sectors. The U.S. has signed a trade and investment framework agreement with the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa, of which Malawi is a member.