Poverty persists in Malawi

Sosten Gwengwe

Over half of the country’s population is still grappling with poverty as human development conditions are still weak.

This is according to the 2021 Malawi National Human Development Report (MNHDR).

The Human Development Index (HDI), which shows development conditions, is a composite index of life expectancy, education and income indicators that are used for ranking countries into tiers of human development.


The report has been produced with financial support and expertise from United Nations Development Programme (UNDP),

The report has also quoted a National Statistical Office (NSO) report for 2021, which indicated that poverty levels in the country were as high as 50.7 percent.

The analysis also shows that the rate of urban poverty has increased from 17.7 percent in 2016-17 to 19.2 percent in 2019-20 but the rural poverty rate has decreased from 59.5 percent to 56.6 percent.


Mchinji District has the largest population of people living in poverty at 68.5 percent.

The Northern Region leads in HDI value at 0.4956 with life expectancy at 65.1; the Central Region is at 0.945, with life expectancy at 66.75, while the Southern Region is at the bottom, at 0.490, with life expectancy at 63.9 percent.

“The Covid pandemic presents a human development crisis that is likely to reverse the gains made so far in key human development dimensions of health, education and per capita income,” the report reads.

According to the report, the pandemic has worsened the poverty situation, particularly in urban areas, as people have lost jobs, and depressed markets.

The disease has also worsened revenue collection due to reduced economic activity following restrictions that were imposed to contain the spread of coronavirus.

Blantyre and Neno have the highest HDI at 0.514 while Machinga is at the bottom with 0.455.

Finance Minister Sosten Gwengwe said the country had mixed fortunes because it was coming from “quite a lot” of challenges and is still facing challenges such as storms and the Russia- Ukraine war.

“But we are a resilient economy and resilient people; so, we are moving forward. Some of the districts are doing better while others are not doing well,” he said.

He has given Malawi an average score as the report shows that, as compared to countries such as Mozambique, Malawi is doing better but the country is not doing well when compared to countries such as Zambia.

UNDP Resident Representative to Malawi Shigeki Komatsubara said the study shows that Malawi has been improving but remains in the middle between the worst performing and top performing countries.

“This report is ground breaking because we are not just talking about Malawi as a whole; some districts are doing better than others. We are doing well but we must do better,” Komatsubara said.

In September last year, NSO released a report that shed light on levels of poverty in the country.

In the 2020 Malawi Pover ty Repor t , the government indicated that over half of the population in Malawi lived in poverty.

The report also showed that the poverty line in Malawi was estimated was K165,869 per year while the ultra-poverty line at estimated at K101,293 per year in 2020.

The report also exposed levels of extreme poverty in the Central Region.

It showed that, in the 2016-17 year, the national proportion of the population that was poor reduced from 51.5 percent to 50.7 percent in 2019-20.

“This means that slightly over half of the population in Malawi lived in poverty,” the report indicated.

It further showed that, in 2020, the Central Region had the highest proportion of the population that was poor, followed by the Southern Region and the Northern Region.

The report also said the Central Region had the highest ultra-poverty rate in 2019-20 at 25.4 percent followed by the Southern Region at 19.1 percent and the Northern Region at 8.6 percent.

“Analysis by district shows that Mchinj i registered the highest ultra-poverty rate in 2019-20 at 33.7 percent followed by Lilongwe Rural at 32.8 percent and Salima at 31.8 percent,” it indicated.

Facebook Notice for EU! You need to login to view and post FB Comments!
Show More

Related Articles

Back to top button

Adblock Detected

Please consider supporting us by disabling your ad blocker