The Malawi government faces challenges in building and expanding the economy, improving education, health care, environmental protection, and becoming financially independent.
According to the Human Development Report of 2013, Malawi’s Human Development Index (HDI) is 0.418 which ranks the country at 170 out of 187 countries. Although Malawi has improved the welfare of its citizens, the country still faces a number of challenges including: insufficient energy generation and supply; high transportation costs; inadequate skilled human resource; inadequate financial resources; narrow export base; inadequate diversification; high illiteracy levels; high population growth; over dependence on rain-fed agriculture and HIV and AIDS pandemic.
Increased primary school enrollment and literacy levels have been some of the major successes in the country’s development. Photo: UN Malawi.
Several development milestones have been achieved by Malawi over the years. The poverty headcount has declined from 50 percent in 2005 to 39 percent in 2010 while the proportion of population below minimum level of dietary energy requirement has decreased from about 22 percent in 2005 to 15 percent in 2009.
There has been an increase in primary school net enrolment from 73 percent in 2006 to 83 percent in 2009 while youth literacy rate has increased from 74.9 percent in 2005 to about 84 percent in 2009. Progress has also been made on gender equality and empowerment of women. The ratio of girls to boys in primary school has increased from 0.95 in 2005 to 1.03 in 2009. The proportion of seats held by women in Parliament has significantly improved from 14 percent in 2004 to 22 percent in 2009.
In addition, progress has also been made on reducing child mortality and improving maternal health. Infant mortality rate has declined from 76 deaths per 1,000 live births in 2004 to 66 per 1,000 live births in 2010, while under-five mortality rate has declined from 133 deaths per 1,000 live births in 2004 to 112 deaths per 1,000 live births in 2010. Maternal mortality rate has declined from 984 births per 100,000 live births in 2004 to 675 births per 100,000 live births in 2010.