Formerly the british protectorate of Nyasaland, the Republic of Malawi won its independence in 1964, setting the stage for 30 years of one-party rule under President Hastings Kamuzu Banda. In 1994, Malawi held its first multiparty elections. The long colonial legacy in the region, which made Malawians the labor force for agricultural and mining economies in adjacent countries, has continued to prevent the country from making substantial economic progress, along with problems in governance and policy.

Malawi is one of the least developed countries in the world even though natural resources include limestone, hydropower, and deposits of uranium, coal, and bauxite. Barely 16 percent of the population is urbanized. More than 23 percent of land area is arable, and over 90 percent of the workforce

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