U.S. Relations With Malawi

Bureau of African Affairs
Fact Sheet
March 31, 2016

More information about Malawi is available on the Malawi Page and from other Department of State publications and other sources listed at the end of this fact sheet.


The United States 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 United States and Malawi and the two countries have worked together to advance health, education, agriculture, energy, and environmental stewardship in Malawi. In 2012, the United States reinstated the Millennium Challenge Corporation Compact partnership with Malawi, following a number of reforms enacted by the Malawi government.

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 forums. The United States and Malawi engage in military-to-military programs. Malawi was the first southern African nation to receive peacekeeping training under the U.S.-sponsored African Crisis Response Force Initiative and has joined its successor, the Africa Contingency Operations Training and Assistance program.

U.S. Assistance to Malawi

U.S. assistance in Malawi seeks to promote health and medical service delivery; improve food security and agriculture-based economic growth and poverty reduction; 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; 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. For example, the USAID-supported Early Grade Reading Initiative is partnering with the Ministry of Education to improve teacher training and provision of educational materials to significantly increase reading skills and comprehension among early primary school students. Malawi is also continuing a $350.7 million Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) compact aimed at improving Malawi’s power sector.

Bilateral Economic Relations

Malawi is eligible for preferential trade benefits under the African Growth and Opportunity Act. U.S. exports to Malawi include wheat, pharmaceutical products, baking-related products, and machinery. U.S. imports from Malawi include tobacco, apparel, tea, macadamia nuts, and sugars.

The United States has signed a trade and investment framework agreement with the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa, of which Malawi is a member.

Malawi's Membership in International Organizations

Malawi and the United States belong to a number of the same international organizations, including the United Nations, International Monetary Fund, World Bank, and World Trade Organization. Malawi is also a member of the International Criminal Court, but has signed a bilateral immunity agreement with the United States.

Bilateral Representation

The current U.S. Ambassador to Malawi is Virginia Palmer; other principal embassy officials are listed in the Department's Key Officers List.

Malawi maintains an embassy in the United States at 2408 Massachusetts Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20005 (tel. 202-721-0270).

More information about Malawi is available from the Department of State and other sources, some of which are listed here:

Department of State Malawi Page
Department of State Key Officers List
CIA World Factbook Malawi Page
U.S. Embassy: Malawi
USAID Malawi Page
History of U.S. Relations With Malawi
Human Rights Reports
International Religious Freedom Reports
Trafficking in Persons Reports
Narcotics Control Reports
Investment Climate Statements
Office of the U.S. Trade Representative Countries Page
U.S. Census Bureau Foreign Trade Statistics
Export.gov International Offices Page
Millennium Challenge Corporation
Travel and Business Information