Register your business

There are three types of entities that can be registered at the office of the Registrar General in Malawi:

  • Sole proprietorships, which once registered are renewable every three years. These are registered under the Business Registration Act 2012.
  • Partnerships, which once registered are renewable every three years. These are registered under the Business Registration Act 2012.
  • Limited liability companies, which are classified into four categories, namely: Public Limited Liability Companies, Private Limited Liability Companies, Companies limited by guarantee, and State Owned Companies. These are registered under the Companies Act, 2013.
Business entities can be registered either online  Department of Registrar General  or at the Registrar General offices in Blantyre, Lilongwe and Mzuzu by filling and submitting  the Application Form  and relevant documents. 

Business registration requirements

Investors establishing their business investments are required to take the following steps:

    1. Apply for a Certificate of Incorporation at the Registrar General of the Ministry of Justice
    2. Register for income tax at the Malawi Revenue Authority
    3. Apply for a license from the City Assembly to operate in the chosen area
    4. Foreign businesses must pay the requisite fee and obtain the license from Ministry of Industry, Trade and Tourism
    5. Apply for a registration of the workplace
    6. Receive inspection of the company premises by the Occupational Safety,Health, and Welfare Department
    7. Register for PAYE and fringe benefit tax at the Malawi Revenue Authority

What is required for a company registration

  • Physical address of the business entity;
  • Names of directors, at least one of whom must be a citizen of Malawi;
  • Consent from shareholders;
  • Memorandum/articles of association.

Additional government entities with whom the business will need to register

Depending on the sector, the business will need to be registered with these additional entities: 

  • Department of Environmental Affairs for Environmental and social  Impact Assessment certificate 
  • A hospitality business entity must register with the Tourism and Hotels Board to get a Tourism Development Certificate;
  • An agriculture seed production investment entity must register with Seed Services Unit of the Department of Agricultural Research Services (DARS) under Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development;
  • A medical/clinical entity must register with Medical Council of Malawi while a pharmacy entity has to register with the Pharmacy, Medicines and Poisons Board (PMPB);
  • An education business entity must register with Ministry of Education or National Council for Higher Education (NCHE) for a tertiary education institution; 
  • A telecommunications entity must register with the Malawi Communications Regulatory Authority (MACRA);
  • A transport business entity must register with Ministry of Transport and Public Works as follows: road transport business to register with Road Traffic Directorate, Air transport to register with Department of Civil Aviation, and marine services must register with Department of Marine Services;
  • A construction business entity must register with National Construction Industry Council;
  • An energy related investment must register with the Malawi Energy Regulatory Authority (MERA);
  • An irrigation investment must contact the Department of Irrigation in the Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation Water and Development and  National Water Resources Authority on water issues;

Visit the Malawi One-stop Centre for concise information on investing in Malawi.

Before visiting different institutions to register a business entity in Malawi, it is required that investors visit the One Stop Service Centre (OSSC) operated by the Malawi Investment and Trade Centre to get more information on investment. The  role of MITC is to facilitate and promote investment and trade. The key services offered by the One Stop Service Centre include:

  • Facilitation of company registration and incorporation, Processing and issuance of Investment Certificates,
  • Processing and Issuance of Employment Permits and Business Residence Permits
  • Facilitation of access to land for investment
  • Facilitation of access to tax incentives
  • Facilitation of access to other sector permits and investor requirements

Click here: Malawi Investment and Trade Centre

Investment concessions

To promote investments in Malawi, the government gives investment concession to investors on a case by case basis  depending on the  sector  of investment  and priority sectors   designated by Ministry of Finance, Economic Planning and Developmet.

Environment impact assessment

An investor  should obtain an Environment Impact Assessment Certificate that is issued by the Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA) under the Ministry of Natural Resources, Energy and Mining.

  • Persons and investments whose activities adversely affect the environment shall have a duty to regularly monitor their environmental performance.
  • The EIA guidelines are available to facilitate investors’ compliance with Malawi’s EIA requirements by government agencies, project developers, consultants and donors in different sectors.  The Guidelines provide comprehensive guidance for anyone wishing to develop a project in any of these sectors: Mining projects, Irrigation and drainage projects, Sanitation projects, and Waste management projects.

EIA fees

Current the fees as provided include scrutiny fee of MK 50,000 (US$ 68); and fees for review of a full EIA report are around MK 1.0m – 3.0 m (or US$ 1,362- 4,087) depending upon project cost.

Environmental permits and licences

In addition to obtaining an EIA certificate, an investor is required to obtain a permit/ license depending on the nature of their activity.

Find out more...

Relevant institutions Environmental Affairs Department,

Types of environmental permits or licenses

Permit/license Requirements Act/regulation Implementing agency
Water permit To use and/or abstract water, build dams Water Resources Act Water Resource Board/ Water Abstraction Committee
Effluent discharge consent To control water pollution Water Pollution Control Regulation Environmental Affairs Department
Air pollution license To emit any gas or other pollutants into the atmosphere Environmental Management Act Environmental Affairs Department
Waste license To handle, store, transport, classify or destroy waste other than domestic waste, or operate a waste disposal site Environmental Management Act Environmental Affairs Department
Hazardous waste license To import or export and transport any hazardous waste in Malawi Environmental Management Act Environmental Affairs Department

What investors think

Generally, investors reported a very enabling environment for private investment.

However, concerns were raised on fiscal policy regimes such as high taxes on some goods produced by certain investors. The lengthy process of obtaining business licenses from different institutions/offices, coupled with limited window for on line processing of the said licenses, were also raised as concerns.

Population and skills

Malawi’s population is estimated at 17.2 million in 2017. Forty six percent is below the age of 15 years.

The education system is guided by the National Education Act and a five year rolling policy and strategic framework known as Education Sector Implementation Plans. The education system comprises early child development (ECD), primary, secondary, vocational and technical, and tertiary education institutions. 

Tertiary education  is  regulated by the National Council for Higher Education (NCHE). There are four public universities and 16 private accredited universities in the country. The tertiary education system has been growing over the past few years with enrollment in public universities increasing from 7,900 in 2008 to 13,000 in 2014.

The four public universities are:

The country also has technical, entrepreneurial, vocational education and training (TEVET) which is provided in government technical colleges across the country targeting secondary school leavers. 

Various private and public colleges also provide certificate and diploma levels of training.

University of Malawi (UNIMA)

Of the four public universities, University of Malawi (UNIMA) is the oldest. It was founded in 1965, a few months after Malawi Independence and has four constituent colleges, namely: Chancellor College in Zomba; The Polytechnic in Blantyre, the College of Medicine also in Blantyre, and Kamuzu College of Nursing in Lilongwe.   

Chancellor College is the largest among the constituent colleges of the University of Malawi. The college comprises five faculties: The Faculty of Humanities, the Faculty of Law, the Faculty of Science, the Faculty of Social Science, and the Faculty of Education. 

The College of Medicine was opened in September 1991 with the aim of  training home grown medical doctors to carter for the country’s needs.

Employment and contracts

Employment is guided by four laws:

The Labour Relations Act, 1996: promotes sound labour relations through the protection and promotion of freedom of association, the encouragement of effective collective bargaining and the promotion of orderly and expeditious dispute settlement, conducive to social justice and economic development.

The Employment Act, 2000: establishes, reinforces, and regulates minimum standards of employment with the purpose of ensuring equity necessary for enhancing industrial peace, accelerate economic growth and social Justice. For instance, it requires employers to set out employee's normal working hours in the employment contract, and defines over time hours for employees, amongst others.

The Workers’ Compensation Act, 2000: provides for compensation for injuries suffered or diseases contracted by workers in the course of their employment or for death resulting from such injuries or diseases; it provides for the establishment and administration of a Workers’ Compensation Fund.

The Occupational Safety, Health and Welfare Act, 1997: makes provision for the regulation of the conditions of employment in workplaces as regards the safety, health and welfare of employees, for the inspection of certain plant and machinery, and the prevention and regulation of accidents occurring to persons employed or to go into the workplaces.


The table below sets wages typically paid by foreign investors.

By comparison, the minimum wage set by the government is MK 25,012 (US$ 35) per month for unskilled labour. 

The work week is 5 days, with a maximum of 8 hours per day.

The Table below shows the indicative monthly wages paid by foreign investors in Malawi*.

Monthly Wages

Senior managerUSD3500-50002017per month, plus other benefits
Middle managerUSD2500-30002017per month, plus other benefits
Graduate entry USD900-12002017Per month
skilled TechnicianUSD150-3002017Per month
Administrative Assistant USD150-2002017Per month
Unskilled USD802017Per month

Find out more...

Relevant institutions Ministry of Labour, Youth, Sports and Manpower Development

Non-wage benefits

Employers are required by the Employment Act, 2000 to provide annual, sick and maternity leave as described in the table below.

Other benefits, offered to middle and senior management include:

  • security
  • medical insurance
  • school fees
  • car and fuel,
  • phone and airtime.

Leave entitlements

Type of leave Period on full pay
Annual leave if working 6 days a week 18 days a year
Annual leave if working 5 days a week 15 days a year
Sick leave According to length of medical certificate
Maternity leave 8 weeks

Find out more...

Relevant institutions Ministry of Labour, Youth, Sports and Manpower Development

Social security and other contributions

The National Pension Act 2010 requires every employer to “make provision for every person under his employment to be a member of the National Pension Scheme.”

Minimum contribution amounts are set out in the table.

The Scheme pays out in the form of pension benefit or death benefit. Members are entitled to receive pension benefits under the following conditions:

  • upon reaching retirement age which may be set between 50-70 years;
  • on the basis of years of service; currently set at 20 years of continuous service with one employer;
  • retired on medical grounds;
  • upon leaving Malawi permanently.

Minimum pension contributions

From employer From employee
Minimum contribution 10% 5%

Work permits

All investors and non-Malawian workers require permits. Permits are issued by the office of the Director General for Malawi Immigration and Citizenship Services under the Ministry of Home Affairs and Internal Security. 

The time for approval process for permits is detailed in the table below.

Type of permit Maximum approval time
Temporary employment permit 20 working days
Business resident permit 40 working days
Permanent resident permit 40 working days
Student permit 20 working days
Temporary resident permit 20 working days
Extension of visitor permit 1 working day

Find out more...

Relevant institutions Ministry of Home Affairs and Internal Security

What investors think

The abundance of the labour pool in Malawi makes labour costs cheap.  In the event of limited technical capacity at any level, it is easy to develop the required skills, i.e. labour is easily trainable. Regarding the processing of work/ business permits, there were concerns over the delays in service delivery, such that companies have to visit the Immigration offices several times. However, there are plans for introduction of on-line permit applications and approvals which is expected to improve the processing of permits.  The online system is expected to roll out in 2018


Electricity generation capacity is at 319 megawats against demand levels of 324 megawats. About 60 percent is consumed by the industrial and large commercial entities, 25 percent by domestic users, and 15 percent by small commercial producers.

Before the reforms, Malawi used to have one public electricity entity known as Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi (ESCOM) which was responsible for generation, transmission and distribution to end users.

Currently, there are two major public companies in the electricity industry, namely Electricity Generation Company Malawi Limited (EGENCO) which is responsible for electricity generation created following the enactment of the Electricity (Amendment Act 2016), and ESCOM which retains the electricity transmission and distribution functions.

The new Electricity Amendment Act of 2016 is encouraging private investments in the electricity sector. As such, in the case of solar power, about 70 megawats of solar energy is expected to be produced by Independent Power Producers (IPPs) in the last quarter of 2017.

ESCOM connection charge is MK46,600 (US$63.50), and connection is done within 14 days.

Electricity Supply Tarrifs

Domestic, pre-paid, single phase supplyMK(USD)41.35 (0.06 )October, 2016Unit charge per KWh per month
Domestic, post-paid, single phase supplyMK(USD)2795.75 (3.81)October, 2016Fixed charges per month
Domestic, post-paid, single phase supplyMK(USD)35.79 (0.05)October, 2016Unit charge per KWh per month
Domestic, pre-paid, three phase supplyMK(USD)64.04 (0.09)October,2016Unit charge per KWh per month
Domestic, post-paid, three phase supplyMK(USD)7987.84 (10.88)October, 2016Fixed charge per month
Domestic, post-paid, three phase supplyMK(USD)57.37 (0.08)October, 2016Unit charge per KWh per month
Maximum demand- Low Voltage supply (large power for industrial users, supplied at three phase supply and metered at 400 volts)MK(USD)27,950 (38.08)October, 2016Fixed charge per month
Maximum demand- Low Voltage supply (large power for industrial users, supplied at three phase supply and metered at 400 volts)MK(USD)78.48 (0.11)October, 2016One peak charge per KVA based on customer annual declared demand
Maximum demand- low voltage supply (large power for industrial users, supplied at three phase supply and metered at 11kv or 33kvMK(USD)27,950.00 (38.08)October, 2016Fixed charge per month
Maximum demand- low voltage supply (large power for industrial users, supplied at three phase supply and metered at 11kv or 33kvMK(USD)69.88 (0.10)October, 2016On peak unit charge per KWh

Find out more...

Relevant institutions ESCOM


Malawi has vast expanses of water systems. The major ones include: Lake Malawi (28,750 km2), Lake Malombe (303 km2), Lake Chilwa (683 km2), and Lake Chiuta (130km2). The country also boasts several small to medium size reservoirs, perennial rivers as well as groundwater resources hence it is a water abundant country.

The nationwide accessibility to safe water is 87% according to Malawi Demographic and Health Survey of 2015/16. Over 90 percent of households in urban areas and over 83 percent of households in rural areas have access to improved water sources.

Institutional Arrangements in the water sector.

The legal and regulatory structures for water resources management and water services are framed from the Water Resources Act and Water Works Act. These Acts control the institutional and organizational arrangements under which the water sector operates, the pricing and tariff arrangements, the water supply and water-borne sanitation delivery and water resources management practices.

The management of water resources in the country is primarily under the responsibility of the Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development (MoAIWD) for policy-making, supervision and direction. The National Water Resources Authority established under the Water Resources Act of 2013 and Water Boards established under Water Works Act 1995, play various roles in the water resources development, management and service delivery.

Blantyre Water Board provides water to about 85 percent of Blantyre City’s population of 1.4 million for domestic, institutional, commercial and industrial purposes from a daily production of 78,000,000 litres.

There are five water boards:

Blantyre Water Board provides water to about 85 percent of Blantyre City’s population of 1.4 million for domestic, institutional, commercial and industrial purposes from a daily production of 78,000,000 litres.

Lilongwe Water Board provides water to Lilongwe City, the capital of Malawi, with a capacity of is 125,000 cubic meters per day, for a population of about 1,000,000. There are about 65,000 metered customers and more than 600 water Kiosks (communal water selling points) within Lilongwe City. 

The cost of water connection is about MK27,000 (US$37.0) for residential areas. For industrial sites, the rates are a bit higher and depend upon the distance to the investment site from where water the nearest water pipes are. 

Find out more...

Relevant institutions Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development

Water consumption costs

Water consumption in US$/cubic metre

Water Volume         

15 cubic metres          

50 cubic metres          

100 cubic metres



Fixed Charge


Variable Charge


Other Charge 



The regulatory frameworks for the ICT sector includes: the Communications Act, 1998 which establishes the Malawi Communications Regulatory Authority (MACRA); the Science and Technology Act, 2003, and the Digital Broadcasting Policy, 2013. 

Over the years, Malawi has been undertaking major reforms in the ICT sector. They started in the 1990s through separation and commercialization of the then incumbent Telecom operator and Post Office into Malawi Telecom Limited (MTL) and Malawi Postal Corporation (MPC), respectively.

The National ICT Policy, 2013 seeks to encourage the private sector's participation in ICT development to facilitate the roll-out of community-based ICT initiatives, and the National Access to Information Policy, 2014.


Mobile data 1 GBUSD32018Valid for 7 days
Mobile data 1 GBUSD72018Valid for 30 days
Mobile data 2 GBUSD82018Valid for 30 days
Mobile data 20GBUSD462018Valid for 30 days

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Relevant institutions Malawi Communication Regulatory Authority

Transport infrastructure

Road transport remains the major mode of transport in Malawi. It handles more than 70% of the internal freight traffic and 99% of passenger traffic. The general condition of the road network has improved slightly during the past 5 years, and is expected to improve further in the coming years. 

The Malawi transport sector is guided by the National Transport Policy which seeks to ensure the provision of a coordinated transport environment that fosters a safe and competitive operation of commercially viable, financially sustainable, and environmentally friendly transport services and enterprises. The scope of the policy covers all modes of transport namely; road, rail, air and marine.

The major thrust of the policy is Government of Malawi’s commitment to increasing private sector participation in the provision, management and operation of transport infrastructure and services.

Find out more...

Relevant institutions Ministry of Transport and Public Works


Malawi’s international economic markets are currently accessed through the four key ports of Durban in Republic of South Africa, Beira and Nacala in Mozambique and Dar es Salaam in Tanzania.  Malawi also has good road networks that connect the country to its neighbours.


The railway network in Malawi consists of 797 km of mainline single cape gauge. Of this, 101km between Nkaya and Nayuchi is being upgraded by the private sector as part of the route from the coal mines at Moatize in Mozambique to Nacala on the coast.


Malawi’s inland water transport system comprises Lake Malawi and Lake Chilwa. Plans are underway to develop the Shire-Zambezi inland water corridor. Lake Malawi has four ports as designated under the Inland Waters Shipping Act and some landing points along the shores.


The aviation infrastructure consists of two international airports at Lilongwe and Blantyre, and four domestic airports with paved runways at Likoma, Karonga, Mzuzu, and Club Makokola in Mangochi.

The Government is in the process of expanding Kamuzu International Airport in Lilongwe and Chileka International Airport in Blantyre as part of its efforts to improve the aviation infrastructure.

Transport costs

The following are the transport rates for international and local routes


Johannesburg to LilongweUSD3,700201840' container
Beira to LilongweUSD3,100-4,000201840' container
Beira to BlantyreUSD1,920-2,250201840' container
Nacala to BlantyreUSD3,300201840' container

What investors think

Investors appreciate the efforts to improve the investment environment.

However, electricity blackouts which characterize the supply of electricity energy was cited as the most constraint to private sector investment, as it either raises costs of production through investments in gen sets or simply derails production activities. In addition, the poor conditions of the most of the road, rail and airport, are a hindrance to the private sector operations. This hinders investments in several other sectors.

The poor access to ICT services is also negatively affecting the investments in several other sectors of the economy including banking and registration services. 

Types of land

According to the new Land Act 2016, Malawi has two categories of land, namely:

  • Public land which comprises Government land and unallocated customary land used for the benefit of the community as a whole, and
  • Private land which comprises freehold land, leasehold land, and customary estates.

The new Land Act prohibits granting of freehold to a person, but allows those that are already holding such land titles to continue. The Office of Commissioner of Lands administers and manages land issues such as making grants, leases and other dispositions. 

Find out more...

Relevant documents Physical Planning Act Land bill
Relevant institutions Ministry of Land, Housing and Urban Development

Acquisition procedures

The new Land Act 2016 which has been assented but not yet in force and the National Land Policy, 2002, outline the conditions and procedures for land acquisition by investors. These are as follows:

  • Land designated for investment purposes shall be identified, published in the Gazette and allocated to the Malawi Investment and Trade Centre which shall create derivative rights to investors in accordance with the Investment and Export Promotion Act, 2012.
  • The size of land allocated to investors shall be in accordance with the ceilings which may be set by the minister responsible for lands in consultation with minister responsible for investments, based on the type of activity and location of land.
  • Non-Malawian investors can be granted lease of land with a maximum period of 50 years, while for Malawians it is 99 years.
  • Sale of leased land to a non-Malawian shall be done if the sale of land is published in a newspaper in daily circulation not less than 21 days before the date of sale, specifying price, location and size of the private land, and developments on the land. Sale of the advertised land shall be made if no Malawian is able to purchase the said land at the advertised price or higher.
  • Non-Malawians shall not exchange title of land amongst themselves by way of gift.

Land costs

  • Cost of purchasing land in Malawi varies with the location of land, and developments made thereto.
  •  Most land plot in town and cities and lakeshore areas cost between US$10,000 and US$150,000.00. The same applies to farm land, though for bigger land sizes.
  •  Information on land and developed properties for sale in towns, cities and lakeshore areas is available in local print media.
  •  Land rentals also vary with location, but the summary annual ground/ land rent for leased land in major cities are as follows:


Residential landUS$ 3352017Per ha per year
Industrial rail serviced landUS$ 1,7002017Per ha per year
Industrial landUS$ 2,0002017Per ha per year
Commercial city centre landUS$ 5,4002017Per ha per year
Commercial landUS$ 4,0002017Per ha per year
Institutional US$ 2, 3002017Per ha per year

Construction permit procedures

An investor who has acquired land and requires a construction permit needs to take the following steps:

  • Prepare block and building plans using engineers and/or architectures approved by the National Construction Council of Malawi;
  • Fill in and submit Development Permission forms at the office of the Regional Commissioner of Lands. Attached to the Development Permission Form should be site plan, and block and building plans;
  • Once the block and building plans have been approved by the Regional Commissioner of Lands, the applicant takes them to the district or city council in which the investment is to take place;
  • A scrutiny fee charged by the council should be paid upon submission of the block and building plans;
  • At the council, the plans are first reviewed by a technical committee which could decide whether an Environmental Impact Assessment report is required to be included in the submission or not;
  • Upon the recommendation of the technical committee, the council’s town planning committee further reviews and approves the submitted investment plans; 
  • Once the town planning committee is satisfied with the application details, it issues a grant permission in accordance with the Town and Planning Act (cap 23:01) outlining conditions of the granted approval including validity of the granted approval, payment of certificate of occupation fee after completion which is 1% of total cost of the development, amongst others.

Special economic zones

The Export Processing Zones (EPZs) regime was established to attract export-orientated industries, by offering them especially favorable investment incentives as compared to the remainder of the manufacturing sector in the country.

The Export Processing Zones Act, came into force in 1995. All companies engaged exclusively in manufacture for export may apply for EPZ status, as Government accords EPZ status only to firms (foreign or domestic) that produce exclusively for export.

There are no specific zones dedicated to export processing in Malawi, rather it is firms which are designated the status of EPZs and are located in areas of choice and convenience to the investor. The Ministry of Industry and Trade administers the Export Processing Zones Regime in Malawi assisted by the EPZ Monitoring and Evaluation Committee as stipulated in the Act.

An Export Enterprise Certificate is valid for a period of five years and may, thereafter, be renewed for successive periods of two years and companies can chose to graduate or not from the scheme. The law requires all exporters to repatriate back to Malawi 100 percent of export proceeds and register the same with the Reserve Bank of Malawi within 6 months of export.

Traditional industries such as tobacco, tea, coffee, and cotton are excluded from the EPZ Regime.  Currently, the firms operating under the EPZ status are in three categories of export products namely, (a) natural rubber and wood products; (b) macadamia and coffee; and (c) textile.

What investors think

Generally, there are no serious complaints against environment impact assessment requirements.

Concerns have been raised regarding investors access to customary land for investment purposes, as investors have to deal with rural communities on their own, which is sometimes costly. However, with the establishment of OSSC at Malawi Investment and Trade Centre (MITC) and the new Land Act promising to identify and allocate land to investors through MITC such concerns shall shortly be a thing of the past.

General taxation matters

The Malawi tax laws (Taxation Act and VAT Act) require owners of businesses, both individuals and companies, to register for tax purposes with the Malawi Revenue Authority (MRA) regardless of the size of business, nature of business or location.

To register for tax, investors must provide to the Malawi Revenue Authority the following filled documents: business registration certificate, valid ID, articles of association (if limited company).

Registration for taxes is free and can be done at any nearest MRA office. MRA issues a Taxpayer Identification Number (TPIN) on registration which should be used on any correspondence with the Authority.

MRA has introduced innovative platforms aimed at enhancing electronic payment of tax and verification of MRA documentation. These include requiring investors to use Electronic Fiscal Device (EFD) facilities by all registered Value Added Tax (VAT) operators; use of ASYCUDA World, and cargo scanners, among others.

MRA follows the Government fiscal year which runs from 1st July to 30th June. However, there is flexibility in that an investor can notify the Authority on its financial year.

The following are the specific key tax regimes.

Summary of the Key Taxes

Corporate income tax
Standard rate of 30%; investment income of pension funds is subject to      tax rate.
 Foreign branch tax
Personal income tax
The first MWK 30, 000 (US$40.9) income is tax free, thereafter, next MWK is taxed at 15% and excess at 30%
Value-added tax  
16.5%   however, banking and life insurance services are exempted
Dividends withholding tax
10% unless reduced under an applicable tax treaty
Interest withholding tax  
20% applies to residents; 15% applies to interest payments made to      non-residents, unless reduced under an applicable tax treaty
Royalties withholding tax
20% applies to residents; 15% applies to interest payments made to      non-residents, unless reduced under an applicable tax treaty

Find out more...

Relevant institutions Malawi Revenue Authority

Corporate tax

The tax is set out below. Investment income of pension funds is subject to the corporate tax rate

Corporate tax

Category Tax rate (%)
Standard rate 30
Priority sector 25

Find out more...

Relevant institutions Malawi Revenue Authority

Personal income tax

Pay As You Earn (PAYE) is a method of collecting Income Tax from employees on their earnings.

The procedures for administration of PAYE are as follows:

  • Deduction is done by the employer when the payments are made.  This means that PAYE can be deducted and remitted by an investor weekly, fortnightly or monthly.
  • For income tax purposes, the accounts are supposed to be submitted to the Authority at the end of the accounting period. The date of submission is 180 days or 6 months from the end of the accounting period. The accounting period or business year is decided by the taxpayer.
 Currently, the applicable rates for the Pay as Your Earn (PAYE) on a monthly basis are as follows.

Personal income tax

Tax Band(Chargeable Income) Rate
The first K30,000 (US$40.9) 0%
The next K5,000 (US$ 6.8) 15%
The excess of K25,000 (US$34) 30%

Value Added Taxes

VAT is collected by registered businesses at all points in the chain of production and distribution, including manufacturers, wholesalers, retailers and service providers. It is also charged on imported goods and services.

The following are the guidelines on Value Added Tax (VAT) eligibility, registration process and remittance:

  • The 16.5 percent VAT is payable by an investor who makes taxable supplies of goods or services and whose business turnover is estimated or exceeds K10 million (about US$15,000) per year is obliged to register for VAT.
  • An investor must register for VAT at any MRA Domestic Taxes offices upon which they receive a registration certificate which must be displayed or exhibited permanently at the principal place of business.
  • A registered person who makes taxable supplies must charge VAT and remit to MRA by the 25th day of the month, immediately following the month to which the tax relates.

Domestic Excise Tax

There are two components of Excise Tax. There is Import Excise, which is levied on certain importations and is administered by the Customs Division. There is also Domestic Excise, which is levied on certain locally manufactured products and services and is administered by the Domestic Taxes Division.

Details of tax registration process, remittance and prevailing excise tax rates are as follows:

  • An investor engaged in manufacturing of goods is required by law to complete entry of premises EX37 forms in triplicate which must be accompanied by plans of the premises and plant. 
  • The MRA Commissioner General issues a license to manufacture if satisfied that the investor meets the set conditions under the Customs and Excise Act.
  • Domestic Excise tax is payable by the 20th of the following month.
  • The amount of Domestic Excise to be paid is determined by multiplying the cost of production of each product by its rate as outlined under column 10 of the Customs and Excise Tariff Order.

 The following are the prevailing domestic excise tax rates:

Domestic Excise Tax

Commodity /item Rate
Spirits 250 percent of the cost of production
Opaque beer 30 percent of the cost of production
Clear beer 90 percent of the cost of production
Bottled water 10 percent of the cost of production
Air time 10 percent of the sales
Gaming 10 percent of the sales
Audio tapes 20 percent of the cost of production
Cigarettes 30 USD per 1,000 cigarettes

Turnover Tax

Turnover Tax (TOT) is tax levied on gross income from businesses. “Income from business” includes gross receipts, gross earnings, revenues, takings, yields and proceeds.

Turn over tax is levied at 2 percent of the gross receipts of businesses for businesses with an annual turn- over exceeding MK6.0 million.

In Malawi, the turnover tax is applicable on all categories of income except rental income, management fees, professional fees or training fees, income of incorporated companies and any income that is subject to a final Withholding Tax.

The TOT return should be submitted to MRA on or before 20th day of the month following the end of the tax period. For example, a return for the month of May 2017 should be submitted to MRA on or before 20th June 2017.

Fringe Benefit Tax

Fringe Benefit Tax (FBT) is tax paid on the taxable values of fringe benefits being provided by an employer to an employee.

The rate for FBT is 30 percent and all employers except the Government are liable to FBT.

To register, an employer fills Form FBT 1 and gets Form FBT 2 for remittance, and registration should be done 14 days after starting giving fringe benefits to employees.

Custom duties

Customs duty refers to tax payable on imported goods, and is at 30% of the import value. However, when one imports goods from a country or countries that are a party to a bilateral, regional or global trade agreement with Malawi, depending on the terms of the agreement, the goods may enjoy preferential rates of duty.

The preferential duty rates will not apply where the conditions or terms of the agreement are not met in full, such as when an importer is not able to produce a valid Certificate of Origin.

The following are the procedures for paying customs duty, good declaration by investors and any other importers into Malawi:

  • Investors are required to Complete Form 47 to declare all the goods imported and their values.
  • The goods are examined by customs officials to confirm declaration and determine the taxes due.
  • MRA determines the customs values using genuine invoices of the imported goods. The invoice value may include cost, insurance and freight (CIF) and other charges as required by WTO Valuation Agreement, 1994. MRA converts the invoice value into Malawi Kwacha using official exchange rates provided by the Reserve Bank of Malawi on a weekly basis.
  • Imported goods whose value is more than K100,000 (US$136.2) are required to be cleared through a customs clearing agent using Form 12 under customs laws.

Withholding Tax

Withholding Tax is an advance payment of income tax that is deducted from specified payments. A person making the payment deducts the withholding tax.

Any individual, partnership, trust, association, company, club, statutory body, council, Government ministry or department or any religious organization, as long as it makes payments to any person, is eligible to register with MRA and operate Withholding Tax.

Withholding tax is deducted using specified rates, according to the 14th Schedule to the Taxation Act, as follows: 

Withholding Tax

Nature of payment Rate
Royalties 20%
Rent 15%
Food stuff Supplies to traders and institutions; 3%
other Supplies to traders and institutions; 3%
Commission 20%
Carriage and haulage 10%
Contractors/subcontractors 4%
Public entertainment 20%
Casual labour exceeding K15,000(US$20.4) 20%
services 20%
Bank interest exceeding K10, 000 (US$13.6) 20%
Fees 10%
Tobacco sales 3%

Double taxation agreements

Malawi is in process of renegotiating agreements with UK, Denmark, France, Norway, Switzerland, Netherlands, South Africa and Norway.

Find out more...

Relevant institutions Ministry of Industry, Trade and Tourism


Besides PAYE, investors must pay a 1% of the basic annual payroll to TEVET through MRA to support technical, entrepreneurial and vocational education that is undertaken by the Technical, Entrepreneurial and Vocational Education and Training Authority (TEVETA).

What investors think

Investors were positive about the fiscal regime. With the establishment of the Large Taxpayer Officer (LTO) within MRA, big investors appreciate the professional approach being taken by the tax collecting body, unlike the previous times.  However, concerns were raised on fiscal policy regimes such as high taxes on some goods produced by certain investors.

Investment protection

The Government has put in place legal measures aimed at assuring investors against expropriation of their assets, as well as instruments for dispute settlement.

International Agreements and Regional Economic Communities

a) Regional Economic Communities  (RECs)

Malawi is a member of/ signatory to the trade agreements with the following regional bodies:

  • South African Development Community (SADC); see
  • Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA);  see

b) International Investment Guarantees and Agreements

Malawi is a member of/ signatory to the following:

  • ·Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA), which provides guarantee against non- commercial risks
  •  International Centre for the Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID)
  • World Trade Organization (WTO)

c) Bilateral Investment and Trade Treaties (BITs)

 Malawi has signed 6 BITs as of December 2010.

  •  These include treaties with Taiwan, Malaysia, and Egypt, Italy, Netherlands and Zimbabwe.
  •   For more information on investment and trade legislations, please click on the links below to access or download information.
  •  Get more information on the trade Treaties from Trade Department


Malawi’s constitution, Section 44 (4), prohibits deprivation of an individual’s property, including local and foreign investors, without due compensation. The likelihood of direct expropriations has been minimized since the repeal of the Forfeiture Act in 1992.

Section 44: 4 states that “expropriation of property shall be permissible only when done for public utility and only when there has been adequate notification and appropriate compensation, provided that there shall always be a right to appeal to a court of law”.

The constitution further gives powers to the courts of law to “award compensation to any person whose rights or freedoms have been unlawfully denied or violated where it considers it to be appropriate in the circumstances of a particular case”.

Measures that carry expropriation effects are occasionally imposed, and in that event of enforcement, they apply to both local and foreign investors.

Repatriation of funds

There are no restrictions on remittance of foreign investment funds (including investment capital, profits repatriation, repayments for international loans and lease repayments) as long as the capital and loans were obtained from foreign sources and registered with the Reserve Bank of Malawi (RBM) ( ).

The terms and conditions of international loans, management contracts, licensing and royalty arrangements, and similar transfers require initial RBM approval. 

Intellectual property

As a member of the WTO Agreement with a component on trade-related aspects of intellectual property rights (TRIPS), Malawi has the legal framework to protect intellectual property. This includes the acts on copyrights, trademarks, registered designs and patents, property protection of genetic engineering products particularly GM crop varieties, creatives works, amongst others.

The key national institutions responsible for enforcement of intellectual property rights (IPR) issues include: the Department of Registrar General under the Ministry of Justice and Constitution Affairs which is responsible for patents, trademarks and designs; the Copyright Society of Malawi under the Ministry of Culture which deal with copyright issues and Ministry of Industry, Trade and Tourism is responsible for trade related aspects of the IPR, and others.

The Malawi Government has drafted an Intellectual Property Right Policy which seeks to consolidate IPR matters through the creation of the Malawi Intellectual Property Office (MIPO), which will be sustained by revenues to be generated from registration fees for patents, copyrights and trademarks.

Some of the legal and regulatory frameworks on intellectual property rights in Malawi include:


  • Copyright Act, 2016.
  • Trade Descriptions Act, 1987
  • Patents Act, 1986
  • Registered Designs Act, 1985
  • Trade Mark Act, 1967
  • Merchandise Mark Act, 1966


  • Copyright Licensing Regulations, 
  • Registered Designs rules, 2000
  • Patents Regulations, 1992.

Competition law

The Competition and Fair Trading Act protects investors from anti-competitive business practices. The Act prohibits conducts that prevent, restrict and distort competition in the market and, therefore, guarantees investors freedom to do business without unnecessary market impediments. The Act is enforced by the Competition and Fair Trading Commission (CFTC) which is an autonomous body with adjudicative powers. Decision of the CFTC may be appealed in the High Court. Investors are also guaranteed protection from cross border anti-competitive business practices through the COMESA Competition Regulations, which regulate conducts that have effect in two or more countries within the COMESA region. 

Enforcement and institutions

The legal system is established in the Malawi Constitution based on British common law system. The Attorney General, Director of Public Prosecution, Chief Justice, Supreme Court of Appeal judges, High Court judges, and magistrates administer justice in the country. 

Dispute Settlement

Both foreign and domestic investors have equal access to Malawi's legal system, which functions well and is  unbiased. Malawi has a Commercial Court established in 2007, being the Commercial Division of the High Court of Malawi. Its establishment has significantly reduced the time it takes to conclude commercial cases, such that by April 2017, the Court reported a 72 percent time reduction, ie from 350 days to 97 days, and there are efforts to reduce the time further.

There is an established mediation process to promote agreements between parties in disputes before court proceedings start. The court system in Malawi accepts and enforces foreign court judgments that are registered locally in accordance with established legal procedure. There are reciprocal agreements among Commonwealth countries to enforce judgments without this registration obligation.

All bankruptcies are governed by the courts under the provision of the consolidated Insolvency Act of 2016. It is based mostly on the Mauritius Insolvency Act 2009, partly the English Insolvency Act 1986 and the cross border provisions on the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) Model Law on Cross-Border Insolvency, and as such, it has taken after a number of internationally accepted best practices in corporate insolvency.

Malawi is a member of international frameworks that protect investments including:

  •  International Center for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID), hence accepting binding international arbitration of investment disputes between foreign investors and the state.  Malawi’s current Head of State is a former arbitrator for ICSID.
  • COMESA Court which was established in 1994 to provide protection for investors (including foreign investors) intending to put their money into the Eastern and Southern Africa region that it is safe to do so.
  • The Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA) of the World Bank

Insolvency Act

The new Insolvency Act of 2016 encourages alternatives to bankruptcy such as receivership and reorganization and gives secured creditors (rank-ordered based upon investment registration dates), priority over other creditors. 

What investors think

Investors appreciate the protection provided by the legal and regulatory frameworks to their investments. However, concerns were raised on the delays in the processes approving mergers and acquisitions. The approval process at times involves requiring the investors appearing before different committees which ask the same questions the investors have already provided in the previous forum. 

Production and trade

The Malawi economy has been registering significant economic growth patterns over the past years such that in 2016, the economy grew by 4.5 per cent and is expected to continue growing due to the improvement in the macroeconomic fundamentals such as lower global fuel prices and stable exchange.

The agriculture sector in Malawi is widely recognized as the mainstay of the economy which contributes close to 30 per cent of the national gross domestic product (GDP), such that a strong positive relationship exists between the sector growth rate and that of the national economy.  There is strong political commitment to economic diversification and the key growth sectors such as agriculture, industrial development, mining, energy and tourism. 

Economic composition

The key sectors of the Malawi economy include: agriculture, forestry and fishery (28 per cent); wholesale and retail trade (16 percent); manufacturing (9 percent); real estate activities (7.6 percent); financial and insurance services (5 percent); among others.

Market Access

Trade Agreements

Malawi continues to participate actively in bilateral, regional and multilateral trade agreements with a view of benefiting from a wider market access and integrating into the global economy.

  • Bilateral Trade Agreements;  Malawi has an asymmetrical bilateral trade arrangement with South Africa and symmetrical bilateral trade agreements with Zimbabwe and Mozambique, which facilitate the duty free quota free export of Malawi products to these markets.  A Customs Agreement with Botswana is essentially non-operational as the business community prefers to use the SADC preferences other than this agreement.                                                                                                                                                                 
  • Regional Trade Agreements; Malawi is a member of Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) Free Trade Area and the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Free Trade Area. Malawi is also a member of the COMESA-EAC-SADC Tripartite Free Trade Area (FTA) covering the three Regional Economic Communities (RECs). The Tripartite Free Trade Area encompassing 26 Member/Partner States from the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), East African Community (EAC) and the Southern African Development Community (SADC). The Tripartite FTA popularly known as the Grand Free Trade Area, will be the largest economic bloc on the continent and the launching pad for the establishment of the Continental Free Trade Are (CFTA).                                                                                                                                                                                                      
  • Multilateral Trade Agreements; Malawi continues to actively participate in the multilateral trade arrangement under the World Trade Organization framework with a view of safeguarding her interests by focusing on trade related development issues such as market access in agricultural and industrial products, preserving the existing trade preferences, provision of special and differential treatment to Least Developed Countries (LDCs), and reduction of all forms of non-tariff barriers to trade. Malawi has since ratified the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement becoming the second LDC to do so in Africa.                                                                                                                                                                                              
  • Unilateral Preferential Trade Arrangements; Malawi continues to enjoy preferential market access to the European Union (EU) under Everything But Arms (EBA) initiative, which is part of the EU Generalized System of Preferences (GSP). Through this initiative, LDCs enjoys duty and quota-free access to EU for all imports save armaments. Malawi enjoys preferential duty and quota free market access to United States of America under African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) since 2000. Malawi also benefits from a duty free agreement with Peoples Republic of China and India’s Duty Free Tariff Preference (DFTP) Scheme offered to LDCs, in addition to the EBA initiative the EU accords to Malawian products.
For more information on export market and procedures visit Malawi Trade Portal  

Find out more...

Relevant institutions Ministry of Industry, Trade and Tourism

MRA Incentives under Taxation Act

There are a number of tax incentives provided for in the Taxation Act. These include annual allowances, initial allowances, investment allowances, transport allowances, export allowances, training allowance and mining allowance.

Annual allowances

Annual allowances are available for qualifying assets on a declining balance basis at the following rates:

Goods/ Service  Rates
(i) Industrial buildings, farm improvements & railway lines  5%
(ii) Farm fencing   10%
(iii) Heavy machinery and installations   15%
(v) Light machinery   10%
(vi) Trucks and tractors   33.33%
(vii) Light commercial vehicles   25%
(viii) Motor vehicles   20%
(ix) Commercial Buildings costing more than K100 million  2.5%

Initial allowances
Initial allowances are available on capital expenditure during the year of acquisition at the following Rates:

Goods/ Services  Rates(i) Industrial buildings, improvements, railway line   10%
(ii) Farm fencing   33.33%
(iii) Machinery   20%
(iv) Automobiles forming part of a commercial hire fleet   20%

Investment allowances

Investment Allowance shall be given to a taxpayer who is also a manufacturer equal to 100% of the cost of new and unused (Industrial buildings) plant or machinery and equal to 40% of the cost of used industrial buildings and plant or machinery.

Transport allowance

An additional allowance may be granted of 25 percent of the international transport costs incurred by a taxpayer for his exports whether produced by manufacturing in bond or otherwise, but other than exports of products specified in the Schedule to the Export Incentives (Exclusion) Order made under the Export Incentives Act.

Export allowance

A registered exporter, shall in every financial year during which he exports products of Malawi, be entitled to an income tax allowance of 25 percent of his taxable income derived from his export sales.

A person carrying on mining operations incurs mining expenditure in any year of assessment shall be entitled to an allowance equal to 100 percent of such expenditure in the first year of assessment.

Temporary Importation of Goods

Temporary imported goods are those goods which come to Malawi for a short period (for a maximum of 30 days) and are subsequently re-exported within the specified period.

The goods that may be imported temporarily include vehicles and any other goods. For the vehicles, they are imported temporarily using a document known as “Temporary Importation Permit (TIP).”

Extensions of the period of validity of any TIP may be granted by Flexible Anti-Smuggling Teams (FAST) offices in Blantyre, Lilongwe and Mzuzu only.

Find out more...

Relevant institutions Malawi Investment and Trade Centre Malawi Revenue Authority


Malawi has amended  its Electricity Act of 2004 to  enable restructuring of the power market and allow private sector  participation in the power industry.The total installed capacity of the interconnected grid in the country stands at 361MW against a  demand of 450MW. The current suppressed electricity demand (if all step loads were supplied with power) stands at 750MW. However, it is projected that the demand will grow to 950 MW in 2020 and 1,200 MW in 2025. If the full potential of the economic power demand growth drivers (mining, manufacturing, processing, domestic use, service sector and irrigation needs) are realized, the total power requirement is estimated at 2,830MW by 2030. Presently, there is a project that is constructing, uprating and upgrading the transmission network to increase its carrying capacity to 1,250 MW by September 2018. 

The Government is presently undertaking feasibility studies on three potential hydropower generation sites,namely Fufu, Mpatamanga and Kholombidzo with potential to generate 140MW, 230MW and 100MW respectively. Development of the sites will be tendered out.

Nonetheless, the sector will be offering investment opportunities in:

  •  Power Generation:
    • Hydro Power: The country has a lot of untapped hydropower resources. In working towards developing these resources, the Ministry of Natural Resources, Energy and Mining has conducted feasibility studies on some of the potential sites and is still  conducting the studies on other sites as well. The completed sites will be available for tendering process which will be advertised in local newspapers..
    • Solar Power: Malawi has one of the highest solar irradiation in the world. In a bid to increase power generation capacity and promote green growth, solar power generation is been encouraged in the country. Solar provides unlimited source of energy with no pollution, no greenhousegas emissions and installations of which are reversible without any landscape modifications.
    • Wind Power: Based on preliminary studies on the potential of wind generated electricity, it has been found that the west of the country has wind speeds of between 5-7 m/s. Though this might need conclusive studies for the potential areas, this type of energy generation remains unexploited. Studies are underway on six sites to ascertain the resource potential.
    • Thermal Power: Malawi has substantial coal reserves, mostly located in northern part of the country for thermal power generation in excess of 1,500 MW Malawi also has a potential of using coal from neighbouring Mozambique whose mining sites are  close to the country.
  • Biomass Energy
    • Malawi’s energy supply is dominated by biomass (firewood, charcoal, agricultural and industrial wastes) accounting for 84% of the total primary energy supply. This is a potential area for business for investors in the form of manufacturing and supply of clean and efficient cookstoves for use with biomass energy, production of sustainable charcoal and pellets and supply of alternatives to charcoal and firewood such as liquefied petroleum gas (LPG)..

Details of potential energy investment projects are in Malawi’s Compendium of Investment Projects. See

Find out more...

Relevant institutions Malawi Investment and Trade Centre


Malawi is endowed with rich natural and cultural heritage that make it one of the most attractive tourist destinations in the world. It is positioned as a country that is: Rich in Contrast, Compact in size and Big in Hospitality. The country is rich in contrast due to beach and water experience, scenic landscapes, diverse wildlife, favourable climate and unique cultural assets. The short distances amongst various tourist attractions make it easy to move from one attraction to another within a short period. The peaceful environment, neighbourly social interaction, tolerant and authentic relationships of locals with visitors and other cultures make it big in hospitality. These attractions are summed up in the following product lines:


Lake Malawi is the Africa’s third largest lake and the eleventh deepest in the world, is home to over 700 species of tropical colourful fish, cichlids, most of which are endemic. Part of the lake is home to the Lake Malawi National Park, the world’s first freshwater marine park and UNESCOs world heritage site


With beautiful and breathtaking natural scenery from as low as barely above sea level to as high as 3002ft above sea level, Malawi has diversity of landscapes. From tea estates, forest reserves, to streams, waterfalls, mountains and plateaus, one can engage in various activities such as tea tasting, climbing, trekking, mountain biking and bird watching.


Malawi is Africa’s newest big 5 destination. Its nine national parks and Wildlife reserves offer a unique and intimate game viewing experience. Whether by 4by4, walking and trekking, or boat, Malawi offers undoubtedly a memorable game viewing experiences.

Malawi boasts of having over 650 species of birds and 10% of which cannot be seen in other parts of southern Africa.


Malawi’s people, warm, friendly and welcoming, are by far its greatest asset. The country is home to over 16 million inhabitants, by far one of the densely populated countries this part of Africa, but it is through interaction with the people that leaves one to have a true feel of the warmth of Malawi’s people, hence the slogan, ‘the warm heart of Africa’.

EXPERIENCE MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Events)

In recent years, Malawi is also becoming a popular destination  for  Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Events locally and internationally.

Under these product lines, the sector offers various opportunities in investment:

  • Eco–tourism in protected areas and places with outstanding natural beauty
  •  Hotels  and resorts along the shores of  Lake Malawi 
    • Hotels and Conference facilities in major towns and cities
    • Camps and Lodges
    • Lake and Water sports
    •  Entertainment centers and Casinos
    • Water vessels and hotels on Lake Malawi and other water bodies
  •  Cable Car and associate facilities on Mount Mulanje.

Details of potential Tourism Investment Projects are in Malawi’s Compendium of Investment Projects. See

Find out more...

Relevant institutions Ministry of Industry, Trade and Tourism

Agriculture and Manufacturing

In 2016 the agriculture sector grew by 3.2 percent and is expected to register improved growth rate of about 6.9 percent in 2017.  Investment opportunities for the agriculture sector include: livestock production, aquaculture, horticulture, agro processing, sugar, honey production, integrated cotton development and cassava production.

  • Livestock Production, such as feed production, improved breeds of cattle, manufacturing of cooling tanks, amongst others.
  • Soya beans production and processing into yoghurt, cheese, tofu, miso , candles, cattle feeds, bio diesel , cooking oil, meat    substitutes and margarine.
  • Integrated Cotton Development, starting with production, to processing activities such as setting up ginning , yarn and textile factories
  • Fruits and Vegetables: Cold rooms and relevant transportation infrastructure, processing factories for value addition to make puree, spices, paste and juices
  • Sugar production: Large scale production of sugarcane in the areas under the Green Belt Initiative (GBI)
  • Sugarcane processingSugarcane processing facilities for export markets, ethanol factories, amongst others.
  • Cassava Production: Large scale commercial farming along the lake Malawi, starch and flour processing for domestic and industrial use, manufacturing of certified clones and pest and disease control
  • Fisheries / Aquaculture:  Large scale commercial fish farming using the latest technology, cage fish farming, commercial pond fish farming, cold rooms and fish transportation infrastructure, fish processing facilities along the lake shore, fish feeding productions , fingerling multiplication, amongst others

Details of potential Agriculture and Agro-processing Investment Projects are in Malawi’s Compendium of Investment Projects

Manufacturing: Most of the traditional agricultural crops such as tobacco and tea are exported in a semi- processed state. There are huge opportunities for investors to convert most of these agricultural products into high value finished products. Specific opportunities lie in:

  • Textile and Garment Manufacturing: About 6 Chinese and Indian investors, currently dominate the garment industry. With market opportunities under AGOA and preferential bilateral agreements between Malawi and South Africa investing in the garment/textile industry would be smart choice for foreign investors.
  • Light Manufacturing: Malawi imports most of the required household electrical fittings (e.g. cables, plugs, switches) and engineering materials e.g. steel based products. Investors are therefore asked to invest  and  exploit the opportunities in this sector.

Financial Services and Real Estate

The regulator of the financial sector in Malawi is the Reserve Bank of Malawi: see

There are about 10 commercial banks operating in Malawi. However, there is still opportunity for additional banks in the sector as the rate of financial inclusion is estimated to be around 20 percent, ie, the adult population with bank accounts.

Malawi’s 10 commercial banks include:

The commercial banks have a Bankers Association of Malawi and an Institute of Bankers in Malawi which  promote standard of professional competency and level of skills in banking and the financial services sector in the country. 

Insurance Companies

The insurance penetration rate in Malawi is among the lowest in the world and in Africa, with the average rate over the last 5 years estimated to be between 2.8% to 3.5%. This is quite low given that the country’s population currently stands at about 17.2 million.

Malawi has different categories of insurance companies. These include:

  • General Insurance Companies (8)
  • Life Insurance companies (5)
  •  Insurance brokers (14)
  • Agents for brokers (which are commercial banks) (5)
  • General Insurance Agents (36)

The investment opportunities in the insurance sector include:

  •  General insurance services, to meet demand for insurance demand for small and medium businesses and assets; The need for more insurance services is also necessitated by the inefficiencies in the current service providers which still calls for efficient investors in the sector, and high premiums by existing service providers hence the need for entry of competitive service providers
  •  Specialized agriculture insurance services: Climate change risks that create demand for insurance services in sectors such as agriculture, trade, amongst others

Find out more...

Relevant institutions Reserve Bank of Malawi Insurance Institute of Malawi

Microfinance institutions

Malawi has about 25 micro finance institutions. These include credit cooperatives and micro finance services set up by non-governmental organizations. See or  for details.  

There is a Malawi Microfinance Network (MAMN), being a legally constituted grouping of these microfinance institutions and institutions that are providing microfinance related services in Malawi. Its major objectives are to: develop, promote and regulate microfinance activities so as to ensure good governance as a way of ensuring their sustainability and enhancement of their capacities to stimulate and enhance private sector development and be key players in rural and urban economic and social transformation in Malawi.

Its major activities include: facilitating the exchange of experiences, ideas, innovations, information and technologies in order to strengthen microfinance operations among member institutions, and build capacity within the sector as a whole. The opportunities in this sector include investment in affordable and easily accessible microfinance services, targeting the SMEs.

Forex dealers

Foreign exchange can be obtained from commercial banks or foreign exchange bureau found in cities across the country. However, there are times when these bureau are faced with high demand than supply. There are still investments opportunities in terms of opening more foreign bureau to provide reliable services to the business community.

Real estate

The real estate sector in Malawi is growing steadily and is one of key growth sectors contributing  to GDP is estimated at 7.6 percent, GoM Annual Economic Report (2016). The popular segments of the real estate sector include: housing, offices, and recently farm lands.

In the housing segment, the demand for housing units is driven by the growing annual rate of urbanization estimated at 6.3 percent, as well as economic growth. As such institutions responsible for provision of housing are not able to meet the growing demand, particularly of high quality.

Institutions in the property sector include Malawi Property Investment Company Ltd (MPICO) and the Malawi Housing Cooperation (MHC) Malawi Housing Corporation (MHC). Both MPICO and MHC undertake their investment projects in partnership with local and foreign property investors.

Besides the semi-public institutions, with the liberalization policy Malawi has seen emergence of private real estate agents dealing in selling of housing units, farm land, and plots.

Specifically, the real estate investment opportunities include:

  • Housing units for middle class. The emergence of the middle class, though still small, demands decent accommodation which is not being met.
  •  Office accommodation: With the growth in private sector investments and NGO services, is the demand for decent and affordable office accommodation.
  • Shopping malls: The current shopping malls do not meet the demand levels

Details of potential Property Investment Projects are in Malawi’s Compendium of Investment Projects. See

Find out more...

Relevant institutions Malawi Housing Corporation MPICO Limited

What investors think

The growth sectors for Malawi do indeed have the potential for realizing investors returns to investments.  Since, Malawi needs investments in different sectors, there is need for a coordinated investor promotion process to realize the needed competitive advantage in the economy.

Why invest in the country?

  • Democratic dispensation with rule of law as a governing principle
  • Peaceful country with no history of conflicts nor any prospects on the same
  • No restrictions on foreign ownership of businesses
  • No restriction on the repatriation of profits or capital gains
  • Improving business environment
  • Commitment to private sector investment through legal and regulatory reforms;
  • Tax rebates for big investors
  • Existence of Export Processing zones with tax incentives
  • Duty waivers for health sector investments
  • Preferential trade agreements with the United States through the AGOA Act, the European Union (Everything But Arms)
  • Bilateral Trade Agreement with a number countries;
  • Regional market access through COMESA, SADC and the upcoming the Grand Free Trade Area involving the two regional blocs
  • Good and improving telecommunications infrastructure 

Country data

Official name Republic of Malawi
Country area 118480km2
Capital city Lilongwe
Population 18.3 Million
Administrative regions 3
Local currency Malawi Kwacha
Exchange rate 734US$
Official language(s) English
Other national language(s) Chichewa
GDP 6.4 billion US$
GDP per capita(ppp) 1182US$
Real GDP growth 4.5 percent
Literacy rate 74% Male 70 % Female
Fiscal Year 1st July- 30th June
Normal Working Hours 7:30 am- 12:00 noon 1:00 pm- 4:30 pm
Main seaports of entry Durban Dar es salaam Nacala Beira
International Airports Kamuzu International Airport(Lilongwe) Chileka International Airport(Blantyre)

Country map

last update on: 27/3/2018