Malawi flag Malawi: Visió econòmica i política

Xifres de comerç exterior de Malawi

Foreign Trade in Figures

Malawi is relatively open to international trade: the country is a member of the WTO and has bilateral trade agreements with two of its main trade partners, South Africa and Zimbabwe. Malawi is also a beneficiary of the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), a U.S. trade preference program. As part of its trade policy, the country has been gradually reducing protections granted to domestic trade by shifting its sources of revenue from customs duties to consumption and direct taxes. Overall, Malawi's economy remains heavily dependent on agriculture, and its exports and imports reflect this reliance on primary and intermediate goods: tobacco accounts for more than half of total exports, as the country is one of the world's largest producers of tobacco. Other major exports include tea, sugar, and agricultural products in general. Imports are led by refined petroleum (7.2% of total imports), machinery, transport equipment, fertilizers and medicaments.

According to the latest data available by Comtrade, the main export destinations of Malawi are Belgium (20.8%), South Africa (6.2%), the United Kingdom (6%), Kenya (5.1%), the United States (4.6%), Zimbabwe (4.5%), China (4.4%) and Tanzania (4.3%). The top import origins are South Africa (20.6%), China (16.2%), the United Arab Emirates (10.1%), India (7.7%), the United Kingdom (4.6%) and Zambia (4.4% - data 2021).

Malawi’s trade balance is structurally in deficit. In 2021, imports of goods reached USD 3.2 billion, while the country exported goods for a value of USD 1 billion (+15.5% and +31.3% year-on-year, respectively – data WTO). The trade deficit has been contracting in recent years, a trend that was exacerbated in 2022 as imports collapsed reflecting the impact of foreign exchange shortages. While alleviating the external balance, the unavailability of foreign exchange led to shortages of imported goods (World Bank).

Foreign Trade Values 20182019202020212022
Imports of Goods (million USD) 2,6862,8922,6783,0731,520
Exports of Goods (million USD) 8388997711,009800
Imports of Services (million USD) 3894595845911,330
Exports of Services (million USD) 229373442462417

Source: World Trade Organisation (WTO) ; Latest available data

Foreign Trade Indicators 20172018201920202021
Trade Balance (million USD) -1,577-1,658-1,733-1,797-1,914
Trade Balance (Including Service) (million USD) -1,737-1,819-1,819-1,940-2,043

Source: World Bank ; Latest available data

Foreign Trade Forecasts 2023 (e)2024 (e)2025 (e)2026 (e)2027 (e)
Volume of exports of goods and services (Annual % change)
Volume of imports of goods and services (Annual % change)

Source: IMF, World Economic Outlook ; Latest available data

Note: (e) Estimated Data

International Economic Cooperation
Malawi trade memberships:

WTO since 1995
• Cotonou Agreement
• Southern African Development Community (SADC)
Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA).
• African Growth and Opportunity Act beneficiary country
• Malawi signed a bilateral trade agreement with South Africa, under which a number of export products may enter the South African market at reduced rates of import duty
• Malawi signed a preferential trade agreement with Mozambique with the intention that Malawi export products to the neighbouring country are duty-free.


Main Partner Countries

Main Customers
(% of Exports)
Belgium 13.8%
India 7.6%
Tanzania 7.0%
South Africa 6.6%
United Arab Emirates 4.6%
See More Countries 60.5%
Main Suppliers
(% of Imports)
China 18.2%
South Africa 17.8%
United Arab Emirates 9.3%
India 7.3%
Zambia 4.2%
See More Countries 43.2%

Source: Comtrade, 2023. Because of rounding, the sum of the percentages may be smaller/greater than 100%.


Main Products

1.0 bn USD of products exported in 2021
Unmanufactured tobacco; tobacco refuseUnmanufactured tobacco; tobacco refuse 44.3%
Soya beans, whether or not brokenSoya beans, whether or not broken 10.7%
Cane or beet sugar and chemically pure sucrose, in...Cane or beet sugar and chemically pure sucrose, in solid form 7.4%
Tea, whether or not flavouredTea, whether or not flavoured 7.1%
Dried leguminous vegetables, shelled, whether or...Dried leguminous vegetables, shelled, whether or not skinned or split 6.2%
See More Products 24.2%
3.1 bn USD of products imported in 2021
Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous...Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous minerals (excl. crude); preparations containing >= 70% by weight of petroleum oils or of oils obtained from bituminous minerals, these oils being the basic constituents of the preparations, n.e.s.; waste oils containing mainly petroleum or bituminous minerals 7.9%
Unused postage, revenue or similar stamps of...Unused postage, revenue or similar stamps of current or new issue in the country in which they have, or will have, a recognised face value; stamp-impressed paper; banknotes; cheque forms; stock, share or bond certificates and similar documents of title 7.3%
Mineral or chemical fertilisers containing two or...Mineral or chemical fertilisers containing two or three of the fertilising elements nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium; other fertilisers (excl. pure animal or vegetable fertilisers or mineral or chemical nitrogenous, phosphatic or potassic fertilisers); animal, vegetable, mineral or chemical fertilisers in tablets or similar forms or in packages of a gross weight of <= 10 kg 5.3%
Human blood; animal blood prepared for therapeutic...Human blood; animal blood prepared for therapeutic, prophylactic or diagnostic uses; antisera and other blood fractions and immunological products, whether or not modified or obtained by means of biotechnological processes; vaccines, toxins, cultures of micro-organisms (excl. yeasts) and similar products 4.5%
Mineral or chemical nitrogenous fertilisers (excl....Mineral or chemical nitrogenous fertilisers (excl. those in pellet or similar forms, or in packages with a gross weight of <= 10 kg) 3.6%
See More Products 71.4%

Source: Comtrade, 2023. Because of rounding, the sum of the percentages may be smaller/greater than 100%.


To go further, check out our service Import Export Flows.


Main Services

Source: United Nations Statistics Division, 2023. Because of rounding, the sum of the percentages may be smaller/greater than 100%.

Return to top

Vols fer algun comentari sobre aquest contingut? Escriu-nos.


© eexpand, Tots els drets reservats.
Actualitzacions: November 2023

Return to top