This profile provides an overview of climate risk issues in Malawi, including how climate change will potentially impact agriculture, water resources, fisheries, ecosystems and human health. The brief includes an overview and climate summary of Malawi, as well as projected climate changes. Also included is information on sector impacts and vulnerabilities to climate change, the policy context and information regarding ongoing climate change projects in Malawi.
Malawi is a low-income country facing a number of challenges that increase its vulnerability to a changing climate, including high population growth, dependence on rainfed agriculture, high rates of malnutrition and HIV/AIDS and inadequate power supply. Agriculture is central to Malawi’s economy, contributing nearly 40 percent of GDP and roughly 90 percent of the country’s export earnings. Improving agricultural production is key to poverty reduction, but the increased frequency and intensity of drought and flood events hinder progress. The majority of agriculture production is rainfed and focused on maize. Erratic rainfall, higher temperatures, droughts and dry spells pose a challenge to maize productivity. The increased frequency of droughts and floods, along with higher temperatures, also negatively impact fisheries, wildlife and forests, which provide food, income, fuel and other environmental services to vulnerable populations.