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Life for Malawi’s 20 Million People has become Harder in Recent Years

Since 2021, the country has been experiencing acute foreign currency shortages, a consequence of reduced exports, experts say. This has led to a scarcity of essential goods such as food, medicine, fertiliser and fuel. In June, spokesperson for the Reserve Bank of Malawi, Ralph Tseka, told local media that the foreign exchange reserves were “nearly empty”. Agriculture predominantly powers Malawi’s economy, contributing approximately a third of its gross domestic product. Yet, even annual revenue from tobacco, the country’s major foreign exchange earner with $283m in sales already this year, is insufficient to cover the country’s imports bill. According to the Reserve Bank of Malawi, the country requires $3bn annually to meet import requirements but only earns about $1bn.