Housing Finance in Malawi


This profile is also available in French here.

To download a pdf version of the full 2021 Malawi country profile, click here.

Malawi is located in the southern part of Africa. The country had an estimated gross domestic product (GDP) per capita of MK501 514.67 (US$625.29) in 2020, up from MK467 684.15 (US$583.11) in 2019. With an estimated population of 19.1 million in 2020, the country is predominantly rural as 84% of the total population lives in rural areas and mainly depends on subsistence rain-fed agricultural activities. Of the 16% of the population in the urban areas, 12% live in the four major cities of Blantyre, Lilongwe, Mzuzu, and Zomba. The housing market is characterised by insufficient supply due to high poverty levels and increased demand caused by a rapid rate of urbanisation of 4.12%. Organizations such as the Center for Community Organization and Development (CCODE) report a huge demand for low and middle-income homes in the cities.

Major challenges affecting sustainable urbanisation in Malawi, exacerbated by COVID-19, include limited opportunities for revenue collection and planning; weak governance structures; poor land-use planning; the threat of climate change and disasters; and a high level of informal settlement and unregulated developments. As a result, 65.1% of the urban population live in slums, informal settlements, or have inadequate housing. The number of households living in informal settlements is estimated at 480 799. The government is trying to solve the challenge of insecure tenure, especially in traditional housing and slum areas. First, the government is preparing a legal framework sectional titling bill to improve the regularisation and issuing of titles for flats and other compound households. Second, the government is formalising informal settlements which have met minimum standards in the major cities through rezoning and issuing of titles.  Also, to ease the pressure of housing demand, the government has begun constructing 10 000 staff houses for security institutions.

[1] Reserve Bank of Malawi (2020). Financial and Economic Review. Volume 54, Issue 2, 2020.  Pg. 2.

[2] Interview with Mr Mlongoti, National Bank of Malawi Blantyre Branch, 17 August 2020, Malawi

[3] Government of Malawi (2019). National Budget Statement 2019-2020.  https://www.finance.gov.mw/index.php/blog/budget  (Accessed 6th September 2020) Pg. 49.

[4] Interview with Zilire, Centre for Community Organisation and Development, 21 August 2020, Lilongwe, Malawi.

[5] Interview with Zilire, Centre for Community Organisation and Development, 21 August 2020, Lilongwe, Malawi.

Find out more information on the housing finance sector of Malawi, including key stakeholders, important policies and housing affordability:

Each year, CAHF publishes its Housing Finance in Africa Yearbook. The profile above is from the 2021 edition, which has up-to-date profiles for 55 African countries.

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