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Malawi: Lilongwe Urban Profile
Lilongwe, the largest city in Malawi, became the capital and administrative City of Malawi in 1975 after relocating from Zomba. Lilongwe has witnessed a high urbanization rate ever since, accelerated by the relocation of all government head offices from Blantyre to Lilongwe from 2005. The city is divided into four sectors (Old Town, Capital Hill, Kanengo, and Lumbadzi). Lilongwe is situated at the centre of a large agricultural area and there are many economic activities taking place in the city.
However, Lilongwe lacks the necessary financial resources to implement significant development plans and provide the required basic infrastructure and urban services needed for economic development to take place. Lilongwe’s major industry is tobacco processing. Approximately 76 percent of the city’s population lives in informal settlements.
Poverty stands at about 25 percent with unemployment at 16 percent. Improved governance, revenue collection, management capacity, and understanding of the city’s competitive advantages are seen as major factors to address the current development challenges faced in Lilongwe.