Landlocked Malawi ranks among the world's most densely populated and least developed countries.
The economy is predominately agricultural with about 80% of the population living in rural areas. Agriculture, which has benefited from fertilizer subsidies since 2006, accounts for one-third of GDP and 90% of export revenues. The performance of the tobacco sector is key to short-term growth as tobacco accounts for more than half of exports. The economy depends on substantial inflows of economic assistance from the IMF, the World Bank, and individual donor nations. In 2006, Malawi was approved for relief under the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) program.
However, the government of Malawi faces many challenges including developing a market economy, improving educational facilities, facing up to environmental problems and dealing with the rapidly growing problem of HIV/AIDS.