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This website was archived in May 2018 and is no longer being updated – it remains in its original format for informational purposes only. For questions pertaining to this archived content, please contact the USAID Office for Global Climate Change - [email protected]

Photo of a grassy field with brush and mountains in the background

Malawi is making strides toward green growth with a draft National Climate Change Policy and Vision 2020, laying out strategies to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, reduce community and ecosystem vulnerability to climate change, and drive economic growth. Though relatively small, Malawi’s GHG emissions are overwhelmingly caused by deforestation and forest degradation, resulting from the country’s dependence on biomass for energy. 

Through the EC-LEDS program, Malawi and the United States are working together to address the primary drivers of deforestation at both national and local scales, improve planning and analysis for low emission development, and secure new sources of climate financing.

Environmental/Economic Data

Pie chart image entitled, "Malawi GDP by Sector (2015)," showing: Agriculture 33%, Industry 17%, and Services 50%.

Top Three GHG Emitting Sectors (2012)

  1. Land use
  2. Agriculture
  3. Waste

Source: World Resources Institute

GDP Average Annual Growth Rate (%)

  • 10-year (2006–2015): 5.8% per year
  • 5-year (2011-2015): 4.1% per year

Source: World Bank

GHG Emission Growth (%)

  • 20-year (1993-2012): 36.5%
  • 5-year (2008-2012): 26.7% 

Source: World Resources Institute

Forested Area (% of total land area)

2015: 33.4% 

Source: World Bank

Renewable Energy Contribution to Electricity Generation (%)

EC-LEDS Activities

Accomplishments and Progress

Implementing National REDD+ Action Plan. With the support of U.S. forestry experts, Malawi assessed options and tradeoffs for components of its national REDD+ Action Plan. These analyses are helping inform decisions on investments in REDD+ readiness components including the development of a National Forest Monitoring System, the determination of a reference emission level, the development of a safeguards information system, and the completion of Malawi’s first National Forest Inventory since 1992. Investments in REDD+ readiness components are expected to establish a strong foundation for mobilizing finance and implementing policies and measures to reduce emissions from agriculture, forestry and other land uses—including emissions reductions of approximately two million metric tons relative to business as usual. – 2016

Restoring Forests. The U.S. Protecting Ecosystems and Restoring Forests in Malawi (PERFORM) project is providing leadership and support for the Malawi’s National Forest Landscape Restoration Assessment (NFLRA). Activities—including regional stocktaking, development of initial restoration potential maps, and questionnaires administered to 27 districts—informed Malawi’s proposed national restoration target of 4.5 million hectares by 2030. Conserving forests helps reduce poverty in local communities, protects valuable natural resources, promotes clean air and water, and can improve production of important global commodities. - Ongoing

Strengthening Malawi’s National Inventory. U.S. climate change experts are working with Malawi’s Environmental Affairs Department to improve the quality of GHG inventory data and reporting. GHG inventories are fundamental to tracking progress toward climate change goals, and for accessing new sources of climate change financing. An improved inventory will enable Malawi to accurately report its emissions, which helps show the progress that all countries are making to address climate change. – Ongoing

Increasing Power Sector Efficiency. U.S. energy experts are partnering with Malawi to increase efficiency in the country’s power sector. To attract private investment in renewable energy projects, the partnership is focused on implementing institutional reforms to existing energy regulations and the framework for private sector investment in generation. This effort is also working to improve the operational efficiency of Malawi’s three main hydropower plants, by funding local grants to expand afforestation campaigns, sustainable farming, and soil and water conservation practices, which can help reduce aquatic weeds and sediments that clog intake equipment to hydropower plants. – Ongoing

National REDD+ Action Plan Drafted. Guided by a dedicated REDD+ (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation) advisor sponsored by the EC-LEDS program, the Malawi Department of Forestry drafted a 5-year national REDD+ action plan. The plan—developed with input from academia, government, civil society, the private sector, and other development partners—establishes a comprehensive framework for achieving the country’s national REDD+ readiness priorities and developing a long-term, 30-year REDD+ strategy and reducing emissions from deforestation. – 2014

Additional Resources


Draft National Climate Change Policy

Organizations and Programs


If you have any questions about Malawi's activities through the EC-LEDS program, please contact us