Lilongwe

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Lilongwe, estimated population 902,388 as of 2009, is the capital and largest city of Malawi. It lies in the country's central region, on the Lilongwe River, near the border of Malawi, Mozambique, and Zambia, and on the main north-south highway of Malawi, the M1.

Lilongwe is located at 13°59′S 33°47′E / 13.983°S 33.783°E / -13.983; 33.783

Contents

History

The city started life as a small village on the banks of the Lilongwe river, and became a British colonial administrative centre at the beginning of the 20th century. Due to its location on the main north-south route through the country and the road to Northern Rhodesia (now Zambia), Lilongwe became the second largest city in Malawi. In 1974, the capital of the country was formally moved from Zomba to Lilongwe. Lilongwe is the official capital of Malawi and has grown immensely since 1974, since 2008 the overall population is bigger than Blantyre. Recently, as part of political restructuring, the parliament has been shifted to Lilongwe and all parliament members are required to spend time in the new capital. Lilongwe is now the political centre of Malawi, but Blantyre remains the economic capital.

Demographics

General

Many European and South African expatriates live in Lilongwe, and many NGOs (Care International, Plan International, Concern Worldwide, , Population Services International, The UNC Project, World Camp, Baylor International AIDS Initiative, Baobab Health Partnership, WaterAID), international aid organisations (Peace Corps, USAID, DFID,UNICEF, UNHCR, UNFAO, WFP), and international corporations, particularly tobacco-related firms, operate out of Lilongwe. As a result, most western visitors will find the city to be accommodating and friendly. Many coffee shops, cafes, bars, clubs, restaurants, and even a casino are located in Lilongwe. In Lilongwe, as opposed to rural Malawi, one can live, work, or vacation in a manner that most westerners would consider typical, if not luxurious.

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