Malawi is a landlocked country in Southern Africa sharing boundaries with Zambia, Tanzania and Mozambique. Lake Malawi, the third largest lake in Africa, covers about one-fifth of the country’s total area. Malawi is an agricultural-based economy and a small country about the size of Iceland. Estimated population in 2020 is 19.13 million people, making it one of the most densely populated countries in Africa. Most of the population (80%) live in rural areas and depend on subsistence farming for their livelihoods. The main characteristic of the population is its young age structure, with 54% of the total population under the age of 18 which has implications for socio-economic development in the country. According to Malawi Poverty Report 2018 done by ), shows that 51.5% of the population live below poverty line of which 20.1% of total population are ultra-poor.

With majority of the population living below poverty line and being financially excluded, microfinance is key to address such problem. Microfinance is not a new phenomenon in Malawi, but the microfinance sector has only started to be regulated and supervised effectively in the last 8 years. The microfinance sector is regulated by Reserve Bank of Malawi (RBM) (Malawi’s central bank) and facilitated by Malawi Microfinance Network (MAMN) which currently has 26-member institutions who provide different microfinance services through different microfinance models e.g. village banks, cooperatives, ASCAs etc. The sector’s legal and regulatory framework was formalised through Financial Services Act (2010), Microfinance Act (2010) and Cooperative Act (2010) with subsequent guidelines and directives. Recently, the GEMINI study listed three key constraints faced by SMEs in Malawi, which are: access to finance, access to input resources and market problems. The sector supply is a mixture of agricultural credit (fertiliser & seed etc) and business finance in rural and urban areas. Some of the microfinance institutions (MFIs) are NGOs and others are run for profit purposes. But currently, the main issue in the sector and on the market is that the demand for microfinance services is far greater than the ability of MFIs to deliver them. Lastly, licensing of credit data Credit Reference Bureau (CRB) (2011) and enabling of CRB Act (2010) has helped in creating an environment where there is good credit culture of the nation and aided the sector key players from aspect of risk management. Credit Data CRB has a mandate to collect and store credit histories on individuals and institutions.



Waliko Mkandawire

Waliko Mkandawire is an Agricultural Enterprise Developer and Microfinance Personnel who deal with cooperatives, contracted growers (farmers), start-ups and Small & Medium Enterprises (SMEs) to grow their personal and cooperative enterprises. After spending nearly, a couple of years working on loan portfolio management, training cooperative members and volunteering for local microfinance institutions (MFIs) on social intermediation and enterprise development services, Waliko knows what truly drives loan repayment rates, sustainable cooperatives and microfinance product development—and it’s not picking up business flavor of the year.It’s how well you empathize with the heart-beating people you’re attempting to assist and develop everchanging solutions to different challenges together with them.  
  Waliko has worked with recognized agribusiness and microfinance institutions in Malawi, including Seed.Co, SACCOs, World Vision International, among others and worked under top researchers from LUANAR and Wageningen University on agribusiness, development and understanding of entrepreneurship in emerging economies. In addition to his broad agricultural enterprise development and microfinance know-how, Waliko is a trained accountant technician (ICAM). With that, you can expect integrity, trustworthy, confidentiality, objectivity, due diligence and other ethical responsibilities.  Waliko holds a BSC. in Agricultural Enterprise Development and Microfinance from the Lilongwe University of Agriculture & Natural Resources (LUANAR). Waliko’s available for microfinance and agricultural enterprise development related projects, as well as private consultations. You can reach Waliko at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.




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