Open translate

Malawi Military - 2024


GEOGRAPHICAL NAMES  Spanish Simplified Chinese French German Russian Hindi Arabic Portuguese

Military and security forces

Malawi Defense Force (MDF): Land Forces (Army), Maritime Force, Air Force, National Service (reserve force) (2024)

note: the MDF reports directly to the president as commander in chief; the Malawi Police Service is under the Ministry of Homeland Security

Military expenditures

0.7% of GDP (2022 est.)
0.9% of GDP (2021 est.)
0.9% of GDP (2020 est.)
1.1% of GDP (2019 est.)
0.8% of GDP (2018 est.)

Military and security service personnel strengths

estimated 10,000 active military personnel (2023)

Military equipment inventories and acquisitions

the MDF's inventory is comprised of mostly obsolescent or secondhand equipment originating from such countries as France and South Africa; in recent years, it has received small amounts of armaments from a few countries, including China (2023)

Military service age and obligation

18-30years of age for men and women for voluntary military service; high school equivalent required for enlisted recruits and college equivalent for officer recruits; initial engagement is 7 years for enlisted personnel and 10 years for officers (2023)

Military deployments

750 Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO)  (2023)

Military - note

the MDF’s primary responsibility is external security; it is also tasked as necessary with providing support to civilian authorities during emergencies, supporting the Police Service, protecting national forest reserves, and participating in regional peacekeeping missions, as well as assisting with infrastructure development; it is generally considered to be a professional and effective service, although most of its equipment is aging and obsolescent; Malawi contributes regularly to African Union and UN peace support operations; the Army is the dominant service and has three infantry brigades while its subordinate maritime force has a few patrol boats for monitoring Lake Malawi

the MDF was established in 1964 from elements of the Kings African Rifles (KAR), a British colonial regiment raised from Great Britain's various possessions in East Africa from 1902 until independence in the 1960s; the KAR conducted both military and internal security functions within the colonial territories, and served outside the territories during the World Wars (2023)

NOTE: The information regarding Malawi on this page is re-published from the 2024 World Fact Book of the United States Central Intelligence Agency and other sources. No claims are made regarding the accuracy of Malawi 2024 information contained here. All suggestions for corrections of any errors about Malawi 2024 should be addressed to the CIA or the source cited on each page.

This page was last modified 04 May 24, Copyright © 2024 ITA all rights reserved.