The WEF Global Competitiveness Report (2013) ranked Malawi’s infrastructure 136th out of 148 countries. On the on hand, the quality of railroads and roads are the country’s highest ranked indicators. It reflects modest policy success of having moved to liberalize ownership of the country’s road (under COMESA initiatives) and railroad networks in an effort to increase competition within and between modes of transport since 1999. Now, questions remain over operational performance of private companies operating in these sectors. On the other hand, mobile phone subscriptions, fixed telephones and quality of electricity supply were unfavourable. One of the key constraints to growth is electricity supply shortfalls with frequent outages, which have been identified as major deterrents to potential investors and existing local industry. There has been a lack of new regulation in the telecommunications services industry since the 1998 Communications Act. Progress has been made solely in the area of ITC with the introduction of a National ITC Policy in 2013 aiming to ‘mainstream ICT, build public-private partnerships and promote the further utilization of ITC in rural and urban communities’. With regards to financial services, the regulatory environment is fragmented with non-bank financial services being under-regulated. In an effort to tackle this deficiency, in 2012 the government introduced new legislation allowing the creation of a private credit bureau and new, clearer rules with regards to insolvency (Malawi Government 2011; WEF 2013; WTO 2010).

Source: Malawi Government, 2011, Growth and Development Strategy II 2011-2016
WEF, 2013, Global Competitiveness Report 2013-2014
WTO, 2010, Trade Policy Review (Malawi)

Indicator Value Rank/148
Quality of overall infrastructure How would you assess general infrastructure (e.g., transport, telephony, and energy) in your country? [1 = extremely underdeveloped—among the worst in the world; 7 = extensive and efficient—among the best in the world] | 2012–13 weighted average. 2.73 121
Quality of roads How would you assess roads in your country? (1 = extremely underdeveloped; 7 = extensive and efficient by international standards) | 2010, 2011. 3.32 88
Quality of railroad infrastructure How would you assess the railroad system in your country? (1 = extremely underdeveloped; 7 = extensive and efficient by international standards) | 2010, 2011. 1.94 89
Quality of port infrastructure How would you assess port facilities in your country? (1 = extremely underdeveloped; 7 = well-developed and efficient by international standards). For landlocked countries, this measures the ease of access to port facilities and inland waterways | 2010, 2011. 3.31 109
Quality of air transport infrastructure How would you assess passenger air transport infrastructure in your country? (1 = extremely underdeveloped; 7 = extensive and efficient by international standards) | 2010, 2011. 2.88 129
Individuals using Internet (%) Internet users are people with access to the worldwide network. 29.21 135
Mobile telephone subscriptions/100 pop According to the World Bank, mobile cellular telephone subscriptions are subscriptions to a public mobile telephone service using cellular technology, which provides access to switched telephone technology. Postpaid and prepaid subscriptions are included. This can also include analogue and digital cellular systems but should not include non-cellular systems. Subscribers to fixed wireless, public mobile data services, or radio paging services are not included. 4.35 125
Fixed broadband Internet subscriptions/100 pop: The International Telecommunication Union considers broadband to be any dedicated connection to the Internet of 256 kilobits per second or faster, in both directions. Broadband subscribers refers to the sum of DSL, cable modem and other broadband (for example, fiber optic, fixed wireless, apartment LANs, satellite connections) subscribers. 0.01 133