Zomba rated third poorest district in southern Malawi

Zomba District has been rated as the third poorest district in Southern Region of the country (Malawi) after Nsanje and Machinga, the district’s 2017 Social Economic Profile (SEP) has revealed.

Zomba City business area

The old capital’s social economic status was revealed during presentation of the district SEP at an extra ordinary full council meeting on Friday. The document was compiled under Local Government Accountability Project (LGAP).

A consultant for LGAP, Markward Themba, said Zomba was not doing well in terms of development.

“There is need for authorities to consider looking back and reflecting on their potential to find ways of improving in this devolution time.

“Being the former capital city of Malawi, I was not expecting Zomba to be on third position when it comes to poverty level of the citizens,” said Themba.

In an interview, Chairperson for Development Service Committee at the council, Councillor Evance Namakoka said revelation by SEP of the district’s social economic status was a wakeup call to authorities, especially the secretariat.

Namakoka said the profile would help the council to know areas which remained behind in development.

He added the SEP would also be used as a tool at all development structures, so that all development decisions are kept in line with the situation at hand.

Speaking in a separate interview, one of the councillors who opted not to be mentioned said he was not surprised to hear that the district was rated that way.

He said lack of transparency, poor commitment and selfishness among council secretariat members were some of the major issues ‘killing Zomba’ in terms of development.

“Zomba is blessed with a lot of projects but in terms of implementation it is where we need to focus on and improve,” he said.

He cited projects like Shire River Basin Management and Malawi Flood Emergency Recovery Project (MFERP) as some of the projects which he said could really change things in the district.

‘Millions of kwacha are invested in such projects but when you go on the ground you will believe me that something fishy is happening,” he said.

He however commended the Department of Forestry for changing the face of Sub Traditional Authority Ngwelero through the project called Food for Assets implemented by World Food Programme (WFP).

He said the area had improved in terms of reforestation as the hills around were now turning into forests. Among other areas, the social economic profile tackles security, commerce, health, education and agriculture.

Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :

Please share this Article if you like Email This Post Email This Post

More From the World

Sort by:   newest | oldest | most voted
James Chatupa

How did a misguided report of this unprofessional nature get to be published or publicized. There are processes that are followed in inviting consultancy studies. Lets dig further to determine the authorities in the District Council/City Council/Financing Entity who are behind such shoddy work.

Future president
I think there is confusion on what is called ‘Zomba District’ in this report. Under the Local Government Act there are two territorial local governments in Zomba. The urban one is a city headed by a Chief Executive who works under the political structure headed by a mayor. Strictly speaking the gathering of the city representatives of councillors is what is called a ‘City Council’ previously called an ‘Assembly.’ The area of the City Council extends from somewhere near Chinamwali where a signpost welcomes you to ‘Zomba City’up to somewhere near 3 miles. That territory is actually the forth most… Read more »
Mzanga Dausi

As a matter of fact all districts in Malawi are poor. Poverty is poverty. It is mediocre mindset to start rating which district is more poorer than the other.

Get rid of Mutharika. Arrest all his corrupt croonies. Then see all districts emerge out of poverty.

Blessings Mgolomba Kamanga

This is quite surprising considering that Zomba is apparently a city. At this rate it would be more advised to remove the City status of Zomba. In my view, the significance of Zomba as a city is past its prime.

Make Chulu
Let us not forget that in Zomba there is Zomba District Council and Zomba City Council with jurisdictions over rural welfare and urban welfare respectively. The study gathered data in rural areas of Zomba where poverty levels are high and generalized the findings of the study as if they also apply in Zomba urban which is under the jurisdiction of Zomba City Council. This is persuasive and misleading as income per capita in the urban Zomba is never captured in the study. For your information Zomba City is considered as the administrative capital of the Eastern region with relatively high… Read more »
Andrew kalambo

The report is about Zomba as a whole. So it is not misleading. Let the authorities manage the district properly with a mind to serve the people well.

That’s why people talk about federal system of govt whereby each region will be able to develop based on the resources generated within their jurisdiction. As it is now, all monies generated in the whole eastern region go to Lilongwe as a capital city and little is left to develop other districts. Too many big projects are embarked in Lilongwe and Blantyre and yet monies are collectively collected from these districts. Ndalama zonse za Eastern region zizigwiritsidwa ntchito yachitukuo mu eastern region not otherwise. Za Southern region, Central region and northern region same same. Statistically, how much money are we… Read more »

The removal of the capital city from Zomba to the central region by the MCP government impacted negatively on the economic growth of the town.I urge all Zomba residents not to entertain the MCP when it comes to your district to campaign for votes in the next general elections.


MCP has no place in Zomba, they must know it. They created a notorious maximum security prison, mikuyu prison, domasi prison where suspects/ convicts were severely tortured to death in these prison cells. People were chained like dogs for the rest of their lives. What remain in Zomba are: Prisons and Mental Hospital. We all believe that Peter Admin thru Zomba City Council has constructed several small roads with tarmac and when we vote him into power in May, 2019 he will build more roads. In Zomba we believe in DPP-led govt that it will deliver after May, 2019.

Ambilasile Mwenye
This is a false survey. Zomba cant be the third poorest in Southern Malawi. Where is Neno which has no tarmac road , no district hospital , no bus depot, no visible trading activity, no hotel, no secondary school, no university, no teachers college, no any tangible farming activity? Zomba has a new beautiful tarmac road, it has a general hospital, its has a bus depot, the town is a bit developed, it has Ku Chawe Hotel, five big and famous secondary schools ( Box 2, Masongola, Mulunguzi, Police, St. Mary’s ), its the home of Chanco, Domasi Teachers College… Read more »

These are indeed there but what do the general population of Zomba do to earn a living compared to Neno people who grow a lot of vegetables fruits and earn money. Most likely the vegetables that college uses come from Nemo. So the Nemo farmers benefit from Zombas college than the Zomba populace. In other words Zomba people are consumers and Nemo are producers.

It is per capita income than matter not infrastructure development bambo. If you take your time to go through socio-economic profiles of all districts, you would get answers to your questions. For instance, Neno people are very much involved in production of fruits and vegetables on top on being one of the main source of chacal (Makala) and curios which are hot businesses. Similarly the shire highlands, (Blantyre, Thyolo, Mulanje, Chiradzulu and Phalombe) are the main producers of milk for the whole country, smallholder tea farming, legume (Nandolo, Sawawa) production at large scale at national level, fruits and vegetables feeding… Read more »
Hlabezulu Ngonoonda
A fictitious survey indeed. Generally, it is correct to say that Zomba was not doing well in terms of development. It is also correct to say that there is lack of transparency, poor commitment and selfishness among council members who are indeed ‘killing Zomba’ in terms of development. These selfish councilor members award contract to entities in which they have “shares” or one which belongs to a relative. The work that these entities execute raises a lot of questions. This point to the revelation that planners to develop Zomba with high standards are in deep slumber. Among others, the council… Read more »
Felix Mulenga

is chiladzulo, Nneno, Mwanza, Chikwawa, Mulanje, and Phalombe better than Zomba?

Peloma Pepe
It may not be a false survey as you call it. If you check Malawi Demographic and Health Surveys (2011, 2017), which are government/official reports, they have a similar statistic on poverty line (both poor, and ultra-poor) as expressed in this article. The measure is not about infrastructure. Rather, it’s about household income. So, even though Zomba has an advantage in infrastructure (like those you’ve mentioned), and its city residents may have better income, the masses in the village is poor and others ultra-poor. Also, note that it’s not about Zomba City. Rather, it’s about Zomba District. That’s why Zomba… Read more »

More From Nyasatimes