Dr. Banda - Prophet of pragmatism?

To understand the foreign policy of Malawi one must look at the national power of Malawi and the personality of Dr. Banda. This document analyses the human and natural potential of Malawi and describes her foreign policy in practice. It attempts to evaluate the national power of the country by looking at the following elements: demographic, geographical economic, and historical, as well as the type of government and the military. This analysis demonstrates that Malawi’s national power is limited - she is a poor land-locked country, far from world markets, with restricted freedom of action to further her national interest. The article then describes Malawi’s national interest in relation to powers outside Africa, on which she is dependent for economic aid (especially Britain, China, the USA and West Germany), and relations with other African states, where conflict exists between ideology and national interest. Malawi is expected to stand for African unity and anti-colonialism, but has chosen national interest as more important. Due to Malawi’s relations with the White South, she has been described as Africa’s odd man out. The reasons for this are the economic dominance of South Africa, Malawi hoping for aid from South Africa, and the fact that Dr. Banda is a pragmatist. Malawi’s foreign policy is based on the assumptions that African unity is unlikely in the foreseeable future, that national interest is more important than pan-Africanism, that the Western powers offer more than the Communists, and that White South Africa is here to stay.