Agri-Industrial Secondary Cities in Malawi

Malawi has a population of over 18 million, with a growth rate of 3.32% (CIA 2017). The population is forecasted to grow to over 30 million by 2035, and 45 million by 2050 (IFS 2018), nearly tripling the estimated 16 million from 2010 in a period of 40 years. Considering the available arable land being at around 40% of its footprint (2010 land coverage analysis by authors), it is estimated that Malawi will face a critical point in the near future where family-owned farms (smallholders) will not be able to provide for themselves even theoretically, and will increase its dependence on food imports even beyond the current state. These facts and projections will only raise the level of current food insecurity Malawi faces, due to rain reliant agricultural practices and growing environmental risks of floods and droughts (IMF Country Report, 2017).

Project clustering strategy and development zone designation for Chipoka urban and TA Ndindi

Malawi’s population requires a national shift towards new patterns of settlements, both urban and rural, that must be driven by land-use efficiency, infrastructural connectivity, environmental sensitivity, and economic diversified productivity. In order for this transition to succeed, urban and rural areas require carefully devised land and population management plans to direct public policies and investments in transportation, water, and energy infrastructure as well as private investments in commercial agribusiness and industry to catalyze a process of industrialization and modernization in strategic locations. In parallel, rural communities would require immense innovation to design replicable models of cooperative schemes which connect local villages and small framers to regional and global economies.

ORG Permanent Modernity was commissioned to support the long and medium-term development plans of the Malawi National Planning Commission (NPC) over the next 3 years.

Project process diagram




2019 -


Multi Scalar (National, District, City, Project)


Commercial, Infrastructure, Public Service, Landscape


First Hectares Capital, Malawi National Planning Commission, MwAPATA Institute


Research, Pre-Feasibility Design


Alexander D’Hooghe, Kobi Ruthenberg, Garine Boghossian


The Foundation for a Smoke-Free World (FSFW)