Population: 17 million
Percentage in Poverty: 36%
Established in 1891, the British protectorate of Nyasaland became the independent nation of Malawi in 1964. Current President Bingu wa MUTHARIKA, elected in May 2004 after a failed attempt by the previous president to amend the constitution to permit another term, struggled to assert his authority against his predecessor and subsequently started his own party, the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) in 2005. As president, MUTHARIKA has overseen some economic improvement. Population growth, increasing pressure on agricultural lands, corruption, and the spread of HIV/AIDS pose major problems for Malawi.