Malawi's President Muluzi has continued the pro-Western foreign policy established by former President Banda. It maintains excellent diplomatic relations with principal Western countries. Malawi's close relations with South Africa throughout the apartheid era strained its relations with other African nations. Following the collapse of apartheid in 1994, Malawi developed, and currently maintains, strong diplomatic relations with all African countries.
Between 1985 and 1995, Malawi accommodated more than a million refugees from Mozambique. The refugee crisis placed a substantial strain on Malawi's economy but also drew significant inflows of international assistance. The accommodation and eventual repatriation of the Mozambicans is considered a major success by international organizations. In 1996, Malawi received a number of Rwandan and Congolese refugees seeking asylum. The government did not turn away refugees, but it did invoke the principle of "first country of asylum." Under this principle, refugees who requested asylum in another country first, or who had the opportunity to do so would not subsequently be granted asylum in Malawi. There were no reports of the forcible repatriation of refugees.
Important bilateral donors, in addition to the United States, include Canada, Denmark, Germany, Iceland, Japan, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Republic of China (Taiwan), and the United Kingdom. Multilateral donors include the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, the European Union, the African Development Bank, and the United Nations organizations.
Malawi assumed the chair of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) in 2001. President Muluzi has taken an active role in SADC on issues such as the global coalition against terrorism and land reform in Zimbabwe.
Malawi is a member of the following international organizations: UN and some of its specialized and related agencies (i.e. UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO), IMF, World Bank, International Criminal Court (ICC), Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA), World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), Berne Convention, Universal Copyright Convention, Organization of African Unity (OAU), Lome Convention, African Development Bank (AFDB), Southern African Development Community (SADC), the Common Market for East and Southern Africa (COMESA), Nonaligned Movement, G-77, and the World Health Organization (WHO).
- See also : Malawi