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Malawi: Lilongwe City


Lilongwe, (named after the Lilongwe River) is the capital and largest city of Malawi. The city is located in the central region of Malawi, near the borders with Mozambique and Zambia. The city has an estimated population 781,538 as of 2012.

Lilongwe is divided into a New and Old City. The former has hotels, embassies and offices while the latter has markets, bus stations, cafes and restaurants. The modern shops of the City are contrasted by the street and walled markets of Old Town. The Lilongwe Nature Sanctuary is between the Old and New towns and included a "People and Wildlife" animal rescue and education facility.

City Centre
City Centre is the most modern and developed area of Lilongwe. Many banks (Stanbic - or Standard Chartered, National Bank of Malawi, NedBank, the Reserve Bank of Malawi), diplomatic missions, exclusive hotels (Sunbird Capital Hotel), airline offices (including South African Airlines, Ethiopian Airlines, British Airways, Kenya Airways) and international corporate offices are located in City Centre. Close to City Centre, on an elevated ground, lies Malawi's Capital Hill which is a large campus of Government Ministries. There are over a dozen office blocks on Capital Hill, including Office of President and Cabinet, Ministries of Finance, Defence, Foreign Affairs, Agriculture, Education, Works and Transport, Health, Home Affairs and Ministry of Economic Planning. Capital Hill is surrounded by a fence and a ring road, with a maze of streets connecting the office blocks.
The city is divided into districts known as Areas. There are over fifty Areas and more are added as the city grows. City Centre, however, is not included in a numbered Area. The Areas are not necessarily consecutively numbered from one area to another.
Some notable areas in Lilongwe are:
Area 3 and Area 9: Old Town (West of A1) - Old Town can be further divided in a northern and a western part; the northern one is situated adjacent to City Centre and is popular for bicycle accessories, building supplies, car parts, western-style groceries, local food and clothing. Lilongwe’s main market and two historical mosques are also located here. The western region is more luxurious and features many expatriate bars, western-style restaurants and shopping, wealthy residential suburbs, and some grand hotels like Lilongwe Hotel.
Area 47: Home to African Bible College, and its inexpensive missionary clinic which is typically staffed by American doctors. There is also a small stadium (Silver stadium). Children of the Nations, a non-profit organisation dedicated to caring for orphaned and destitute children, is also headquartered in Lilongwe.
Medium to low density residential areas are Areas 6, 12, 11, 43, 10, 44. Areas 15 and 18 are medium to high density. Area 15 has about 250 bungalows and houses medium earners.
While the areas mentioned above are quite wealthy, safe, and modern, many citizens of Lilongwe live in sub-standard/non-permanent housing in a variety of Areas, often without electricity or running water.

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