Malawi's post-independence foreign policy and its influence on development options : a historical institutionalism analysis

09 Dec 2020

This paper analyses the causes, processes and systemic factors that have been central to Malawi's post-independence foreign policy and its implication on national development policy options. The paper argues that Malawi's post-independence foreign policy and development direction was mainly adopted in reaction to Kamuzu's failure to win the international support (at an OAU summit) for his quest to break Malawi's land locked status. From a historical institutionalist perspective, it can be argued that this rejection 'carved out' a future foreign policy direction that was deliberately meant to 'rebel' against OAU's prescriptions. Subsequent development policies were actually more of an aftermath of this 'curved out' foreign policy direction. In other words, foreign policy dictated the development policy options. The findings are drawn from available documentary sources (new and old) and review of existing literature. The paper is not bringing in new evidence but through a re-examination of the said existing evidence, in the context of historical institutionalism, the paper provokes and recasts a new and fascinating debate on Malawi's post-independence foreign policy architecture.