Malawi is one of the least developed countries in the world. According to the 2010 United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Human Development Report, Malawi ranks number 153 from a sample of 169 countries in terms of the level of human development. The UNDP Human Development Report is the general framework used by the United Nations Organization (UN) in determining the general levels of prosperity among States. Malawi faces a multiplicity of socioeconomic problems. These include a fast-growing population that in turn exerts substantial pressure on limited land and natural resources; high unemployment levels; endemic official corruption in government and public administration; a bloated civil service with generally low levels of efficiency; lack of fiscal discipline in the public service; heavy dependence on outside balance of payments support; generally low levels of education and training opportunities; a poor state of health services compounded by an HIV/AIDS pandemic that is not yet under control; heavy dependence on agriculture and exports of a few agricultural commodities which are largely in raw (unprocessed) form; a low-level productivity in small-scale farming and a vast gap between small-scale and estate agriculture with respect to product range and productivity; and vulnerability to external political and economic shocks, as well as other factors on account of the country's landlocked geographical location. This cocktail of socio-economic problems accentuates and exacerbates one major phenomenon: poverty. The International Monetary Fund's 2002 Malawi Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (MPRSP) acknowledged this fact, stating that poverty in the country was "widespread, deep and severe." The policy document that followed the MPRSP, The Malawi Growth and Development Strategy: From Poverty to Prosperity 2006-2011 (MGDS), acknowledges that the situation has not improved much from what it was at the time the 2002 MPRSP was produced. The MGDS makes a ringing admission that during the implementation period of the MPRSP, very little progress had been made in reducing poverty, noting in 2006 that "[p]overty has not changed significantly for the past seven years."
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