Lilongwe was first set up as a boma by the local leader Njewa in 1902. It becomes an administrative center in 1904.
While Blantyre is the commercial Capital of Malawi, Lilongwe's economy is dominated by the government and public institutions. Kanengo, in the north of the city, is the main industrial area, where food processing, tobacco storage and sales, maize storage, and other activities related to light industry take place. Finance, banking, retail trade, construction, transport, public administration, tourism, and tobacco manufacturing are the main economic activities in the city. 76 percent of Lilongwe's population live in informal settlements, while poverty stands at 25 percent and unemployment at 16 percent. The civil service employs about 27 percent of all formal workers, while 40 percent work in the private sector and 2 percent are self-employed.
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