On 12th December, 2018, the Malawi Parliament amended the Malawi Citizenship Act to allow Malawians have dual citizenship.
Before the amendment, the Constitution of the Republic of Malawi did not permit Malawian citizens and foreign nationals of Malawian decent to hold dual citizenship.
Dual citizenship allows an individual to enjoy citizenship rights of both the host country and the country of origin, as well as, take up civic responsibilities in either place, provided that each of the concerned countries accepts dual citizenship.
The approved changes to the Malawi Citizenship Act will allow Malawians in the Diaspora to hold Dual Citizenship a move that will bring Malawi in line with the worldwide modern practices.
The Malawi Government initiated the Diaspora Engagement Program in 2012 and established the Diaspora Affairs Unit in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation to manage the program. The initiative was made upon the realization that Malawi has a significant community of Diaspora with a diversity of resources which could be harnessed to contribute to the socio-economic development of the country.
Since the initiation of the Diaspora Engagement Program, there has been an increased interaction with the Diaspora. Furthermore, the Government approved Malawi’s first ever Diaspora Engagement Policy in August, 2017, in order to develop and strengthen a mutually beneficial and lasting relationship between Malawi and her Diaspora. His Excellency Prof. Arthur Peter Mutharika, President of the Republic of Malawi and Malawi Government Officials have engaged with the Malawi Diaspora worldwide through consultative meetings and other public functions. The key objective of these meetings was to find ways of involving the Diaspora in issues related to economic development of Malawi and how best the Government can address their consular needs and challenges.
During the gatherings the issue of dual citizenship was emphasized and His Excellency Prof. Arthur Peter Mutharika assured the Diaspora that the issue would be dealt with as lack of dual citizenship in Malawi blocks the involvement of the Malawian Diaspora to actively participate in the national development.
The passing of the dual citizenship bill by the Malawi Parliament is seen as a positive response following efforts by His Excellency Prof. Peter Mutharika, President of the Republic of Malawi, Government MDA’s, other stakeholder and the Diaspora themselves.