The total value of the trade of the protectorate in the year 1899-1900 was £255,384, showing an increase of 75% on the figures for the previous year, 1898-1899. Imports were valued at £176,035, an increase of 62%, and exports at £79,449, an increase of 109%. In 1905-1906 the imports reached £222,581 and the exports £56,778. The value of imports into the Rhodesian provinces during the same period was about £50,000, excluding railway material, and the exports £18,000. The principal exports are (besides minerals) coffee, cotton, tobacco, rubber and ivory. A number of Englishmen and Scotsmen (perhaps 200) are settled, mainly in the Shiré Highlands, as coffee planters.
From the Chinde mouth of the Zambezi to Port Herald on the lower Shiré communication is maintained by light-draught steamers, though in the dry season (April-November) steamers cannot always ascend as far as Port Herald, and barges have to be used to complete the voyage. A railway runs from Port Herald to Blantyre, the commercial capital of the Shiré Highlands. The "Cape to Cairo" railway, which crossed the Zambezi in 1905 and the Kafukwe in 1906, reached the Broken Hill mine in 1907, and in 1909 was continued to the frontier of Belgian Congo. There are regular services by steamer between the ports on Lakes Nyasa and Tanganyika. The African trans-continental telegraph line (founded by Cecil Rhodes) runs through the protectorate, and a branch line has been established from Lake Nyasa to Fort Jameson, the present headquarters of the Chartered Company in North Eastern Rhodesia.
The principal European settlement or town is Blantyre (q.v.), at a height of about 3000 ft. above the sea, in the Shiré Highlands. This place was named after Livingstone's birthplace, and was founded in 1876 by the Church of Scotland mission. The government capital of the protectorate, however, is Zomba, at the base of the mountain of that name. Other townships or sites of European settlements are Port Herald (on the lower Shiré), Chiromo (at the junction of the Ruo and the Shiré), Fort Anderson (on Mount Mlanje), Fort Johnston (near the outlet of the river Shiré from the south end of Lake Nyasa), Kotakota and Bandawe (on the west coast of Lake Nyasa), Likoma (on an island off the east coast of Lake Nyasa), Karonga (on the north-west coast of Lake Nyasa), Fife (on the Nyasa-Tanganyika plateau), Fort Jameson (capital of N.E. Rhodesia, near the river Luangwa), Abercorn (on the south end of Lake Tanganyika), Kalungwisi (on the east coast of Lake Mweru) and Fort Rosebery (near the Johnston Falls on the Luapula [upper Congo]).
The present political divisions of the country are as follows: - The Nyasaland Protectorate, i.e. the districts surrounding Lake Nyasa and the Shiré province, are administered directly under the imperial government by a governor, who acts under the orders of the colonial office. The governor is assisted by an executive council and by a nominated legislative council, which consists of at least three members. The districts to the westward, forming the provinces of North Eastern and North Western Rhodesia, are governed by two administrators of the British South Africa Chartered Company, in consultation with the governor of Nyasaland and the colonial office.