Rights groups have accused Malawian authorities of giving her special treatment. Malawi’s government, which came under fire after Madonna adopted a 13-month-old Malawian boy, said on Thursday it would support a second adoption.
Court registrar Ken Manda told reporters Madonna’s bid to adopt a 4-year-old girl, Mercy James, had been rejected because the singer was not a resident of Malawi.
It was not clear whether Madonna would try to appeal against the ruling. Her lawyer was not immediately available for comment and neither was her London spokeswoman.
Malawian civil society groups opposed the adoption attempt and a local human rights activist said it would amount to child trafficking.
Malawian Information Minister Patricia Kaliati told Reuters on Thursday that Madonna had helped in the country and was a worthy mother.