|Republic of Botswana
Ian Khama (2008)
Land area: 226,012 sq mi (585,371 sq km);
total area: 231,803 sq mi (600,370 sq km)
Population (2014 est.): 2,155,784 (growth
rate: 1.26%); birth rate: 21.34/1000; infant mortality rate: 9.38/1000;
life expectancy: 54.06; note: estimates for this country explicitly take into account the effects of excess mortality due to AIDS; this can result in lower life expectancy, higher infant mortality, higher death rates, lower population growth rates, and changes in the distribution of population by age and sex than would otherwise be expected (July 2014 est.)
Capital and largest city (2011 est.):
Monetary unit: Pula
Current government officials
Setswana 78.2%, Kalanga 7.9%, Sekgalagadi 2.8%, English (official) 2.1%, other 8.6%, unspecified 0.4% (2001 census)
Tswana (or Setswana) 79%, Kalanga 11%, Basarwa
3%, other (including Kgalagadi and white) 7%
Independence Day (Botswana Day), September
Christian 71.6%, Badimo 6%, other 1.4%, unspecified 0.4%, none 20.6% (2001 census)
Literacy rate: 85.1% (2011 est.)
Economic summary: GDP/PPP (2013 est.):
$30.09 billion; per capita $16,400. Real growth rate: 3.9%.
Inflation: 6.1%. Unemployment: 17.8%. Arable land:
0.45%. Agriculture: livestock, sorghum, maize, millet, beans,
sunflowers, groundnuts. Labor force: 1.308 million (2013); agriculture n.a., industry n.a., services n.a.
Industries: diamonds, copper, nickel, salt, soda ash, potash;
livestock processing; textiles. Natural resources: diamonds,
copper, nickel, salt, soda ash, potash, coal, iron ore, silver.
Exports: $7.569 billion (2013 est.): diamonds, copper,
nickel, soda ash, meat, textiles. Imports: $7.389 billion
(2013 est.): foodstuffs, machinery, electrical goods, transport
equipment, textiles, fuel and petroleum products, wood and paper
products, metal and metal products. Major trading partners:
European Free Trade Association (EFTA), Southern African Customs
Union (SACU), Zimbabwe (2004).
Member of Commonwealth of Nations
Communications: Telephones: main
lines in use: 160,500 (2012); mobile cellular: 3.0820 (2012).
Broadcast media: 2 TV stations - 1 state-owned and 1 privately owned; privately owned satellite TV subscription service is available; 2 state-owned national radio stations; 3 privately owned radio stations broadcast locally (2007). Internet hosts:
1,806 (2012). Internet users: 120,000 (2009).
Transportation: Railways: total: 888 km
(2008). Highways: total: 17,916 km;
(2011). Ports and harbors: none. Airports: 74
International disputes: none.
Major sources and definitions
Twice the size of Arizona, Botswana is in
south-central Africa, bounded by Namibia, Zambia, Zimbabwe, and South
Africa. Most of the country is near-desert, with the Kalahari occupying
the western part of the country. The eastern part is hilly, with salt
lakes in the north.
The earliest inhabitants of the region were the
San, who were followed by the Tswana. About half the country today is
ethnic Tswana. The term for the country's people, Batswana, refers
to national rather than ethnic origin.
Encroachment by the Zulu in the 1820s and by
Boers from Transvaal in the 1870s and 1880s threatened the peace of the
region. In 1885, Britain established the area as a protectorate, then
known as Bechuanaland. In 1961, Britain granted a constitution to the
country. Self-government began in 1965, and on Sept. 30, 1966, the country
became independent. Botswana is Africa's oldest democracy.
The new country maintained good relations with
its white-ruled neighbors but gradually changed its policies, harboring
rebel groups from South Rhodesia as well as some from South Africa.
Although Botswana is rich in diamonds, it has
high unemployment and stratified socioeconomic classes. In 1999, the
nation suffered its first budget deficit in 16 years because of a slump in
the international diamond market. Yet Botswana remains one of the
wealthiest and most stable countries on the continent.
After 17 years in power, President Ketumile
Masire retired in 1997, and Festus Mogae, an Oxford-educated economist,
became the new president. Mogae has won high marks from the international
financial community for continuing to privatize Botswana's mining and
AIDS: Botswana's Biggest Challenge
Although Botswana's economic outlook remains
strong, the devastation that AIDS has caused threatens to destroy the
country's future. In 2001, Botswana had the highest rate of HIV infection
in the world (350,000 of its 1.6 million people). With the help of
international donors, however, it launched an ambitious national campaign
that provided free antiviral drugs to anyone who needed them, and by March
2004, Botswana's infection rate had dropped significantly. But with 37.5%
of the population infected, the country remains on the brink of
catastrophe. President Mogae won a second and final four-year term in Oct.
After serving 10 years as deputy president, Ian
Khama, the son of Botswana's first president, Seretse Khama, was
inaugurated as president in April 2008. Festus Mogae stepped aside after
10 years in office. Khama won a five-year term in October 2009, when his Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) party won 45 out of 57 seats in Parliament.
In the 2014 election, Ian Khama won a second term as president. It was the eleventh straight victory for his Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) party. BDP took 37 of the 57 National Assembly seats. During his 2014 campaign, Khama vowed to take on poverty and unemployment in his next term.
See also Encyclopedia: Botswana
U.S. State Dept. Country Notes:
Central Statistics Office http://www.cso.gov.bw/cso/index.html .
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