Flag of Botswana

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Formerly the British protectorate of Bechuanaland, Botswana adopted its new name upon independence in 1966. Four decades of uninterrupted civilian leadership, progressive social policies, and significant capital investment have created one of the most dynamic economies in Africa. Mineral extraction, principally diamond mining, dominates economic activity, though tourism is a growing sector due to the country's conservation practices and extensive nature preserves. Botswana has one of the world's highest known rates of HIV/AIDS infection, but also one of Africa's most progressive and comprehensive programs for dealing with the disease.


Southern Africa, north of South Africa

Geographic coordinates:

22 00 S, 24 00 E


total: 600,370 sq km
land: 585,370 sq km
water: 15,000 sq km

Land boundaries:

total: 4,013 km
border countries: Namibia 1,360 km, South Africa 1,840 km, Zimbabwe 813 km


0 km (landlocked)

Maritime claims:

none (landlocked)


semiarid; warm winters and hot summers


predominantly flat to gently rolling tableland; Kalahari Desert in southwest

Elevation extremes:

lowest point: junction of the Limpopo and Shashe Rivers 513 m
highest point: Tsodilo Hills 1,489 m

Natural resources:

diamonds, copper, nickel, salt, soda ash, potash, coal, iron ore, silver

Land use:

arable land: 0.65%
permanent crops: 0.01%
other: 99.34% (2005)

Irrigated land:

10 sq km (2003)

Natural hazards:

periodic droughts; seasonal August winds blow from the west, carrying sand and dust across the country, which can obscure visibility

Environment - current issues:

overgrazing; desertification; limited fresh water resources

Geography - note:

landlocked; population concentrated in eastern part of the country


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 and death rates, lower population and growth rates, and changes in the distribution of population by age and sex than would otherwise be expected (July 2006 est.)

Age structure:

0-14 years: 38.3% (male 319,531/female 309,074)
15-64 years: 57.9% (male 460,692/female 488,577)
65 years and over: 3.8% (male 23,374/female 38,585) (2006 est.)

Median age:

total: 19.4 years
male: 18.8 years
female: 20 years (2006 est.)

Population growth rate:

-0.04% (2006 est.)

Birth rate:

23.08 births/1,000 population (2006 est.)

Death rate:

29.5 deaths/1,000 population (2006 est.)

Net migration rate:

6.07 migrant(s)/1,000 population
note: there is an increasing flow of Zimbabweans into South Africa and Botswana in search of better economic opportunities (2006 est.)

Sex ratio:

at birth: 1.03 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.03 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.94 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.61 male(s)/female
total population: 0.96 male(s)/female (2006 est.)

Infant mortality rate:

total: 53.7 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 54.92 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 52.44 deaths/1,000 live births (2006 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:

total population: 33.74 years
male: 33.9 years
female: 33.56 years (2006 est.)

Total fertility rate:

2.79 children born/woman (2006 est.)

HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:

37.3% (2003 est.)

people living with HIV/AIDS:

350,000 (2003 est.)

HIV/AIDS - deaths:

33,000 (2003 est.)

Major infectious diseases:

degree of risk: high
food or waterborne diseases: bacterial diarrhea, hepatitis A, and typhoid fever
vectorborne disease: malaria (2005)


noun: Motswana (singular), Batswana (plural)
adjective: Motswana (singular), Batswana (plural)

Ethnic groups:

Tswana (or Setswana) 79%, Kalanga 11%, Basarwa 3%, other, including Kgalagadi and white 7%


Christian 71.6%, Badimo 6%, other 1.4%, unspecified 0.4%, none 20.6% (2001 census)


Setswana 78.2%, Kalanga 7.9%, Sekgalagadi 2.8%, English 2.1% (official), other 8.6%, unspecified 0.4% (2001 census)


definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 79.8%
male: 76.9%
female: 82.4% (2003 est.)

Country name:

conventional long form: Republic of Botswana
conventional short form: Botswana
former: Bechuanaland

Government type:

parliamentary republic



Administrative divisions:

9 districts and 5 town councils*; Central, Francistown*, Gaborone*, Ghanzi, Jwaneng*, Kgalagadi, Kgatleng, Kweneng, Lobatse*, Northeast, Northwest, Selebi-Pikwe*, Southeast, Southern


30 September 1966 (from UK)

National holiday:

Independence Day (Botswana Day), 30 September (1966)


March 1965, effective 30 September 1966

Legal system:

based on Roman-Dutch law and local customary law; judicial review limited to matters of interpretation; accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction, with reservations


18 years of age; universal

Legislative branch:

bicameral Parliament consists of the House of Chiefs (a largely advisory 15-member body with 8 permanent members consisting of the chiefs of the principal tribes, and 7 non-permanent members serving 5-year terms, consisting of 4 elected subchiefs and 3 members selected by the other 12 members) and the National Assembly (63 seats, 57 members are directly elected by popular vote, 4 are appointed by the majority party, and 2, the President and Attorney-General, serve as ex-officio members; members serve five-year terms)
elections: National Assembly elections last held 30 October 2004 (next to be held October 2009)
election results: percent of vote by party - BDP 51.7%, BNF 26.1%, BCP 16.6%, other 5%; seats by party - BDP 44, BNF 12, BCP 1

Judicial branch:

High Court; Court of Appeal; Magistrates' Courts (one in each district)

Economy - overview:

Botswana has maintained one of the world's highest economic growth rates since independence in 1966. Through fiscal discipline and sound management, Botswana has transformed itself from one of the poorest countries in the world to a middle-income country with a per capita GDP of $10,000 in 2005. Two major investment services rank Botswana as the best credit risk in Africa. Diamond mining has fueled much of the expansion and currently accounts for more than one-third of GDP and for 70-80% of export earnings. Tourism, financial services, subsistence farming, and cattle raising are other key sectors. On the downside, the government must deal with high rates of unemployment and poverty. Unemployment officially is 23.8%, but unofficial estimates place it closer to 40%. HIV/AIDS infection rates are the second highest in the world and threaten Botswana's impressive economic gains. An expected leveling off in diamond mining production overshadows long-term prospects.

GDP (purchasing power parity):

$16.48 billion (2005 est.)

GDP (official exchange rate):

$9.255 billion (2005 est.)

GDP - real growth rate:

3.3% (2005 est.)

GDP - per capita (PPP):

$10,000 (2005 est.)

GDP - composition by sector:

agriculture: 2.4%
industry: 46.9% (including 36% mining)
services: 50.7% (2003 est.)

Labor force:

288,400 formal sector employees (2004)

Unemployment rate:

23.8% (2004)

Population below poverty line:

30.3% (2003)

Distribution of family income - Gini index:

63 (1993)

Inflation rate (consumer prices):

8.3% (2005 est.)

Investment (gross fixed):

23.6% of GDP (2005 est.)


revenues: $3.766 billion
expenditures: $3.767 billion; including capital expenditures of $NA (2005 est.)

Public debt:

7.3% of GDP (2005 est.)

Agriculture - products:

livestock, sorghum, maize, millet, beans, sunflowers, groundnuts


diamonds, copper, nickel, salt, soda ash, potash; livestock processing; textiles

Industrial production growth rate:

3.4% (2005 est.)

Electricity - production:

891 million kWh (2004)

Electricity - consumption:

2.641 billion kWh (2004)

Electricity - imports:

1.39 billion kWh (2002)

Oil - consumption:

12,000 bbl/day (2003 est.)

Oil - imports:

16,000 bbl/day (2001)

Current account balance:

$562 million (2005 est.)


$3.68 billion f.o.b. (2005 est.)

Exports - commodities:

diamonds, copper, nickel, soda ash, meat, textiles

Exports - partners:

European Free Trade Association (EFTA) 87%, Southern African Customs Union (SACU) 7%, Zimbabwe 4% (2004)


$3.37 billion f.o.b. (2005 est.)

Imports - commodities:

foodstuffs, machinery, electrical goods, transport equipment, textiles, fuel and petroleum products, wood and paper products, metal and metal products

Imports - partners:

Southern African Customs Union (SACU) 74%, EFTA 17%, Zimbabwe 4% (2004)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold:

$6.12 billion (2005 est.)

Debt - external:

$556 million (2005 est.)

Economic aid - recipient:

$73 million (1995)

Currency (code):

pula (BWP)

Fiscal year:

1 April - 31 March

Telephones - main lines in use:

136,500 (2004)

Telephones - mobile cellular:

571,400 (2004)

Telephone system:

general assessment: the system is expanding with the growth of mobile cellular service and participation in regional development
domestic: small system of open-wire lines, microwave radio relay links, and a few radiotelephone communication stations; mobile cellular service is growing fast
international: country code - 267; two international exchanges; digital microwave radio relay links to Namibia, Zambia, Zimbabwe, and South Africa; satellite earth station - 1 Intelsat (Indian Ocean)

Radio broadcast stations:

AM 8, FM 13, shortwave 4 (2001)

Television broadcast stations:

1 (2001)

Internet country code:


Internet hosts:

1,621 (2005)

Internet users:

60,000 (2002)


85 (2005)

Airports - with paved runways:

total: 10
2,438 to 3,047 m: 2
1,524 to 2,437 m: 7
914 to 1,523 m: 1 (2005)

Airports - with unpaved runways:

total: 75
1,524 to 2,437 m: 3
914 to 1,523 m: 55
under 914 m: 17 (2005)


total: 888 km
narrow gauge: 888 km 1.067-m gauge (2004)


total: 25,233 km
paved: 8,867 km
unpaved: 16,366 km (2003)

Military branches:

Botswana Defense Force (includes an Air Wing)

Disputes - international:

commission established with Namibia has yet to resolve small residual disputes along the Caprivi Strip, including the Situngu marshlands along the Linyanti River; downstream Botswana residents protest Namibia's planned construction of the Okavango hydroelectric dam at Popavalle (Popa Falls); Botswana has built electric fences to stem the thousands of Zimbabweans who flee to find work and escape political persecution; Namibia has long supported and in 2004 Zimbabwe dropped objections to plans between Botswana and Zambia to build a bridge over the Zambezi River, thereby de facto recognizing their short, but not clearly delimited Botswana-Zambia boundary