Africa :: Botswana
page last updated on October 28, 2009
Flag of Botswana
Location of Botswana
 
Map of Botswana
Introduction ::Botswana
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.
Geography ::Botswana
Southern Africa, north of South Africa
22 00 S, 24 00 E
total: 581,730 sq km
country comparison to the world: 47
land: 566,730 sq km
water: 15,000 sq km
slightly smaller than Texas
total: 4,013 km
border countries: Namibia 1,360 km, South Africa 1,840 km, Zimbabwe 813 km
0 km (landlocked)
none (landlocked)
semiarid; warm winters and hot summers
predominantly flat to gently rolling tableland; Kalahari Desert in southwest
lowest point: junction of the Limpopo and Shashe Rivers 513 m
highest point: Tsodilo Hills 1,489 m
diamonds, copper, nickel, salt, soda ash, potash, coal, iron ore, silver
arable land: 0.65%
permanent crops: 0.01%
other: 99.34% (2005)
10 sq km (2003)
14.7 cu km (2001)
total: 0.19 cu km/yr (41%/18%/41%)
per capita: 107 cu m/yr (2000)
periodic droughts; seasonal August winds blow from the west, carrying sand and dust across the country, which can obscure visibility
overgrazing; desertification; limited fresh water resources
party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection, Wetlands
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
landlocked; population concentrated in eastern part of the country
People ::Botswana
1,990,876
country comparison to the world: 146
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 2009 est.)
0-14 years: 34.8% (male 352,399/female 340,058)
15-64 years: 61.4% (male 613,714/female 608,003)
65 years and over: 3.9% (male 31,155/female 45,547) (2009 est.)
total: 21.7 years
male: 21.5 years
female: 21.9 years (2009 est.)
1.937% (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 64
22.89 births/1,000 population (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 81
8.52 deaths/1,000 population (July 2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 93
5 migrant(s)/1,000 population
country comparison to the world: 21
note: there is an increasing flow of Zimbabweans into South Africa and Botswana in search of better economic opportunities (2009 est.)
urban population: 60% of total population (2008)
rate of urbanization: 2.5% annual rate of change (2005-10 est.)
at birth: 1.03 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.01 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.68 male(s)/female
total population: 1 male(s)/female (2009 est.)
total: 12.59 deaths/1,000 live births
country comparison to the world: 141
male: 13.43 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 11.73 deaths/1,000 live births (2009 est.)
total population: 61.85 years
country comparison to the world: 178
male: 61.72 years
female: 61.99 years (2009 est.)
2.6 children born/woman (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 89
23.9% (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 2
300,000 (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 23
11,000 (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 28
degree of risk: high
food or waterborne diseases: bacterial diarrhea, hepatitis A, and typhoid fever
vectorborne disease: malaria (2009)
noun: Motswana (singular), Batswana (plural)
adjective: Motswana (singular), Batswana (plural)
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: 81.2%
male: 80.4%
female: 81.8% (2003 est.)
total: 12 years
male: 12 years
female: 12 years (2005)
8.7% of GDP (2007)
country comparison to the world: 10
Government ::Botswana
conventional long form: Republic of Botswana
conventional short form: Botswana
local long form: Republic of Botswana
local short form: Botswana
former: Bechuanaland
parliamentary republic
name: Gaborone
geographic coordinates: 24 45 S, 25 55 E
time difference: UTC+2 (7 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
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 the UK)
Independence Day (Botswana Day), 30 September (1966)
March 1965; effective 30 September 1966
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
chief of state: President Seretse Khama Ian KHAMA (since 1 April 2008); Vice President Mompati MERAFHE (since 1 April 2008); note - the president is both the chief of state and head of government
head of government: President Seretse Khama Ian KHAMA (since 1 April 2008); Vice President Mompati MERAFHE (since 1 April 2008)
cabinet: Cabinet appointed by the president
elections: president indirectly elected for a five-year term (eligible for a second term); election last held 20 October 2004 (next to be held on 9 October 2009); vice president appointed by the president
election results: Festus G. MOGAE elected president; percent of National Assembly vote - 52%: note - MOGAE stepped down on 1 April 2008 and designated KHAMA to serve out the remainder of his term
bicameral Parliament consists of the House of Chiefs (a largely advisory 15-member body with 8 ex-officio 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 16 October 2009 (next to be held in 2014)
election results: percent of vote by party - BDP 53.3%, BNF 21.9%, BCP 19.2%, 2.3%, other 4.3%; seats by party - BDP 45, BNF 6, BCP 4, BAM 1, other 1
High Court; Court of Appeal; Magistrates' Courts (one in each district)
Botswana Alliance Movement or BAM [Ephraim Lepetu SETSHWAELO]; Botswana Congress Party or BCP [Gilson SALESHANDO]; Botswana Democratic Party or BDP [Daniel KWELAGOBE]; Botswana National Front or BNF [Otswoletse MOUPO]; Botswana Peoples Party or BPP [Bernard BALIKANI]; MELS Movement of Botswana or MELS [Themba JOINA]; New Democratic Front or NDF [Dick BAYFORD]
note: a number of minor parties joined forces in 1999 to form the BAM but did not capture any parliamentary seats - includes the United Action Party [Ephraim Lepetu SETSHWAELO]; the Independence Freedom Party or IFP [Motsamai MPHO]; the Botswana Progressive Union [D. K. KWELE]
First People of the Kalahari (Bushman organization); Pitso Ya Ba Tswana; Society for the Promotion of Ikalanga Language (Kalanga elites)
other: diamond mining companies
ACP, AfDB, AU, C, FAO, G-77, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICCt, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, Interpol, IOC, IPU, ISO, ITSO, ITU, ITUC, MIGA, NAM, OPCW, SACU, SADC, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UNMIS, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO
chief of mission: Ambassador Lapologang Caesar LEKOA
chancery: 1531-1533 New Hampshire Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20036
telephone: [1] (202) 244-4990
FAX: [1] (202) 244-4164
chief of mission: Ambassador Stephen J. NOLAN
embassy: Embassy Enclave (off Khama Crescent), Gaborone
mailing address: Embassy Enclave, P. O. Box 90, Gaborone
telephone: [267] 395-3982
FAX: [267] 395-6947
light blue with a horizontal white-edged black stripe in the center
Economy ::Botswana
Botswana has maintained one of the world's highest economic growth rates since independence in 1966, though growth fell below 5% in 2007-08. 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 $13,300 in 2008. 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 was 23.8% in 2004, 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.
$27.06 billion (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 111
$26.28 billion (2007 est.)
$25.17 billion (2006 est.)
note: data are in 2008 US dollars
$13.46 billion (2008 est.)
2.9% (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 132
4.4% (2007 est.)
5.1% (2006 est.)
$13,900 (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 83
$13,700 (2007 est.)
$13,400 (2006 est.)
note: data are in 2008 US dollars
agriculture: 1.6%
industry: 52.6% (including 36% mining)
services: 45.8% (2008 est.)
685,300 formal sector employees (2007)
country comparison to the world: 146
agriculture: NA%
industry: NA%
services: NA%
7.5% (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 97
30.3% (2003)
lowest 10%: NA%
highest 10%: NA%
63 (1993)
country comparison to the world: 4
23.4% of GDP (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 62
revenues: $4.326 billion
expenditures: $4.808 billion (2008 est.)
5.9% of GDP (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 119
8.6% of GDP (2004 est.)
12.6% (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 175
7.1% (2007 est.)
NA% (31 December 2008)
country comparison to the world: 17
14.5% (31 December 2007)
NA% (31 December 2008)
country comparison to the world: 34
16.22% (31 December 2007)
$NA (31 December 2008)
country comparison to the world: 120
$1.026 billion (31 December 2007)
$NA (31 December 2008)
country comparison to the world: 85
$4.336 billion (31 December 2007)
$NA (31 December 2008)
$NA (31 December 2007)
$3.556 billion (31 December 2008)
country comparison to the world: 82
$5.887 billion (31 December 2007)
$3.947 billion (31 December 2006)
livestock, sorghum, maize, millet, beans, sunflowers, groundnuts
diamonds, copper, nickel, salt, soda ash, potash; livestock processing; textiles
-2.4% (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 158
1.052 billion kWh (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 144
2.648 billion kWh (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 130
0 kWh (2008 est.)
2.181 billion kWh (2008 est.)
0 bbl/day (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 116
15,000 bbl/day (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 134
0 bbl/day (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 207
15,180 bbl/day (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 124
0 bbl (1 January 2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 101
0 cu m (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 94
0 cu m (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 208
0 cu m (2008)
country comparison to the world: 46
0 cu m (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 71
0 cu m (1 January 2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 105
$938.3 million (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 48
$2.434 billion (2007 est.)
$4.904 billion (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 110
$5.158 billion (2007 est.)
diamonds, copper, nickel, soda ash, meat, textiles
$4.463 billion (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 122
$3.447 billion (2007 est.)
foodstuffs, machinery, electrical goods, transport equipment, textiles, fuel and petroleum products, wood and paper products, metal and metal products
$9.119 billion (31 December 2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 68
$9.79 billion (31 December 2007 est.)
$422 million (31 December 2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 168
$408 million (31 December 2007 est.)
pulas (BWP) per US dollar - 6.7907 (2008 est.), 6.2035 (2007), 5.8447 (2006), 5.1104 (2005), 4.6929 (2004)
Communications ::Botswana
142,300 (2008)
country comparison to the world: 135
1.486 million (2008)
country comparison to the world: 133
general assessment: the system is expanding with the growth of mobile-cellular service and participation in regional development; system is fully digital with fiber-optic cables linking the major population centers in the east; fixed-line connections declined in recent years and now stand at roughly 8 per 100 persons; mobile-cellular telephone density currently is about 80 per 100 persons
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; international calls are made via satellite, using international direct dialing; 2 international exchanges; digital microwave radio relay links to Namibia, Zambia, Zimbabwe, and South Africa; satellite earth station - 1 Intelsat (Indian Ocean) (2008)
AM 8, FM 13, shortwave 4 (2001)
2 (1 state-owned, 1 private)
.bw
7,341 (2009)
country comparison to the world: 128
120,000 (2008)
country comparison to the world: 146
Transportation ::Botswana
77 (2009)
country comparison to the world: 71
total: 9
2,438 to 3,047 m: 2
1,524 to 2,437 m: 6
914 to 1,523 m: 1 (2009)
total: 68
1,524 to 2,437 m: 4
914 to 1,523 m: 54
under 914 m: 10 (2009)
total: 888 km
country comparison to the world: 97
narrow gauge: 888 km 1.067-m gauge (2008)
total: 25,798 km
country comparison to the world: 103
paved: 8,410 km
unpaved: 17,388 km (2005)
Military ::Botswana
Botswana Defense Force: Ground Forces (includes Air Arm) (2009)
18 is the apparent age of voluntary military service; the official qualifications for determining minimum age are unknown (2001)
males age 16-49: 487,853
females age 16-49: 464,278 (2008 est.)
males age 16-49: 341,190
females age 16-49: 315,588 (2009 est.)
male: 23,420
female: 22,904 (2009 est.)
3.3% of GDP (2006)
country comparison to the world: 42
Transnational Issues ::Botswana
Botswana still struggles to seal its border from thousands of Zimbabweans who flee economic collapse and 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 at Kazungula crossing, thereby de facto recognizing the short, but not clearly delimited, Botswana-Zambia boundary