botswana flag 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 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.


Location: Southern Africa, north of South Africa
Geographic coordinates: 22 00 S, 24 00 E
Map references: Africa
Area: land: 585,370 sq km

water: 15,000 sq km

total: 600,370 sq km
Area - comparative: slightly smaller than Texas
Land boundaries: 4,013 km
Border countries: Namibia 1,360 km, South Africa 1,840 km, Zimbabwe 813 km
Coastline: 0 km (landlocked)
Climate: Semi-arid; warm winters and hot summers
Terrain: 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)
Total renewable water resources: 14.7 cu km (2001)
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




Population: 1,842,323
Nationality: Motswana (singular), Batswana (plural)
Ethnic groups: Tswana (or Setswana) 79%, Kalanga 11%, Basarwa 3%, other 7%
Religions: Christian 71.6%, Badimo 6%, other 1.4%, unspecified 0.4%, none 20.6% (2001 census)
Languages: Setswana 78.2%, Kalanga 7.9%, Sekgalagadi 2.8%, English 2.1% (official), other 9%
Literacy: total population: 81.2%




Country name:    
long form: Republic of Botswana 
short form: Botswana 
former: Bechuanaland
Government type:    
parliamentary republic
30 September 1966 (from UK)
National holiday:
Independence Day (Botswana Day), 30 September (1966)
Constitution: 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

Flag description: light blue with a horizontal white-edged black stripe in the center




Economy - overview: Botswana has maintained one of the world's highest economic growth rates since independence in 1966, though growth slowed to 4.7% annually in 2006-07. Botswana has transformed itself from one of the poorest countries in the world to a middle-income country. Diamond mining has fueled much of the expansion. Tourism, subsistence farming, and cattle raising are other key sectors.
Agriculture - products:
livestock, sorghum, maize, millet, beans, sunflowers, groundnuts
Industries: diamonds, copper, nickel, salt, soda ash, potash; livestock processing; textiles
Currency (code): pula (BWP)




Telephone system: 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 stand at roughly 8 per 100 persons; mobile-cellular telephone density currently is about 80 per 100 persons and is growing fast
international: country code - 267;
Internet country code:




Airports: 85 (2007)
Railways: total: 888 km
Roadways: total: 25,798 km

paved: 8,410 km

unpaved: 17,388 km
Ports and terminals: No ports Land Locked




Military branches:
Botswana Defense Force (includes an air wing) (2008)

Transnational Issues


Disputes - international: 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



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