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
Geographic coordinates:

22 00 S, 24 00 E
Map references:
total: 600,370 sq km
land: 585,370 sq km
water: 15,000 sq km
Area - comparative:

slightly smaller than Texas
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% (2001)
Irrigated land:
10 sq km (1998 est.)
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
Environment - international agreements:
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
Geography - note:
landlocked; population concentrated in eastern part of the country
   People    Botswana

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 2004 est.)
Age structure:

0-14 years: 39.2% (male 310,282; female 302,452)
15-64 years: 56.2% (male 424,613; female 452,801)
65 years and over: 4.6% (male 30,896; female 40,929) (2004 est.)
Median age:

total: 19.2 years
male: 18.5 years
female: 19.9 years (2004 est.)
Population growth rate:

-0.89% (2004 est.)
Birth rate:

24.71 births/1,000 population (2004 est.)
Death rate:

33.63 deaths/1,000 population (2004 est.)
Net migration rate:

0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2004 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: 0.76 male(s)/female
total population: 0.96 male(s)/female (2004 est.)
Infant mortality rate:

total: 69.98 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 70.96 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 68.96 deaths/1,000 live births (2004 est.)
Life expectancy at birth:

total population: 30.76 years
male: 30.99 years
female: 30.53 years (2004 est.)
Total fertility rate:
3.17 children born/woman (2004 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:

37.3% (2003 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:

350,000 (2003 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deaths:

33,000 (2003 est.)

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%

indigenous beliefs 85%, Christian 15%

English (official), Setswana

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

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

parliamentary republic

Administrative divisions:

9 districts and four town councils*; Central, Francistown*, Gaborone*, Ghanzi, Kgalagadi, Kgatleng, Kweneng, Lobatse*, Northwest, Northeast, 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; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction

18 years of age; universal
Executive branch:

chief of state: President Festus MOGAE (since 1 April 1998) and Vice President Seretse Ian KHAMA (since 13 July 1998); note - the president is both the chief of state and head of government
head of government: President Festus MOGAE (since 1 April 1998) and Vice President Seretse Ian KHAMA (since 13 July 1998); note - the president is both the chief of state and head of government
cabinet: Cabinet appointed by the president
elections: president elected by the National Assembly for a five-year term; election last held 16 October 1999 (next to be held NA October 2004); vice president appointed by the president
election results: Festus MOGAE elected president; percent of National Assembly vote - 54.3%
Legislative branch:

bicameral Parliament consists of the House of Chiefs (a largely advisory 15-member body consisting of the chiefs of the eight principal tribes, four elected subchiefs, and three members selected by the other 12 members) and the National Assembly (44 seats, 40 members are directly elected by popular vote and 4 are appointed by the majority party; members serve five-year terms)
elections: National Assembly elections last held 30 October 2004 (next to be held NA October 2009)
election results: percent of vote by party - NA%; seats by party - BDP 44, BNF 12, BCP 1
Judicial branch:

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

light blue with a horizontal white-edged black stripe in the center
   Economy    Botswana
Economy - overview:

Botswana has maintained one of the world's highest 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 $8,800 in 2003. 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 nine-tenths of export earnings. Tourism, 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 21%, but unofficial estimates place it closer to 40%. HIV/AIDS infection rates are the highest in the world and threaten Botswana's impressive economic gains. Long-term prospects are overshadowed by the expected leveling off in diamond mining production.

purchasing power parity - $14.2 billion (2004 est.)
GDP - real growth rate:

7.2% (2004 est.)
GDP - per capita:

purchasing power parity - $9,000 (2004 est.)
GDP - composition by sector:

agriculture: 4%
industry: 48.7% (including 36% mining)
services: 52% (2003 est.)
Investment (gross fixed):

23.9% of GDP (2004 est.)
Population below poverty line:

47% (2002 est.)
Household income or consumption by percentage share:

lowest 10%: NA
highest 10%: NA
Inflation rate (consumer prices):

9.2% (2004 est.)
Labor force:

264,000 formal sector employees (2000)
Labor force - by occupation:

Unemployment rate:

40% (official rate is 21%) (2001 est.)

revenues: $3.263 billion
expenditures: $3.283 billion, including capital expenditures of NA (2004 est.)
Public debt:

7% of GDP (2004 est.)
Agriculture - products:

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

diamonds, copper, nickel, salt, soda ash, potash; livestock processing; textiles
Industrial production growth rate:

7.3% (2004 est.)
Electricity - production:

409.8 million kWh (2001)
Electricity - consumption:

1.564 billion kWh (2001)
Electricity - exports:

0 kWh (2001)
Electricity - imports:

1.183 billion kWh (2001)
Oil - production:

0 bbl/day (2001 est.)
Oil - consumption:

16,000 bbl/day (2001 est.)
Oil - exports:

NA (2001)
Oil - imports:

NA (2001)
Current account balance:

$539 million (2004 est.)

$2.544 billion f.o.b. (2004 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% (2000)

$1.753 billion f.o.b. (2003 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% (2000)
Reserves of foreign exchange & gold:

$5.25 billion (2004 est.)
Debt - external:

$392 million (2004 est.)
Economic aid - recipient:

$73 million (1995)

pula (BWP)
Currency code:

Exchange rates:

pulas per US dollar - 4.9499 (2003), 6.3278 (2002), 5.8412 (2001), 5.1018 (2000), 4.6244 (1999)
Fiscal year:

1 April - 31 March
   Communications    Botswana
Telephones - main lines in use:

142,400 (2002)
Telephones - mobile cellular:

435,000 (2002)
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:

1,920 (2003)
Internet users:

60,000 (2002)
   Transportation    Botswana

total: 888 km
narrow gauge: 888 km 1.067-m gauge (2003)

total: 10,217 km
paved: 5,619 km
unpaved: 4,598 km (1999)
Ports and harbors:


85 (2003 est.)
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 (2004 est.)
Airports - with unpaved runways:

total: 75
1,524 to 2,437 m: 3
914 to 1,523 m: 54
under 914 m: 18 (2004 est.)
   Military    Botswana
Military branches:

Botswana Defense Force (including an Air Wing)
Military manpower - military age and obligation:

18 is the apparent age of voluntary military service; the official qualifications for determining minimum age are unknown (2001)
Military manpower - availability:

males age 15-49: 381,801 (2004 est.)
Military manpower - fit for military service:

males age 15-49: 202,176 (2004 est.)
Military manpower - reaching military age annually:

males: 20,651 (2004 est.)
Military expenditures - dollar figure:

$298.9 million (2003)
Military expenditures - percent of GDP:

3.6% (2003)
   Transnational Issues    Botswana
Disputes - international:

established a commission with Namibia 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, Namibia, Zambia, and Zimbabwe boundary convergence is not clearly defined or delimited

This page was last updated on 16 December, 2004


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