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  Introduction Back To Top

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 Back To Top

Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural):
total: 0.19 cu km/yr (41%/18%/41%)
per capita: 107 cu m/yr (2000)

Total renewable water resources:
14.7 cu km (2001)

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

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

semiarid; warm winters and hot summers

Map references:

Geographic coordinates:
22 00 S, 24 00 E

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

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

predominantly flat to gently rolling tableland; Kalahari Desert in southwest

Geography - note:
landlocked; population concentrated in eastern part of the country

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

Southern Africa, north of South Africa

0 km (landlocked)

Area - comparative:
slightly smaller than Texas

Irrigated land:
10 sq km (2003)

Environment - current issues:
overgrazing; desertification; limited fresh water resources

Maritime claims:
none (landlocked)

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

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

  People Back To Top

Total fertility rate:
2.66 children born/woman (2008 est.)

Sex ratio:
at birth: 1.03 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.03 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.02 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.68 male(s)/female
total population: 1.01 male(s)/female (2008 est.)

HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
37.3% (2003 est.)

HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
350,000 (2003 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 50.16 years
male: 51.28 years
female: 49.02 years (2008 est.)

Major infectious diseases:
degree of risk: high
food or waterborne diseases: bacterial diarrhea, hepatitis A, and typhoid fever
vectorborne disease: malaria (2008)

definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 81.2%
male: 80.4%
female: 81.8% (2003 est.)

Net migration rate:
5.41 migrant(s)/1,000 population
note: there is an increasing flow of Zimbabweans into South Africa and Botswana in search of better economic opportunities (2008 est.)

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

Median age:
total: 21.2 years
male: 21 years
female: 21.4 years (2008 est.)

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 2008 est.)

Education expenditures:
8.7% of GDP (2007)

Population growth rate:
1.434% (2008 est.)

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

Death rate:
14.02 deaths/1,000 population (2008 est.)

Infant mortality rate:
total: 44.01 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 44.94 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 43.04 deaths/1,000 live births (2008 est.)

HIV/AIDS - deaths:
33,000 (2003 est.)

School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education):
total: 12 years
male: 12 years
female: 12 years (2005)

Age structure:
0-14 years: 35.2% (male 329,418/female 318,160)
15-64 years: 60.9% (male 566,239/female 556,286)
65 years and over: 3.9% (male 29,165/female 43,055) (2008 est.)

Birth rate:
22.96 births/1,000 population (2008 est.)

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

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

  Government Back To Top

Diplomatic representation from the US:
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

National holiday:
Independence Day (Botswana Day), 30 September (1966)

18 years of age; universal

Government type:
parliamentary republic

Political pressure groups and leaders:
First People of the Kalahari (Bushman organization); Pitso Ya Ba Tswana; Society for the Promotion of Ikalanga Language (Kalanga elites)
other: diamond mining companies

Diplomatic representation in the US:
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

International organization participation:

Legislative branch:
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 30 October 2004 (next to be held in 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

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

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

30 September 1966 (from UK)

Country name (Goverment):
conventional long form: Republic of Botswana
conventional short form: Botswana
local long form: Republic of Botswana
local short form: Botswana
former: Bechuanaland

Political parties and leaders:
Botswana Alliance Movement or BAM [Ephraim Lepetu SETSHWAELO]; Botswana Congress Party or BCP [Gilson SALESHANDO]; Botswana Democratic Party or BDP [Ian KHAMA]; 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]

name: Gaborone
geographic coordinates: 24 45 S, 25 55 E
time difference: UTC+2 (7 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)

March 1965, effective 30 September 1966

Executive branch:
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 in October 2009); vice president appointed by the president
election results: Festus G. MOGAE elected president; percent of National Assembly vote - 52%

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

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

  Economy Back To Top

Electricity - consumption:
2.574 billion kWh (2006 est.)

Central bank discount rate:
14.5% (31 December 2007)

Electricity - imports:
1.959 billion kWh (2007 est.)

Current account balance:
$1.611 billion (2008 est.)

Debt - external:
$395 million (31 December 2008 est.)

Unemployment rate:
7.5% (2007 est.)

Oil - exports:
0 bbl/day (2005)

GDP - per capita (PPP):
$15,800 (2008 est.)

Investment (gross fixed):
23.9% of GDP (2008 est.)

Stock of domestic credit:

GDP (purchasing power parity):
$29.17 billion (2008 est.)

GDP (official exchange rate):
$13.81 billion (2008 est.)

Distribution of family income - Gini index:
63 (1993)

Exchange rates:
pulas (BWP) per US dollar - 6.7907 (2008 est.), 6.2035 (2007), 5.8447 (2006), 5.1104 (2005), 4.6929 (2004)

GDP - real growth rate:
5.2% (2008 est.)

Stock of money:
$1.026 billion (31 December 2007)

Labor force:
288,400 formal sector employees (2004)

Inflation rate (consumer prices):
12.5% (2008 est.)

GDP - composition by sector:
agriculture: 1.6%
industry: 52.6% (including 36% mining)
services: 45.8% (2008 est.)

Oil - imports:
14,500 bbl/day (2005)

$5.127 billion f.o.b. (2008 est.)

Natural gas - consumption:
0 cu m (2007 est.)

Currency (code):
pula (BWP)

Economy - overview:
Botswana has maintained one of the world's highest economic growth rates since independence in 1966, though growth slowed to about 5% annually in 2006-08. 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 nearly $15,800 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.

Natural gas - exports:
0 cu m (2007 est.)

Imports - commodities:
foodstuffs, machinery, electrical goods, transport equipment, textiles, fuel and petroleum products, wood and paper products, metal and metal products

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

Electricity - exports:
0 kWh (2007 est.)

Population below poverty line:
30.3% (2003)

Commercial bank prime lending rate:
16.22% (31 December 2007)

Stock of quasi money:
$4.336 billion (31 December 2007)

Electricity - production:
979 million kWh (2006 est.)

$3.931 billion f.o.b. (2008 est.)

Oil - proved reserves:
0 bbl (1 January 2006 est.)

Labor force - by occupation:
agriculture: NA%
industry: NA%
services: NA%

Natural gas - proved reserves:
0 cu m (1 January 2006 est.)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold:
$10.28 billion (31 December 2008 est.)

Oil - consumption:
11,640 bbl/day (2006 est.)

Public debt:
5.1% of GDP (2008 est.)

Market value of publicly traded shares:
$5.887 billion (31 December 2007)

Currency code:

Household income or consumption by percentage share:
lowest 10%: NA%
highest 10%: NA%

Exports - commodities:
diamonds, copper, nickel, soda ash, meat, textiles

Economic aid - recipient:
$70.89 million (2005)

Electricity - production by source:
fossil fuel: 100%
hydro: 0%
nuclear: 0%
other: 0% (2001)

Natural gas - imports:
0 cu m (2007 est.)

Natural gas - production:
0 cu m (2007 est.)

revenues: $4.556 billion
expenditures: $4.127 billion (2008 est.)

Fiscal year:
1 April - 31 March

Oil - production:
0 bbl/day (2007 est.)

  Communications Back To Top

Internet users:
80,000 (2007)

Telephones - main lines in use:
136,900 (2006)

31,000 (1997)

Internet country code:

Radio broadcast stations:
AM 8, FM 13, shortwave 4 (2001)

252,720 (2000)

Telephones - mobile cellular:
1.427 million (2007)

Television broadcast stations:
2 (1 state-owned, 1 private)

Telephone system:
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) (2007)

Internet Service Providers (ISPs):
11 (2001)

Internet hosts:
6,374 (2008)

  Transportation Back To Top

total: 888 km
narrow gauge: 888 km 1.067-m gauge (2006)

Airports - with paved runways:
total: 11
2,438 to 3,047 m: 2
1,524 to 2,437 m: 7
914 to 1,523 m: 2 (2007)

total: 25,798 km
paved: 8,410 km
unpaved: 17,388 km (2005)

Airports - with unpaved runways:
total: 74
1,524 to 2,437 m: 3
914 to 1,523 m: 54
under 914 m: 17 (2007)

85 (2007)

  Military Back To Top

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

Manpower available for military service:
males age 16-49: 487,853
females age 16-49: 464,278 (2008 est.)

Manpower fit for military service:
males age 16-49: 290,093
females age 16-49: 257,700 (2008 est.)

Military branches:
Botswana Defense Force: Ground Forces (includes Air Wing) (2008)

Manpower reaching militarily significant age annually:
male: 23,007
female: 22,551 (2008 est.)

Military expenditures:
3.3% of GDP (2006)

  Transnational Issues Back To Top

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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