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Map of Botswana
Introduction Botswana
Formerly the British protectorate of Bechuanaland, Botswana adopted its new name upon independence in 1966. The economy, one of the most robust on the continent, is dominated by diamond mining.
Geography Botswana
Southern Africa, north of South Africa
Geographic coordinates:
22 00 S, 24 00 E
Map references:
total: 600,370 sq km
water: 15,000 sq km
land: 585,370 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: 0.61%
permanent crops: 0.01%
other: 99.38% (1998 est.)
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, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Nuclear Test Ban, 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 2002 est.)
Age structure:
0-14 years: 40% (male 319,988; female 316,961)
15-64 years: 55.8% (male 428,638; female 458,777)
65 years and over: 4.2% (male 26,965; female 39,903) (2002 est.)
Population growth rate:
0.18% (2002 est.)
Birth rate:
28.04 births/1,000 population (2002 est.)
Death rate:
26.26 deaths/1,000 population (2002 est.)
Net migration rate:
0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2002 est.)
Sex ratio:
at birth: 1.03 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.01 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.93 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.68 male(s)/female
total population: 0.95 male(s)/female (2002 est.)
Infant mortality rate:
64.72 deaths/1,000 live births (2002 est.)
Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 35.29 years
female: 35.43 years (2002 est.)
male: 35.15 years
Total fertility rate:
3.6 children born/woman (2002 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
35.8% (1999 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
290,000 (1999 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deaths:
24,000 (1999 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: 69.8%
male: 80.5%
female: 59.9% (1995 est.)
Government Botswana
Country name:
conventional long form: Republic of Botswana
conventional short form: Botswana
former: Bechuanaland
Government type:
parliamentary republic
Administrative divisions:
10 districts and four town councils*; Central, Chobe, Francistown*, Gaborone*, Ghanzi, Kgalagadi, Kgatleng, Kweneng, Lobatse*, Ngamiland, North-East, Selebi-Pikwe*, South-East, 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 16 October 1999 (next to be held NA October 2004)
election results: percent of vote by party - BDP 54.3%, BNF 24.7%, other 21%; seats by party - BDP 33, BNF 6, other 1
Judicial branch:
High Court; Court of Appeal; Magistrates' Courts (one in each district)
Political parties and leaders:
Botswana Democratic Party or BDP [Festus MOGAE]; Botswana National Front or BNF [Otswoletse MOUPO]; Botswana Congress Party or BCP [Mokgweetsi KGOSIPULA]; Botswana Alliance Movement or BAM [Ephraim Lepetu SETSHWAELO]
note: a number of minor parties joined forces in 1999 to form the BAM but did not capture any parliamentary seats; the BAM parties are: the United Action Party [Ephraim Lepetu SETSHWAELO], the Independence Freedom Party or IFP [Motsamai MPHO], and the Botswana Progressive Union [D. K. KWELE]
Political pressure groups and leaders:
International organization participation:
Diplomatic representation in the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Kgosi SEEPAPITSO IV
chancery: 1531-1533 New Hampshire Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20036
FAX: [1] (202) 244-4164
telephone: [1] (202) 244-4990
Diplomatic representation from the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Joseph HUGGING
embassy: address NA, Gaborone
mailing address: Embassy Enclave, P. O. Box 90, Gaborone
telephone: [267] 353982
FAX: [267] 312782
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 $7,800 in 2001. Two major investment services rank Botswana as the best credit risk in Africa. Diamond mining has fueled much of expansion and currently accounts for more than one-third of GDP and for four-fifths 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.
purchasing power parity - $12.4 billion (2001 est.)
GDP - real growth rate:
4.7% (2001 est.)
GDP - per capita:
purchasing power parity - $7,800 (2001 est.)
GDP - composition by sector:
agriculture: 4%
industry: 44% (including 36% mining)
services: 52% (2000 est.)
Population below poverty line:
47% (2000 est.)
Household income or consumption by percentage share:
lowest 10%: NA%
highest 10%: NA%
Inflation rate (consumer prices):
6.6% (2001 est.)
Labor force:
264,000 formal sector employees (2000)
Labor force - by occupation:
Unemployment rate:
40% (official rate is 21%) (2001 est.)
revenues: $2.3 billion
expenditures: $2.4 billion, including capital expenditures of $NA (FY01/02 )
diamonds, copper, nickel, salt, soda ash, potash; livestock processing; textiles
Industrial production growth rate:
2.4% (2001 est.)
Electricity - production:
500 million kWh (2000)
Electricity - production by source:
fossil fuel: 100%
hydro: 0%
other: 0% (2000)
nuclear: 0%
Electricity - consumption:
1.451 billion kWh (2000)
Electricity - exports:
0 kWh (2000)
Electricity - imports:
986 million kWh (2000)
Agriculture - products:
livestock, sorghum, maize, millet, beans, sunflowers, groundnuts
$2.5 billion f.o.b. (2001 est.)
Exports - commodities:
diamonds 80%, copper, nickel, soda ash, meat, textiles (2001)
Exports - partners:
EFTA 85%, Southern African Customs Union (SACU) 10%, Zimbabwe 2% (1999)
$2.1 billion f.o.b. (2001 est.)
Imports - commodities:
foodstuffs, machinery, electrical goods, transport equipment, textiles, fuel and petroleum products, wood and paper products, metal and metal products (2000)
Imports - partners:
Southern African Customs Union (SACU) 77%, EFTA 9%, Zimbabwe 4% (1999)
Debt - external:
$325 million (2001)
Economic aid - recipient:
$73 million (1995) (1995)
pula (BWP)
Currency code:
Exchange rates:
pulas per US dollar - 6.8353 (January 2002), 5.8412 (2001), 5.1018 (2000), 4.6244 (1999), 4.2259 (1998), 3.6508 (1997)
Fiscal year:
1 April - 31 March
Communications Botswana
Telephones - main lines in use:
131,000 (September 2001)
Telephones - mobile cellular:
270,000 (September 2001)
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: 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)
252,720 (2000)
Television broadcast stations:
1 (2001)
31,000 (1997)
Internet country code:
Internet Service Providers (ISPs):
11 (2001)
Internet users:
33,000 (2001)
Transportation Botswana
total: 888 km
narrow gauge: 888 km 1.067-m gauge (2000 est.)
total: 10,217 km
paved: 5,620 km
unpaved: 4,597 km (1999)
Ports and harbors:
92 (2001)
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 (2002)
Airports - with unpaved runways:
total: 76
1,524 to 2,437 m: 3
914 to 1,523 m: 55
under 914 m: 18 (2002)
Military Botswana
Military branches:
Botswana Defense Force (including Army and Air Wing), Botswana National Police
Military manpower - military age:
18 years of age (2002 est.)
Military manpower - availability:
males age 15-49: 384,888 (2002 est.)
Military manpower - fit for military service:
males age 15-49: 202,685 (2002 est.)
Military manpower - reaching military age annually:
males: 19,479 (2002 est.)
Military expenditures - dollar figure:
$135 million (FY01/02)
Military expenditures - percent of GDP:
3.5% (FY01/02)
Transnational Issues Botswana
Disputes - international:

This page was last updated on 19 March 2003