Botswana Country Profile

All you need to know about Botswana

Botswana is a landlocked country located in Southern Africa. Also Formerly known by its British protectorate name Bechuanaland. It adopted its new name Botswana after becoming independent within the Commonwealth on 30 September 1966.

Since its independence botswana has maintained a strong tradition of stable representative democracy, with a consistent record of uninterrupted democratic elections.

Botswana is bordered by South Africa, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Zambia its formerly know as one of the poorest country in the world in the let 1960s. Botswana has since transformed itself into one of the fastest growing economies in the world.The economy is dominated by mining, cattle, and tourism.

Botswana is one of Africa’s most stable countries, is the continent’s longest continuous multi-party democracy. It is relatively free of corruption and has a good human rights record.

Sparsely populated, Botswana protects some of Africa’s largest areas of wilderness. Safari-based tourism – tightly-controlled and often upmarket – is an important source of income.

Botswana is the world’s largest producer of diamonds and the trade has transformed it into a middle-income nation.
The country has had its share of problems: It once had the world’s highest rate of HIV-Aids infection. UN figures for 2014 suggest that for adults aged 15 to 49 the prevalence rate is 25%.

The country has one of Africa’s most-advanced treatment programmes, however, and medicine for the virus is readily available.

Capital: Gaborone

President: Ian Khama

Population: 2.021 million (2013) World Bank

Currency: Botswana pula

Government: Parliamentary republic

Area: 581,730 sq km (224,607 sq miles)

Major languages: English (official), Setswana

Major religions: Christianity, indigenous beliefs

Life expectancy: 54 years (men), 51 years (women)

Botswana has managed to maintain its momentum in the growth of its economy for the past 50 years. Botswana Pula is in the top 3 strong currencies with a stable economy. In this edition we are going to be looking into three southern African countries on how they have transport and maintained their growth.

President: Seretse Khama Ian Khama

Seretse Khama Ian Khama – the son of Sir Seretse Khama, Botswana’s first post-independence leader – took over as president in April 2008.

He was the chosen successor of Festus Mogae, who stepped down at the end of his second term, after a decade at the helm.Mr Ian Khama secured a five-year term in October 2009 after his governing Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) party swept to victory in a parliamentary election, and in August 2014 polls he gained a second term when his party gained the most seats.

Critics describe him as authoritarian while supporters say he is decisive and efficient. His no-nonsense approach has made him popular abroad as he has broken ranks with regional leaders’ timid approach to join international criticism of democratic abuses by Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe.

Born in the UK while his father was in exile, Mr Ian Khama is a graduate of Sandhurst officer training college in Britain and was the commander of the Botswana Defence Force (BDF) before becoming vice president in 1998.

Botswana has a long tradition of lively and unimpeded public debate, although opposition leaders have claimed that the government limits their ability to broadcast freely on the radio.

There is a “free and vigorous” press in cities and towns, says US-based NGO Freedom House.

Some key dates in Botswana’s history:

1867 – European gold prospectors arrive, mining begins. In 1885, British proclaim a protectorate called Bechuanaland.

1950 – Chief of the Ngwato, Seretse Khama, is deposed and exiled by the British.

1960 – Britain approves new constitution for Bechuanaland. Executive Council, Legislative Council and African Council are established. The following year, Seretse Khama is appointed to Executive Council and later founds the Bechuanaland Democratic Party (BDP), which is eventually renamed the Botswana Democratic Party. He becomes prime minister in 1965.

1966 – Bechuanaland is granted independence and becomes Republic of Botswana with Seretse Khama as president.

1967- Diamonds discovered at Orapa.

1999-2008 – Presidency of Festus Mogae – praised for diversifying Botswana’s economy to reduce its dependence on diamonds.

2004 – HIV infection rate falls to 37.5%; Botswana no longer has the world’s highest rate of infection.

2008 – Seretse Khama Ian Khama takes over as president.

2010 – Human rights group Survival International calls for a boycott of Botswanan diamonds, accusing the government of trying to force Basarwa bushmen away from their ancestral lands.

2014 – Gay rights group wins legal recognition.

State-run TV arrived with the launch of Botswana Television (BTV) in 2000. Satellite pay TV is available.

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The Okavango Delta in Botswana is a very large, swampy inland delta formed where the Okavango River

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