|Native Name:||Lefatse la Botswana|
|Conventional Long Name:||Republic of Botswana|
|National Anthem:||Fatshe leno la rona|
This Land of Ours
|Official Languages:||English, Setswana (national)|
|Government Type:||Parliamentary republic|
|Leader Name1:||Ian Khama|
|Sovereignty Note:||from the United Kingdom|
|Established Date1:||30 September 1966|
|Area Magnitude:||1 E11|
|Area Sq Mi:||224,606|
|Population Estimate Rank:||147th|
|Population Estimate Year:||2006|
|Population Density Km2:||3.0|
|Population Density Sq Mi:||7.8|
|Population Density Rank:||231st|
|Gdp Ppp:||$27.752 billion|
|Gdp Ppp Rank:||74th|
|Gdp Ppp Year:||2008|
|Gdp Ppp Per Capita:||$17,947|
|Gdp Ppp Per Capita Rank:||29th|
|Gdp Nominal:||$13.806 billion|
|Gdp Nominal Year:||2008|
|Gdp Nominal Per Capita:||$8,928|
|Time Zone Dst:||not observed|
|Utc Offset Dst:||+2|
The Republic of Botswana (Tswana: Lefatshe la Botswana), is a landlocked country in Southern Africa. Citizens of Botswana are called "Batswana" (singular: Motswana), regardless of ethnicity. Formerly a British protectorate of Bechuanaland, Botswana adopted its new name after becoming independent within the Commonwealth on 30 September 1966. It is bordered by South Africa to the south and southeast, Namibia to the west, Zambia to the north, and Zimbabwe to the northeast.
The country is home to a relatively stable political system and a rapidly developing economy. Being closely tied with the economy of South Africa, the country's economy is one of the most successful in Africa, is dominated by the fast-growing service sector, world-renowned mining (especially diamonds) industry, tourism, and manufacturing.
See main article: History of Botswana. In the 19th century, hostilities broke out between the Tswana inhabitants of Botswana and Ndebele tribes who were migrating into the territory from the Kalahari Desert. Tensions also escalated with the Boer (European) settlers from the Transvaal. After appeals by the Batswana leaders Khama III, Bathoen and Sebele for assistance, the British Government on 31 March 1885 put "Bechuanaland" under its protection. The northern territory remained under direct administration as the Bechuanaland Protectorate and is today's Botswana, while the southern territory became part of the Cape Colony and is now part of the northwest province of South Africa; the majority of Setswana-speaking people today live in South Africa.
When the Union of South Africa was formed in 1910 out of the main British colonies in the region, the Bechuanaland Protectorate, Basutoland (now Lesotho), and Swaziland (the "High Commission Territories") were not included, but provision was made for their later incorporation. However, a vague undertaking was given to consult their inhabitants, and although successive South African governments sought to have the territories transferred, Britain kept delaying, and it never occurred. The election of the National Party government in 1948, which instituted apartheid, and South Africa's withdrawal from the Commonwealth in 1961, ended any prospect of incorporation of the territories into South Africa.
An expansion of British central authority and the evolution of tribal government resulted in the 1920 establishment of two advisory councils representing Africans and Europeans. Proclamations in 1934 regularized tribal rule and powers. A European-African advisory council was formed in 1951, and the 1961 constitution established a consultative legislative council.
In June 1964, Britain accepted proposals for democratic self-government in Botswana. The seat of government was moved in 1965 from Mafikeng in South Africa, to newly established Gaborone, which sits on its border. The 1965 constitution led to the first general elections and to independence on 30 September 1966. Seretse Khama, a leader in the independence movement and the legitimate claimant to the Ngwato chiefship, was elected as the first president, re-elected twice, and died in office in 1980. The presidency passed to the sitting vice president, Quett Masire, who was elected in his own right in 1984 and re-elected in 1989 and 1994. Masire retired from office in 1998. The presidency passed to the sitting vice president, Festus Mogae, who was elected in his own right in 1999 and re-elected in 2004. The presidency passed in 2008 to Ian Khama (son of the first president), who resigned his position as leader of the Botswana Defence Force to take up this civilian role.
See main article: Geography of Botswana.
At 231,788 mi² (600,370 km²), Botswana is the world's 45th-largest country (after Ukraine). It is comparable in size to Madagascar, and is slightly smaller than the U.S. state of Texas. It is predominantly flat, tending toward gently rolling tableland. Botswana is dominated by the Kalahari Desert, which covers up to 70% of its land surface. The Okavango Delta, the world's largest inland delta, is in the northwest. The Makgadikgadi Pan, a large salt pan, lies in the north. The Limpopo River Basin, the major landform of all of southern Africa, lies partly in Botswana, in the southwest of the country.
Botswana has diverse areas of wildlife habitat. In addition to the delta and desert areas, there are grasslands and savannas, the latter where Blue Wildebeest and many antelopes as well as other mammals and birds are found. Northern Botswana has one of the few remaining large populations of the endangered African Wild Dog.
See main article: Politics of Botswana. The politics of Botswana takes place in a framework of a representative democratic republic, whereby the President of Botswana is both head of state and head of government, and of a multi-party system. Executive power is exercised by the government. Legislative power is vested in both the government and the Parliament of Botswana. Since independence the party system has been dominated by the Botswana Democratic Party. The judiciary is independent of the executive and the legislature. According to Transparency International, Botswana is the least corrupt country in Africa, and ranks somewhat near Portugal and South Korea  .
See main article: Botswana Defence Force. At the time of independence Botswana had no armed forces. It was only after attacks from the Rhodesian and South African armies that the Botswana Defence Force (BDF) was formed in self-defence in 1977. The president is commander in chief and appoints a defence council. The BDF has approximately 12,000 members.
Following political changes in South Africa and the region, the BDF's missions have increasingly focused on combatting poaching, preparing for disasters, and foreign peacekeeping. The United States has been the largest single foreign contributor to the development of the BDF, and a large segment of its officer corps has received U.S. training. It is considered an apolitical and professional institution. The BDF is a capable and well-disciplined military force.
See main article: Economy of Botswana. Since independence, Botswana has had one of the fastest growth rates in per capita income in the world. Botswana has transformed itself from one of the poorest countries in the world to a middle-income country. By one estimate, it has the fourth highest gross national income at purchasing power parity in Africa, giving it a standard of living around that of Mexico and Turkey .
According to the International Monetary Fund, economic growth averaged over 9% per year from 1966 to 1999. The government has maintained a sound fiscal policy, despite consecutive budget deficits in 2002 and 2003, and a negligible level of foreign debt. It earned the highest sovereign credit rating in Africa and has stockpiled foreign exchange reserves (over $7 billion in 2005/2006) amounting to almost two and a half years of current imports. Botswana's impressive economic record has been built on the foundation of wisely using revenue generated from diamond mining to stimulate economic development through prudent fiscal policies and a cautious foreign policy. Debswana, the largest diamond mining company operating in Botswana, is 50% owned by the government and generates about half of all government revenues. In 2007, significant quantities of uranium were discovered, and mining is projected to begin by 2010. Several international mining corporations have established regional headquarters in Botswana, and prospected for diamonds, gold, uranium, copper, and even oil, many coming back with positive results.
However, economic development spending was cut by 10% in 2002-2003 as a result of recurring budget deficits and rising expenditure on healthcare services. Botswana has been hit very hard by the AIDS pandemic; in 2006 it was estimated that life expectancy at birth had dropped from 65 to 35 years. Approximately one in six Batswana has HIV, giving Botswana the second highest infection rate in the world after nearby Swaziland. The government recognizes that AIDS will affect the economy and is trying to combat the epidemic, including free anti-retroviral drug treatment and a nation-wide Prevention of Mother-to-Child Transmission program. The economic impact of AIDS is considerable.
The most popular sport in Botswana is football, while other popular sports include cricket, tennis, rugby union, softball, volleyball and athletics.  Botswana is an associate member of International Cricket Council.
Another popular game is the mind sport of Bridge. Bridge was first played in Botswana thirty years ago, but it was the 1980’s when the game really took off with many British expatriate school teachers teaching bridge in Botswana’s Secondary Schools. They were not qualified “bridge teachers”; simply enthusiasts who wanted to pass on their own passion to another and younger generation. The result was the foundation of the Botswana Bridge Federation (BBF) in 1988 and so the official organiser of tournaments for the pupils to play in. Since then bridge has continued to be popular in the country and is a fixture of many people’s lives, for example the BBF can currently boast over 800 members. At its peak there could be as many as 600 children playing bridge – something which is unique in Africa. This interest in bridge has developed even further in 2008 when the BBF invited the English Bridge Union to host a bridge teaching programme over a week in May 2008.
See main article: Culture of Botswana.
See main article: Tswana language. The official languages of Botswana are English and Setswana. In Setswana prefixes are more important than they are in many other languages. Some of those prefixes are "Bo" which refers to the country, "Ba" which refers to the people, "Mo" which is one person, "Se" which is the language. For example, the main tribe of Botswana is the Tswana people, hence the name Botswana for its country. The people as a whole are Batswana, one person is a Motswana, and the language they speak is Setswana. Lesotho, located in the middle of South Africa, is considered a sister country. It was inhabited by a cousin tribe called the Sotho, who speak a similar language. That language is called Sesotho and can be understood by anyone speaking Setswana.
See main article: Music of Botswana.
In the northern part of Botswana, women in the villages of Etsha and Gumare are noted for their skill at crafting baskets from Mokola Palm and local dyes. The baskets are generally woven into three types: large, lidded baskets used for storage, large, open baskets for carrying objects on the head or for winnowing threshed grain, and smaller plates for winnowing pounded grain. The artistry of these baskets is being steadily enhanced through color use and improved designs as they are increasingly produced for commercial use.
Other notable artistic communities include Thamaga Pottery and Oodi Weavers, both located in the southeastern part of Botswana.
The oldest paintings from both Botswana and South Africa depict hunting, animal and human figures, and were made by the Khoisan (!Kung San/Bushmen) over twenty thousand years ago within the Kalahari desert.
In addition to these more traditional arts there are a number of extremely talented artists who use modern means to express themselves. There are a few galleries around Botswana that display paintings and sculptures. Some pieces are inspired by the beautiful Botswana landscapes and others by the people themselves.
|Date||English name||Local name|
|1 January||New Year's Day||Ngwaga o mosha|
|2 January||Public Holiday|
|varies||Good Friday||Labotlhano yo o molemo|
|1 July||Sir Seretse Khama Day|
|19 July||President's Day|
|20 July||Public Holiday|
|30 September||Independence Day||Boipuso|
|26 December/27 December||Boxing Day|
|The first Monday after Christmas is also a Public Holiday.|
See main article: Education in Botswana. Botswana has made great strides in educational development since independence in 1966. At that time there were very few graduates in the country and only a very small percentage of the population attended secondary school.
With the discovery of diamonds and the increase in government revenue that this brought, there was a huge increase in educational provision in the country. All students were guaranteed ten years of basic education, leading to a Junior Certificate qualification. Approximately half of the school population attends a further two years of secondary schooling leading to the award of the Botswana General Certificate of Secondary Education (BGCSE). After leaving school, students can attend one of the six technical colleges in the country, or take vocational training courses in teaching or nursing. The best students enter the University of Botswana in Gaborone, a modern, well-resourced campus with a student population of over ten thousand.
The quantitative gains have not always been matched by qualitative ones. Primary schools in particular still lack resources, and the teachers are less well paid than their secondary school colleagues. The Government of Botswana hopes that by investing a large part of national income in education, the country will become less dependent on diamonds for its economic survival, and less dependent on expatriates for its skilled workers.
In January 2006, Botswana announced the reintroduction of school fees after two decades of free state education though the government still provides full scholarships with living expenses to any Botswana citizen in university, either at the University of Botswana or if the student wishes to pursue an education in any field not offered locally, such as medicine, they are provided with a full scholarship to study abroad.
See main article: Demographics of Botswana. Botswana's main ethnic groups are (in order) Tswana, Kalanga, Bushmen or AbaThwa also known as basarwa, Others. Other groups of ethnicities in Botswana include whites and Indians both groups being equally small in number. Botswana's Indian population is made up of many Indian-Africans of several generations, from Mozambique, Kenya, Tanzania, Mauritius, South Africa, etc. as well as first generation Indian immigrants. The white population being native Botswana or from other parts of Africa including Zimbabwe and South Africa. The white population speaks either English or Afrikaans and makes up roughly 3% of the population.
The rate of HIV/AIDS infection in Botswana was 24% for adults in 2006. In 2003, the government began a comprehensive program involving free or cheap generic anti-retroviral drugs as well as an information campaign designed to stop the spread of the virus.
See main article: Religion in Botswana.
An estimated 70 percent of the country's citizens identify themselves as Christians. Anglicans, Methodists, and the United Congregational Church of Southern Africa make up the majority of Christians. There are also congregations of Lutherans, Roman Catholics, Seventh-day Adventists, Baptists, the Dutch Reformed Church, Mennonites, and other Christian denominations. Mormons and Jehovah's Witnesses are also present. According to the 2001 census, the country's Muslim community, primarily of South Asian origin, numbers slightly more than 5,000. The 2001 census also lists approximately 3,000 Hindus and 700 Baha'is. Members of each community estimate that these figures significantly understated their respective numbers. Approximately 20 percent of citizens espouse no religion. Religious services are well attended in both rural and urban areas.