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World Mission

Botswana

Basic info

  • Area: 581,730 sq km
  • Population: 2,214,858
  • Infant mortality: 29.6 deaths/1,000 live births
  • Life expectancy: 63.3 years
  • Urbanisation: 69.4% of total population
  • Literacy: 88.5%

History

Formerly the British protectorate of Bechuanaland, Botswana adopted its new name at independence in 1966. More than five decades of uninterrupted civilian leadership, progressive social policies, and significant capital investment have created one of the most stable economies in Africa. The ruling Botswana Democratic Party has won every election since independence; President Mokgweetsi Eric MASISI assumed the presidency in April 2018 following the retirement of former President Ian KHAMA due to constitutional term limits. MASISI is Botswana’s fifth president since independence. 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.

Environment

The climate is semiarid with warm winters and hot summers. The terrain is predominantly flat to gently rolling tableland and the Kalahari Desert is in the southwest.

Economy

Until the global recession, Botswana maintained one of the world's highest economic growth rates since independence in 1966. Diamond mining fueled much of the economic expansion and currently accounts for one-quarter of GDP, approximately 85% of export earnings, and about one-third of the government's revenues. Tourism is the secondary earner of foreign exchange and many Batswana engage in tourism-related services, subsistence farming, and cattle rearing. Through fiscal discipline and sound management, Botswana transformed itself from one of the poorest countries in the world to a middle-income country with a per capita GDP of approximately $18,100 in 2017. Botswana also ranks as one of the least corrupt and best places to do business in sub-Saharan Africa. Botswana's economy closely follows global economic trends because of its heavy reliance on a single luxury export. According to official government statistics, unemployment is around 20%, but unofficial estimates run much higher. De Beers, a major international diamond company, signed a 10-year deal with Botswana in 2012 and moved its rough stone sorting and trading division from London to Gaborone in 2013. The move was geared to support the development of Botswana's nascent downstream diamond industry. Botswana’s economy recovered from the 2008 global recession in 2010, but has only grown modestly since then, primarily due to the downturn in the global diamond market, though water and power shortages also played a role. The prevalence of HIV/AIDS is second highest in the world and threatens the country's impressive economic gains. Diamond exports increased again in 2017 to the highest levels since 2013 at about 22 million carats of output, driving Botswana’s economic growth of about 4.5% in 2017 and increasing foreign reserves to about 45% of GDP.

Ethnic groups

Ethnic Groups(%)

Tswana (or Setswana)

79

Kalanga

11

including Kgalagadi and white

7

Basarwa

3

Religion

Religion(%)

Christian

79.1

None

15.2

Badimo

4.1

Rastafarian)

1.4

Languages

  • 77.3%

    Setswana

  • 7.4%

    Sekalanga

  • 3.4%

    Shekgalagadi

  • 2.8%

    English (official)

  • 2%

    Zezuru/Shona

  • 1.7%

    Sesarwa