Botswana, officially the Republic of Botswana (Tswana: Lefatshe la Botswana), is a country located in Southern Africa. The citizens are referred to as Batswana (singular: Motswana). Formerly, the British protectorate of Bechuanaland, Botswana adopted its new name after becoming independent within the Commonwealth on 30 September 1966. It has held free and fair democratic elections since independence.
Geographically, the country is flat and up to 70% of Botswana is covered by the Kalahari Desert. It is bordered by South Africa to the south and southeast, Namibia to the west and north, and Zimbabwe to the northeast. It meets Zambia at a single point.
At the end of the 19th century, conflicts occurred between Boer settlers and the native Tswana people. The region was administered by Britain and parts of Botswana. Botswana has been an independent country since 1966.
A small, landlocked country of just over two million people, Botswana was one of the poorest countries in Africa at the time it gained independence from Britain in 1966, with a GDP per capita of about US$70. Botswana has transformed itself, moving into the ranks of middle-income status to become one of the fastest growing economies in the world with its average annual growth rate of about 9 percent with income per capita of about $14,800.
Botswana’s impressive track record of good governance and economic growth supported by prudent macroeconomic and fiscal management, stands in contrast to the country’s high levels of poverty and inequality and generally low human development indicators. While education expenditure is high at 10 percent of GDP and significant educational achievements have been attained, including the provision of nearly universal and free education, overall outcomes have not created the skills and workforce Botswana needs.
The country is trying to diversify its economy, which is heavily dependent on diamonds and the beef market. Other minerals are soda ash, copper and nickel matte, gold, and coal.
The most famous sport in Botswana is football (soccer), some other known sports in Botswana are cricket, tennis, rugby union, softball, volleyball, golf, and track. One of Botswana's biggest achievements in sports is for qualifying for the 2012 African World Cup. Botswana is a member of the International Cricket Council.
Not technically a sport, but a popular card game: Bridge. Bridge, introduced 30 years ago, has rapidly became a popular game in Botswana. The Botswana Bridge Foundation, or BFF (founded in 1988), continues to organize tournaments for Bridge. The BFF has over 800 members currently.
Languages and People
There are two official languages in Botswana: English and Setswana. English is widely known to be the country's national language, which are used in urban areas and for tourism. Setswana is a fairly popular language there too, since 90% of the population speak Setswana (Setswana is also the mother tongue of most Botswanans). Botswana has over 20 smaller languages, in which the most spoken language out of the smaller languages is Kalanga. Some other languages are Sarwa, Taa, and Afrikaans.