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 became part of South Africa. 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.
Languages and People