Country Code: 072
ISO Code: BWA/BW
Botswana, whose official name is the Republic of Botswana (in English: Republic of Botswana, in Setsuana: Lefatshe the Botswana), is a sovereign landlocked country in southern Africa whose form of government is the parliamentary republic. Its territory is divided into nine districts. The capital of the country is the city of Gaborone.
Geographically the country extends over flat land, with 70% of its surface covered by the Kalahari desert. It borders South Africa to the south and southeast, Namibia to the west and north, Zimbabwe to the northeast and Zambia to the north at a single point
Botswana was one of the poorest countries in Africa at the time it became independent from the United Kingdom in 1966, when it exhibited a GDP per capita of around 70 dollars.
However, Botswana is a nation that has achieved a significant increase in the level of income, with one of the fastest growing economies in the world. According to IMF estimates in 2016, Botswana had an average annual growth rate of 9 percent, and has a per capita GDP (PPP) of around $ 16,947, one of the highest in Africa.
Although Botswana’s record highlights good governance and economic growth supported by prudent macroeconomic management and fiscal balance, this contrasts with high levels of poverty in the country, inequality and persistently high unemployment, with figures close to 20%.
The high investment in education, 10% of GDP, has achieved important achievements such as the provision of education almost universal and free, as well as notable improvements in the health sector to reduce mortality from diseases. This has allowed Botswana to have moderate human development, but it is considered one of the highest in sub-Saharan Africa.
Family incomes are much lower in rural areas than in urban areas (HIES 2002/03). Although the rural poverty rate has decreased, it is still significantly higher than in urban areas. The rate of HIV / AIDS infection has been reduced, as a result of aggressive government intervention in the fight against the disease, where medicines are provided free of charge to citizens. In 2009, a total of 320,000 infected citizens were estimated.
The country has tried to diversify its economy in recent years. In 2008 it depended heavily on services (45.2%), industry (52.9%), and agriculture (1.9%) closely linked to trade with South Africa.
The Batswana, a term also used to denote all citizens of Botswana, refers to the country’s main ethnic group (the “Tswana” in South Africa), which entered the South African area during the Zulu wars of the early years of the XIX century, the so-called Mfecane. Before contacts with Europe, the Batswana lived as shepherds and farmers under tribal rule.
In the 19th century, hostilities broke out between the Batswana and the Boer settlers of Transvaal. After appeals for help from the Batswana, the British government, in February 1885, established the protectorate of Bechuanaland. The northern territory remained under direct administration and is the current Botswana, while the southern territory became part of the Cape Colony and is now part of the northwestern province of South Africa; Most setswana speaking people live in South Africa today.
Despite South African pressure, the inhabitants of the protectorate of Bechuanaland, Basutoland (now Lesotho), and Swaziland in 1907 requested and received British assurances that they would not be included in the proposed Union of South Africa. An expansion of British central authority and the evolution of tribal government resulted in the establishment in 1920 of two advisory councils representing Africans and Europeans. Proclamations in 1934 regularized powers and tribal rule. An African-European advisory council was formed in 1951, and the 1961 constitution established a consultative legislative council.
In June 1964, Great Britain accepted the proposals for democratic self-government in Botswana. The seat of government was moved from Mafikeng, in South Africa, to the established Gaborone in 1965. Since then, Botswana is the only country in Africa without coups and also one of the most stable. The 1965 constitution led to the first general elections and independence in September 1966. Seretse Khama, a leader of the independence movement and the legitimate claimant to the Bamangwato’s traditional government, was elected as the first president, re-elected twice, and he died in his post in 1979.
The presidency passed to the vice president, Quett Masire, who was elected in his own right in 1984 and re-elected in 1989 and 1994. Masire stepped down in 1998. The presidency passed to the vice president, Festus Mogae, who was elected in his own right in 1999. Mogae won a second term in the elections held on October 30, 2004. The presidency passed in 2008 to Ian Khama (son of the first president), who had been serving as vice president of Mogae being re-elected in 2014, where his party, the Botswana Democratic Party, won 37 of the 57 seats. In 2018, Khama was succeeded by Mokgweetsi Masisi.
The official languages of Botswana are English and Setsuana. Within the white minority there is an important sector that has Afrikaans as its mother tongue. The prefix in Setswana language plays a more important role than in other languages. Thus the prefix bo- refers to the country (Botswana), refers to the people (Batswana ‘members of the Tswana’ ethnic group), mo- is a person (Motswana) and se- is the language (Setwana). For example, the main ethnic group of Botswana are the Tswana, hence the name of Botswana is “the country of the tswana”. The village itself is called Batswana, the inhabitant of the nation is called Motswana and the spoken language is called Setswana.
Lesotho, an enclave within South Africa, is considered a sister country. It is inhabited by an ethnic group of the same family, the Sotho, who speak a similar language. The language is called sesotho and is mutually intelligible with the speakers of Setswana.
In addition to English, Setwana and Afrikaans in Botswana, there are a number of Joisan languages spoken. The joani, the shua, the tsoa, the naro and the gǁana are spoken of the central Joisánido group; from the northern group the juu and the ǂhõã; and from the southern group el! xóõ.
The main religion is Christianity, 72.1% of the inhabitants identify themselves as Christians. The Protestant churches stand out with 65.6%, 6% of Catholics and Evangelical, Orthodox and independent churches (1% approx.) That make up the rest of the Christian confession. It is very remarkable the number of non-religious that represents 20.6% of the population. 6% of the population identifies with traditional and ethnic religious forms. The rest of religious confessions are really minority, barely reaching 1%, among which we highlight: Buddhists, Hindus, Jews, Muslims and other religious minorities. The social hostilities related to religion are of moderate character both on the part of the government (the Constitution provides freedom of religious creed, with few exceptions) and social pressures.