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Flag of Botswana

Official languages

581,730 km²
Parliamentary republic
2,155,784 (2015)
Time zone
Demonym Botswanan
Preceded by
Succeeded by

A big town in Botswana
Map of Botswana

Botswana, officially the Republic of Botswana is a completely surrounded by neighbouring countries country in southern Africa with 2,098,000 inhabitants. It is adjacent to Namibia, Zimbabwe, Zambia and South Africa. The former British protectorate of Bechuanaland, Botswana adopted its name at independence in 1966. The Botswanese economy – one of the most robust of Africa – is dominated by the diamond industry. The capital and largest city of the country is Gaborone and is situated in the South-East of Botswana.

History[edit | edit source]

Bechoeanaland came in 1837 under the protection of the Afrikaners.

It became a British protectorate in 1885, which it would remain until 1966. In 1960, the Botswana Peoples Party (BPP, i.e. Botswana People's Party) founded by Mpho Motsomai and Philip Matante. In 1961 the country received self-government within the British Commonwealth. In 1962 following the creation of the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP, i.e. Botswana Democratic Party) of Seretse Khama and the Botswana Independence Party (BIP, i.e. Botswana independence party) of Motsomai Mpho. The Botswana Democratic Party wins in the 1965 elections and Seretse Khama becomes Prime Minister. The Botswana National Front (BNF), a social democratic party was founded in the same year by Kenneth Koma, among others. Chief of Bangwaketse Bathoen joins in the meantime at the BNF.

The independence is proclaimed on September 30, 1966. Seretse Khama, the first president, and the name is officially changed Bechoeanaland in Botswana. The Office of premier is abolished. Botswana is now a parliamentary democracy. The BDP (City Centre/Centre-right) is since then in power. The opposition is formed by the BIP (Center), BPP (Center) and the BNF (center-left). In 1976 the country signs the Joint Declaration of Frontline States (Angola, Botswana, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Malawi, Zambia, and Tanzania). In 1980 president Khama dies from stomach cancer and he is succeeded by Ketumile Masire. Botswana is a member of the SADC (South African Development Coordination Conference). In the 1980s, South Africa regularly performs small military operations in Botswana for ANC and PAC members. In 1998 follows Festus Gontebanye Mogae stepped down as president Ketumile Masire. Ian Khama (son of Seretse Khama) follows in 2008 Festus Gontebanye Mogae as president.

Geography[edit | edit source]

Botswana consists to a large part from an arid high plateau (approximately 1000 m high); in the East are hills. The Kalahari desert covers the South and the West. By the Northwest Okavango River, which flows into a huge inner Delta. The rainfall varies in the Interior of less than 20 cm per year in the southwest to about 64 cm in the North. The climate is subtropical but comes often for periods of drought. Botswana is enclosed by Zambia, Namibia, Zimbabwe and South Africa and is located in the Interior of Africa. Botswana is adjacent not to a sea.

Economy[edit | edit source]

Small-scale animal husbandry and agriculture for the majority of the population the main source of food; often, only a few people from an extended family a paid job, the rest takes care of the cattle and the horticultural crops. Large-scale animal husbandry also occurs, in the better restaurants in Europe, meat served from that region. Also today, the keeping of livestock and the export of beef and other livestock the main economic activities, although the migration to urban areas in search of economic opportunities is an important recent trend. The water shortage of the country and the resulting lack of sufficient irrigation facilities have hampered agriculture, and only a small percentage of the land is cultivated.

The only known minerals in the country at the time of independence were manganese and any gold and asbestos. Since then, there has been large nickel and copper resources are found, as well as salt and soda. There are also huge coal mines, as well as sources of antimony, sulfur, and Platinum. However, the three diamond mines of Botswana the most important thing for the economy and they represent one of the largest diamond reserves in the world.

The many game parks attract many tourists and are therefore an important source of income. Especially the Okavango Delta is internationally renowned. Here runs the river Okavango death in the Kalahari desert making a huge and unique nature.

Although the mineral wealth of Botswana the country to one of the richest nations of southern Africa has made, high unemployment remains a problem. Botswana remains heavily dependent on South Africa because of its landlocked position. Much Botswanezen work in the mines of South Africa, although their share has fallen in recent times. There are rail and road links with South Africa and Zimbabwe. These countries are also the most important trading partners.

Government[edit | edit source]

Botswana is a parliamentary Republic with several parties, which operates under the Constitution of 1966. The country is led by a president, who is both head of State as head of Government and a period of five years thereafter. Ian Khama of Botswana Democratic Party was sworn in as president on 1 April 2008 and re-elected in October 2014. There is a legislature which consists of two chambers: there is an advisory House of Chiefs (House of Chiefs) which consists of 15 seats, and in which the chiefs of the largest tribes. In addition, the National Assembly, consisting of 47 members (40 chosen, 7 appointed by the president) with a term of 5 years.

The main political parties are the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP), Botswana National Front (BNF), Botswana people's Party (BPP) and the Botswana Independence Party (BIP).

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