A Map of Botswana


Background: Formerly the British protectorate of Bechuanaland, Botswana adopted its new name upon independence in 1966. The economy, one of the most robust on the continent, is dominated by diamond mining.
Location: Location: Southern Africa, north of South Africa Area: Total: 600,370 sq km, water: 15,000 sq km, land: 585,370 sq km. Area - comparative: Slightly smaller than Texas Land boundaries: Total: 4,013 km. border countries: Namibia 1,360 km, South Africa 1,840 km, Zimbabwe 813 km. Coastline: 0 km (landlocked)
Climate and Terrain: Climate: Semiarid; warm winters and hot summers. Terrain: Predominantly flat to gently rolling tableland; Kalahari Desert in southwest. Elevation extremes: Lowest point: junction of the Limpopo and Shashe Rivers 513 m, highest point: Tsodilo Hills 1,489 m. Natural resources: Diamonds, copper, nickel, salt, soda ash, potash, coal, iron ore, silver. Environment - current issues: overgrazing; desertification; limited fresh water resources
People: Population: 1,591,232. Ethnic groups: Tswana (or Setswana) 79%, Kalanga 11%, Basarwa 3%, other, including Kgalagadi and white 7% . Religions: Indigenous beliefs 85%, Christian 15%. Languages: English (official), Setswana.
Government: Government type: Parliamentary republic. Capital: Gaborone. Independence: 30 September 1966 (from UK).
Economy overview: Botswana has maintained one of the world's highest growth rates since independence in 1966. Through fiscal discipline and sound management, Botswana has transformed itself from one of the poorest countries in the world to a middle-income country with a per capita GDP of $7,800 in 2001. Two major investment services rank Botswana as the best credit risk in Africa. Diamond mining has fueled much of expansion and currently accounts for more than one-third of GDP and for four-fifths of export earnings. Tourism, subsistence farming, and cattle raising are other key sectors. On the downside, the government must deal with high rates of unemployment and poverty. Unemployment officially is 21%, but unofficial estimates place it closer to 40%. HIV/AIDS infection rates are the highest in the world and threaten Botswana's impressive economic gains. GDP - composition by sector: Agriculture: 4%, industry: 44% (including 36% mining), services: 52%.
Statistics: Telephones - main lines in use: 150,000. Telephones - mobile cellular: 200,000. Radio broadcast stations: AM 8, FM 13, shortwave 4. Radios: 252,720. Television broadcast stations: 1. Televisions: 31,000. Internet users: 33,000. Railways: Total: 888 km. Highways: Total: 10,217 km, paved: 5,620 km. unpaved: 4,597 km. Airports - with paved runways: 11, with unpaved runways: 81.

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