Botswana [Country Flag of Botswana]
Transnational Issues
[Country map of Botswana]



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Location: Southern Africa, north of South Africa

Geographic coordinates: 22 00 S, 24 00 E

Map references: Africa

total: 600,370 sq km
land: 585,370 sq km
water: 15,000 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)

Maritime claims: none (landlocked)

Climate: semiarid; warm winters and hot summers

Terrain: predominately 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 Hill 1,489 m

Natural resources: diamonds, copper, nickel, salt, soda ash, potash, coal, iron ore, silver

Land use:
arable land: 1%
permanent crops: 0%
permanent pastures: 46%
forests and woodland: 47%
other: 6% (1993 est.)

Irrigated land: 20 sq km (1993 est.)

Natural hazards: periodic droughts; seasonal August winds blow from the west, carrying sand and dust across the country, which can obscure visibility

Environment—current issues: overgrazing; desertification; limited fresh water resources

Environment—international agreements:
party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Desertification, Endangered Species, Law of the Sea, Nuclear Test Ban, Ozone Layer Protection
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements

Geography—note: landlocked; population concentrated in eastern part of the country


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Population: 1,448,454 (July 1998 est.)

Age structure:
0-14 years: 42% (male 310,253; female 302,960)
15-64 years: 54% (male 370,925; female 409,941)
65 years and over: 4% (male 20,637; female 33,738) (July 1998 est.)

Population growth rate: 1.11% (1998 est.)

Birth rate: 32.02 births/1,000 population (1998 est.)

Death rate: 20.89 deaths/1,000 population (1998 est.)

Net migration rate: 0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (1998 est.)

Sex ratio:
at birth: 1.03 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.02 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.9 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.61 male(s)/female (1998 est.)

Infant mortality rate: 59.29 deaths/1,000 live births (1998 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 40.09 years
male: 39.46 years
female: 40.75 years (1998 est.)

Total fertility rate: 4.03 children born/woman (1998 est.)

noun: Motswana (singular), Batswana (plural)
adjective: Motswana (singular), Batswana (plural)

Ethnic groups: Batswana 95%, Kalanga, Basarwa, and Kgalagadi 4%, white 1%

Religions: indigenous beliefs 50%, Christian 50%

Languages: English (official), Setswana

definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 69.8%
male: 80.5%
female: 59.9% (1995 est.)


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Country name:
conventional long form: Republic of Botswana
conventional short form: Botswana
former: Bechuanaland

Data code: BC

Government type: parliamentary republic

National capital: Gaborone

Administrative divisions: 10 districts and four town councils*; Central, Chobe, Francistown*, Gaborone*, Ghanzi, Kgalagadi, Kgatleng, Kweneng, Lobatse*, Ngamiland, North-East, Selebi-Phikwe*, South-East, Southern

Independence: 30 September 1966 (from UK)

National holiday: Independence Day, 30 September (1966)

Constitution: March 1965, effective 30 September 1966

Legal system: based on Roman-Dutch law and local customary law; judicial review limited to matters of interpretation; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction

Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal

Executive branch:
chief of state: President Festus MOGAE (since 1 April 1998) note—the president is both the chief of state and head of government
head of government: President Festus MOGAE (since 1 April 1998) note—the president is both the chief of state and head of government
cabinet: Cabinet appointed by the president
elections: president elected by the National Assembly for a five-year term; election last held 15 October 1994 (next to be held NA October 1999); vice president appointed by the president
election results: Sir Ketumile MASIRE elected president; percent of National Assembly vote—NA
note: President MASIRE resigned on 31 March 1998; Vice President MOGAE assumed the presidency pending elections to be held in 1999; on 2 April 1998, Festus MOGAE, then president, designated S. K. Ian KHAMA to be vice president after he is elected to the National Assembly in accordance with constitutional requirements

Legislative branch: bicameral Parliament consists of the House of Chiefs (a largely advisory 15-member body consisting of the chiefs of the eight principal tribes, four elected subchiefs, and three members selected by the other 12) and the National Assembly (44 seats, 40 members are directly elected by popular vote and 4 appointed by the majority party; members serve five-year terms)
elections: National Assembly—elections last held 15 October 1994 (next to be held October 1999)
election results: percent of vote by party—NA; seats by party—BDP 27, BNF 13

Judicial branch: High Court; Court of Appeal

Political parties and leaders: Botswana Democratic Party or BDP [Festus MOGAE]; Botswana Freedom Party or BFP [leader NA]; Botswana National Front or BNF [Kenneth KOMA]; Botswana People's Party or BPP [Knight MARIPE]; Independence Freedom Party or IFP [Motsamai MPHO]; Unified Action Party or UAP [Lepetu SETSHWEALD]

International organization participation: ACP, AfDB, C, CCC, ECA, FAO, G-77, IBRD, ICAO, ICFTU, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, Intelsat, Interpol, IOC, ITU, NAM, OAU, SACU, SADC, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UPU, WCL, WFTU, WHO, WMO, WToO, WTrO

Diplomatic representation in the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Archibald Mooketsa MOGWE
chancery: Suite 7M, 3400 International Drive NW, Washington, DC 20008
telephone: [1] (202) 244-4990, 4991
FAX: [1] (202) 244-4164

Diplomatic representation from the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Robert C. KRUEGER
embassy: address NA, Gaborone
mailing address: P. O. Box 90, Gaborone
telephone: [267] 353982
FAX: [267] 356947

Flag description: light blue with a horizontal white-edged black stripe in the center


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Economy—overview: Agriculture still provides a livelihood for more than 80% of the population but supplies only about 50% of food needs and accounts for only 4% of GDP. Subsistence farming and cattle raising predominate. Diamond mining and tourism also are important to the economy. The sector is plagued by erratic rainfall and poor soils. Substantial mineral deposits were found in the 1970s and the mining sector grew from 25% of GDP in 1980 to 35% in 1997. Unemployment officially is 21% but unofficial estimates place it closer to 40%. On the plus side is the substantial positive trade balance.

GDP: purchasing power parity—$5 billion (1997 est.)

GDP—real growth rate: 6% (1997 est.)

GDP—per capita: purchasing power parity—$3,300 (1997 est.)

GDP—composition by sector:
agriculture: 4%
industry: 45% (including 35% mining)
services: 51% (1997 est.)

Inflation rate—consumer price index: 10% (1996 est.)

Labor force:
total: 235,000 formal sector employees (1995)
by occupation: 100,000 public sector; 135,000 private sector, including 14,300 who are employed in various mines in South Africa; most others engaged in cattle raising and subsistence agriculture (1995 est.)

Unemployment rate: 20-40% (1997 est.)

revenues: $1.6 billion
expenditures: $1.8 billion, including capital expenditures of $560 million (FY96/97)

Industries: diamonds, copper, nickel, coal, salt, soda ash, potash; livestock processing

Industrial production growth rate: 4.6% (FY92/93)

Electricity—capacity: 217,000 kW (1995)

Electricity—production: 1 billion kWh (1995)

Electricity—consumption per capita: 962 kWh (1995)

Agriculture—products: sorghum, maize, millet, pulses, groundnuts (peanuts), beans, cowpeas, sunflower seed; livestock

total value: $2.31 billion (f.o.b. 1996 est.)
commodities: diamonds 71%, copper and nickel 5%, meat 3%
partners: Europe 74%, Southern African Customs Union (SACU) 22%, Zimbabwe 3%

total value: $1.6 billion (c.i.f., 1996 est.)
commodities: foodstuffs, vehicles and transport equipment, textiles, petroleum products
partners: Southern African Customs Union (SACU) 74%, Europe 8%, Zimbabwe 6%

Debt—external: $619 million (1996)

Economic aid:
recipient: ODA, $189 million (1993)

Currency: 1 pula (P) = 100 thebe

Exchange rates: pula (P) per US$1—3.8547 (January 1998), 3.6508 (1997), 3.3242 (1996), 2.7716 (1995), 2.6831 (1994), 2.4190 (1993)

Fiscal year: 1 April—31 March


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Telephones: 19,109 (1985 est.)

Telephone system: sparse system
domestic: small system of open-wire lines, microwave radio relay links, and a few radiotelephone communication stations
international: microwave radio relay links to Zambia, Zimbabwe and South Africa; satellite earth station—1 Intelsat (Indian Ocean)

Radio broadcast stations: AM 7, FM 13, shortwave 0

Radios: NA

Television broadcast stations: 0 (1988 est.)

Televisions: 13,800 (1993 est.)


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total: 971 km
narrow gauge: 971 km 1.067-m gauge (1995)

total: 18,482 km
paved: 4,343 km
unpaved: 14,139 km (1996 est.)

Ports and harbors: none

Airports: 92 (1997 est.)

Airports—with paved runways:
total: 12
over 3,047 m: 1
2,438 to 3,047 m: 1
1,524 to 2,437 m: 9
914 to 1,523 m: 1 (1997 est.)

Airports—with unpaved runways:
total: 80
1,524 to 2,437 m: 3
914 to 1,523 m: 55
under 914 m: 22 (1997 est.)


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Military branches: Botswana Defense Force (includes Army and Air Wing), Botswana National Police

Military manpower—military age: 18 years of age

Military manpower—availability:
males age 15-49: 335,301 (1998 est.)

Military manpower—fit for military service:
males: 177,248 (1998 est.)

Military manpower—reaching military age annually:
males: 18,148 (1998 est.)

Military expenditures—dollar figure: $199 million (FY93/94)

Military expenditures—percent of GDP: 5.2% (FY93/94)

Transnational Issues

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Disputes—international: quadripoint with Namibia, Zambia, and Zimbabwe is in disagreement; dispute with Namibia over uninhabited Kasikili (Sidudu) Island in Linyanti (Chobe) River is presently at the ICJ; at least one other island in Linyanti River is contested