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Botswana

Botswana

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Population: 2,029,307 (est.)

Language(s): English, Setswana

Capital: Gaborone

Interesting Facts:

  • The Botswana pula is the official currency of Botswana.
  • An estimated 70 percent of Botswanan citizens identify themselves as Christians, with around 20% belonging to ‘no religion’.
  • Batswana is the word used for many citizens of Botswana. One citizen is a Motswana.
  • Jwaneng Diamond Mine, in the south of the country, is the richest diamond mine in the world.
  • Botswana has never been colonised. It was only a protectorate of Britain after three chiefs from Botswana travelled to England to request the status.
  • Botswana is one of the most sparsely populated countries in the world

Botswana, officially the Republic of Botswana, is a landlocked country located in Southern Africa. The citizens refer to themselves as “Batswana” (singular: Motswana), but many English-language sources use “Botswanan” instead. 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.

Botswana is flat, and up to 70% 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. Its border with Zambia to the north near Kazungula, Zambia is poorly defined but at most is a few hundred meters long.

A mid-sized country of just over two million people, Botswana is one of the most sparsely populated countries in the world. Botswana was one of the poorest countries in Africa when it gained independence from the United Kingdom in 1966, with a GDP per capita of about US$70. Botswana has since transformed itself, becoming one of the fastest-growing economies in the world to a GDP (purchasing power parity) per capita of about $14,000. The country also has a strong tradition as a representative democracy.

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