[Country map of Botswana]



Location: Southern Africa, north of South Africa

Map references: Africa

total area: 600,370 sq km
land area: 585,370 sq km
comparative area: slightly smaller than Texas

Land boundaries: total 4,013 km, Namibia 1,360 km, South Africa 1,840 km, Zimbabwe 813 km

Coastline: 0 km (landlocked)

Maritime claims: none; landlocked

International disputes: short section of boundary with Namibia is indefinite; quadripoint with Namibia, Zambia, and Zimbabwe is in disagreement; dispute with Namibia over uninhabited Kasikili (Sidudu) Island in Linyanti (Chobe) River remained unresolved in mid-February 1995 and the parties agreed to refer the matter to the International Court of Justice

Climate: semiarid; warm winters and hot summers

Terrain: predominately flat to gently rolling tableland; Kalahari Desert in southwest

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

Land use:
arable land: 2%
permanent crops: 0%
meadows and pastures: 75%
forest and woodland: 2%
other: 21%

Irrigated land: 20 sq km (1989 est.)

current issues: overgrazing, primarily as a result of the expansion of the cattle population; desertification; limited natural fresh water resources
natural hazards: periodic droughts; seasonal August winds blow from the west, carrying sand and dust across the country, which can obscure visibility
international agreements: party to - Climate Change, Endangered Species, Law of the Sea, Nuclear Test Ban, Ozone Layer Protection; signed, but not ratified - Biodiversity

Note: landlocked; population concentrated in eastern part of the country


Population: 1,392,414 (July 1995 est.)

Age structure:
0-14 years: 43% (female 300,598; male 303,333)
15-64 years: 53% (female 398,347; male 344,838)
65 years and over: 4% (female 25,773; male 19,525) (July 1995 est.)

Population growth rate: 2.36% (1995 est.)

Birth rate: 31.01 births/1,000 population (1995 est.)

Death rate: 7.41 deaths/1,000 population (1995 est.)

Net migration rate: 0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (1995 est.)

Infant mortality rate: 38 deaths/1,000 live births (1995 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 63.56 years
male: 60.54 years
female: 66.67 years (1995 est.)

Total fertility rate: 3.86 children born/woman (1995 est.)

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

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

Religions: indigenous beliefs 50%, Christian 50%

Languages: English (official), Setswana

Literacy: age 15 and over can read and write (1990 est.)
total population: 23%
male: 32%
female: 16%

Labor force: 428,000 (1992)
by occupation: 220,000 formal sector employees, most others are engaged in cattle raising and subsistence agriculture (1992 est.); 14,300 are employed in various mines in South Africa (March 1992)


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

Digraph: BC

Type: parliamentary republic

Capital: Gaborone

Administrative divisions: 10 districts; Central, Chobe, Ghanzi, Kgalagadi, Kgatleng, Kweneng, Ngamiland, North-East, South-East, Southern; in addition, there are 4 town councils - Francistown, Gaborone, Lobatse, Selebi-Phikwe

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: 21 years of age; universal

Executive branch:
chief of state and head of government: President Sir Ketumile MASIRE (since 13 July 1980); Vice President Festus MOGAE (since 9 March 1992); election last held 15 October 1994 (next to be held October 1999); results - President Sir Ketumile MASIRE was reelected by the National Assembly
cabinet: Cabinet; appointed by the president

Legislative branch: bicameral Parliament
House of Chiefs: is a largely advisory 15-member body consisting of chiefs of the 8 principal tribes, 4 elected subchiefs, and 3 members selected by the other 12
National Assembly: elections last held 15 October 1994 (next to be held October 1999); results - percent of vote by party NA; seats - (44 total of which 40 are elected and 4 are appointed) BDP 27, BNF 13

Judicial branch: High Court, Court of Appeal

Political parties and leaders: Botswana Democratic Party (BDP), Sir Ketumile MASIRE; Botswana National Front (BNF), Kenneth KOMA; Botswana People's Party (BPP), Knight MARIPE; Botswana Independence Party (BIP), Motsamai MPHO


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

US diplomatic representation:
chief of mission: Ambassador Howard F. JETER
embassy: address NA, Gaborone
mailing address: P. O. Box 90, Gaborone
telephone: [267] 353982
FAX: [267] 356947

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


Overview: The economy has historically been based on cattle raising and crops. Agriculture today provides a livelihood for more than 80% of the population but supplies only about 50% of food needs and accounts for only 5% of GDP. Subsistence farming and cattle raising predominate. The driving force behind the rapid economic growth of the 1970s and 1980s has been the mining industry. This sector, mostly on the strength of diamonds, has gone from generating 25% of GDP in 1980 to 39% in 1994. No other sector has experienced such growth, especially not agriculture, which is plagued by erratic rainfall and poor soils. The unemployment rate remains a problem at 25%. Hampered by a still sluggish diamond market in 1994, GDP grew by only 1%.

National product: GDP - purchasing power parity - $4.3 billion (1994 est.)

National product real growth rate: 1% (1994 est.)

National product per capita: $3,130 (1994 est.)

Inflation rate (consumer prices): 10% (1994 est.)

Unemployment rate: 25% (1994 est.)

revenues: $1.7 billion
expenditures: $1.99 billion, including capital expenditures of $652 million (FY93/94)

Exports: $1.8 billion (f.o.b. 1994)
commodities: diamonds 78%, copper and nickel 6%, meat 5%
partners: Switzerland, UK, SACU (Southern African Customs Union)

Imports: $1.8 billion (c.i.f., 1992)
commodities: foodstuffs, vehicles and transport equipment, textiles, petroleum products
partners: Switzerland, SACU (Southern African Customs Union), UK, US

External debt: $344 million (December 1991)

Industrial production: growth rate 4.6% (FY92/93); accounts for about 43% of GDP, including mining

capacity: 220,000 kW
production: 900 million kWh
consumption per capita: 694 kWh (1993)

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

Agriculture: sorghum, maize, millet, pulses, groundnuts, beans, cowpeas, sunflower seeds; livestock

Economic aid:
recipient: US aid (1992), $13 million; Norway (1992), $16 million; Sweden (1992), $15.5 million; Germany (1992), $3.6 million; EC/Lome-IV (1992), $3 million-$6 million in grants; $28.7 million in long-term projects (1992)

Currency: 1 pula (P) = 100 thebe

Exchange rates: pula (P) per US$1 - 1.7086 (January 1995), 2.6976 (November 1994), 2.4190 (1993), 2.1327 (1992), 2.0173 (1991), 1.8601 (1990)

Fiscal year: 1 April - 31 March


total: 888 km
narrow gauge: 888 km 1.067-m gauge (1992)

total: 11,514 km
paved: 1,600 km
unpaved: crushed stone, gravel 1,700 km; improved earth 5,177 km; unimproved earth 3,037 km

Ports: none

total: 100
with paved runways over 3,047 m: 1
with paved runways 2,438 to 3,047 m: 1
with paved runways 1,524 to 2,437 m: 6
with paved runways 914 to 1,523 m: 2
with paved runways under 914 m: 23
with unpaved runways 1,524 to 2,438 m: 5
with unpaved runways 914 to 1,523 m: 62


Telephone system: 26,000 telephones; sparse system; telephone density - 18.67 telephones/1,000 persons
local: NA
intercity: small system of open wire lines, microwave radio relay links, and a few radio communication stations
international: 1 INTELSAT (Indian Ocean) earth station

broadcast stations: AM 7, FM 13, shortwave 0
radios: NA

broadcast stations: 0
televisions: NA

Defense Forces

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

Manpower availability: males age 15-49 306,878; males fit for military service 161,376; males reach military age (18) annually 15,403 (1995 est.)

Defense expenditures: exchange rate conversion - $198 million, 5.2% of GDP (FY93/94)