Botswana is a Southern African country. Consisting
almost entirely of the Kalahari desert, Botswana has an
area of 600,370 km2. It borders South
Africa, south-east and south; Namibia to the west and
north; Zambia to the northeast and Zimbabwe to the
east. The main cities are Gaborone, the capital, with
199,600 inhabitants (2004), Francistown (89,100
inhabitants), Selebi-Pikwe (53,500 inhabitants),
Molepolole (58,600 inhabitants) and Kanye (43,600
inhabitants) . All data are from 2004.
Most of the
country has a subtropical climate with a tendency to
aridity. Summer temperatures (between October and March)
are around 34 o C, and in winter (between
April and September) they are below 0 o C.
The main national wealth is based mainly on the
extraction of diamonds, copper, nickel and
cobalt. Agriculture occupies most of the country's
population, but its development is quite limited due to
water scarcity. The dominant crops are sorghum, corn,
vegetables, melons, fruits, potatoes and
cotton. Botswana's main economic partners are South
Africa, the United Kingdom, South Korea and Zimbabwe.
Environmental indicator: the value of carbon dioxide
emissions, per capita (metric tons, 1999), is
Botswana has a population of 1,639,833 (est. 2006),
which corresponds to a density of 3 inhab./km2,
one of the lowest in the world. The birth and death
rates are, respectively, 23.08% and 29.5%. Average life
expectancy is 33.74 years. The value of the Human
Development Index (HDI) is 0.614 and the value of the
Gender-adjusted Development Index (IDG) is 0.611
(2001). The most representative ethnic groups are the
Tswana, with 79% of the population, and the Kalanga
(11%). In religious terms, traditional beliefs arise
(49%), followed by Protestantism (29%), various African
Christian currents (12%) and Catholicism (9%). The
official language is English although Tswana, kalanga
and sekgalagadi are also spoken.
The Sotho ethnic group settled in Botswana around 1600.
Under the name Bechuanaland, it constituted an English
protectorate from 1884 until 1965. After independence in
1966, the country became a member of the British
Commonwealth and sought to establish good relations with
South Africa, despite rejecting apartheid policy.