BOTSWANA



Festus Mogae
President

Botswana

(pronounced "FES-tus Mo-HIGH")

"The killer disease [AIDS] has raised the national human toll to nightmarish proportions."

The Republic of Botswana is a landlocked country in southern Africa, bordered by Namibia to the west and north, Zimbabwe to the northeast, and South Africa to the south and southeast. The national territory encompasses 600,370 sq km (231,804 sq mi) and the southern and western regions are geographically defined by the Kalahari Desert. The capital is Gaborone, which is located in the southeast near the border with South Africa. Approximately 80% of the 1.5 million inhabitants live in the eastern strip, which is the most developed region of Botswana.

The Tswana ethnic group makes up 55–60% of the population; Kalanga account for 25–30%; Kgalagadi, Herero, Basarwa ("Bushmen"), Khoi ("Hottentots"), and whites make up the remaining 5–10%. The official language is English, with Setswana and Ikalanga also widely spoken. Christianity is practiced by some 60% of the people while 40% profess indigenous beliefs.

Botswana's economy is among the best performers in Africa, with annual growth rates averaging around 3%. Botswana has weathered the African economic decline better than most countries. While per capita income is approximately US $3,600, that figure masks the fact that subsistence farming and cattle raising predominate in the country, with 80% of the population engaged in agriculture. The currency is the pula . Unemployment is high, running near 20%; inflation is less than 10%. Significant natural resources include diamonds, copper, nickel, salt, soda ash, coal, iron ore, and silver.

ADDRESS

Office of the President
Private Mailbag 001
Gaborone, Botswana
Web site: http://www.gov.bw/home.html

Read about the Culture of Botswana.

Read about the Geography of Botswana.

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