Botswana is a landlocked country in southern Africa. Bechuanaland freed itself from British control on September 30th 1966 and became the commonwealth of Botswana. At the time it was one of the most impoverished countries in Africa. Today it is one of the most successful nations in Africa due to its stable political system and growing market economy.
Much like the country’s borders, Botswana’s economy is closely tied with South Africa. It is very successful due to its fast growing service sector, diamond industry, and burgeoning tourism and manufacturing sectors. Currently only 30% of the population lives below the international poverty line of $1.25 US a day. Botswana holds the fourth largest GDP in Africa and has a standard of living close to that of Mexico or Turkey. Uranium was found in 2007 which holds another economic prospect for Botswana. Mining is to start in 2010.
The two main languages of Botswana are English and Setswana. Prefixes are a very important aspect of the Setswana language. Examples are:
Bo: referring to the country
Ba: referring to the people
Mo: referring to one person
Se: referring to the language
Because the main tribe of people in the area is Tswana. BO(Tswana) is the Setswana name for the country. The people of Botswana are called Batswana, one person is a Motswana and the language is, of course, Setswana.
While there are many art galleries and artists, the most interesting and unique for of artistic expression is the intricate and colourful baskets made by the women in Northern Botswana, especially in the towns of Etsha and Gumare.
The African country is slightly smaller than Texas but about 70% of it is covered by the Kalahari desert. The Okavango delta is the world’s largest inland delta and is situated in the northwest corner of the country.
Botswana has very assorted natural scenery. There are savannas and grasslands which are home to the blue wildebeest. The one of the few remaining populations of the endangered African Wild Dog resides in Northern Botswana.
Botswana, at least politically, is the least corrupt country in Africa, and according to Transparency International is on level with South Korea and Portugal. The Botswana Defence Force (BDF) was formed after attacks from Rhodesian and South African Armies. They increasingly focus on peacekeeping, combating poaching and preparing for disasters. The United States is the BDFs largest single foreign contributor.
The major plague of Botswana is HIV/AIDS, as it has the second highest infection rate in the world (After Swaziland). One in six Batswana have HIV. Despite this, the government acknowledges AIDS effect on the economy and Botswana currently has the best AIDS prevention program in Africa.
One of the main pastimes in Botswana is bridge. It is something that has spread since the 1980s by British teachers in schools. The Botswana Bridge Foundation organizes tournaments among students. There can be as many as 600 children playing bridge. This is something quite unique to Botswana.