Botswana

By: Sophie Stancil

Government&Year of Independence

Executive power and Legislative power is directed in both the government and the Parliament of Botswana. Botswana is a parliamentary republic government. Botswana has a president. The president of Botswana is Ian Khama.


Botswana got their independence in 1966 from Britain. Since independence was declared, the party system has been controlled by the Botswana Democratic Party. The judiciary is independent of the executive and the legislature.



Religion

About 70% of the country's citizens consider themselves as Christians. Anglicans, Methodists, and the United Congregational Church of Southern Africa make up the majority of Christians. There are also congregations of Lutherans, Roman Catholics, Seventh-day Adventists, Baptists, the Dutch Reformed Church, Mennonites, Mormons, Jehovah's Witnesses, and other Christian groups.


Language

The language of Botswana is English although Setswana is widely spoken across the country. In Setswana, prefixes are more important than they are in many other languages. These prefixes include "Bo", which refers to the country, "Ba", which refers to the people, "Mo", which is one person, and "Se" which is the language.

Population&Capital

There is an estimate of 2,098,018 people in Botswana.

Gaborone is the capital and largest city of Botswana with a population of 231,626.

President of Botswana

Ian Khama is the President of Botswana. He has been in office since

April 1, 2008.

Sports

Football is the most popular sport in Botswana, with qualification for the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations being the biggest achievement to date. Other popular sports are cricket, tennis, rugby, softball, handball, golf and track and field. Botswana is an associate member of the International Cricket Council.

HIV/AID

The southern African region is the center of the global HIV/AIDS epidemic, and the occurrence of infection in Botswana is the second-highest in the world next to that in nearby Swaziland. In 2007, about one-fourth of Botswana aged 15-49 were living with the virus, according to estimates of the Joint United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS. In addition, some 53,000 children orphaned by AIDS were registered with the government. Despite the extensive impacts of the virus on Botswana's communities, trends since 2001 have been encouraging, as rates of new infections among teenagers and young adults have declined, primarily due to the increased use of condoms. Still, only 33% of men and 40% of women aged 15-24 could correctly name methods to prevent infection in 2007. Another positive development in the last few years is a dramatic rise in access to antiretroviral drugs for HIV-positive Botswana. UNAIDS estimated that some 85% of HIV-positive men and women in the country were receiving antiretroviral therapy by 2007.


Illegal immigration from Zimbabwe

Botswana has rapidly transformed since independence from a poor country dependent on payment from refugees to a middle-income country that attracts immigrants from all over Africa. Recently the economic collapse of Botswana's northeastern neighbor,Zimbabwe, where unemployment has lingered around 80%, led thousands of Zimbabweans to settle in Botswana illegally in search of work. Movement between the two countries is fairly free, and many Zimbabweans cross into the country legally on 90-day visas, citing the purpose of their entry as "Visiting" or "Holiday," and do not leave again when their visas expire. Others enter the country illegally, which makes the exact number of Zimbabweans living in the country difficult to determine, though many estimates place the number in the hundreds of thousands. This spike in immigration has led many Botswana to blame Zimbabweans for the country's misfortunes, ranging from a recent increase in crime to the economically disastrous spread of foot-and-mouth disease among local cattle. Immigrants are often subject to ridicule and are increasingly targeted by anti-immigration vigilante movements. Many Zimbabweans that run businesses now exist near the border.

Rights of the San

Botswana came under international inspection following accusations by human rights groups that the government conducted forced evacuations of the country's San minority gain access to diamond deposits under the traditional San lands of the Central Kalahari Game Reserve. Botswana's government adamantly denied these claims, saying that the San were consulted extensively about the relocations and all moved voluntarily. The government also insists that mineral interests did not motivate the relocations, which it says it carried out solely to empower the San by giving them better access to water, schools, and health services.

Environmental issues in Botswana

Botswana is currently facing two major environmental problems: drought and desertification. The desertification problems mainly stem from the severe times of drought in the country. Due to the drought 75% of the country’s human and animal populations are dependent on groundwater. Groundwater use has eased the effects of drought, but has left a toll on the land. Surface water is very scarce in Botswana and less than 5% of the agriculture in the country is sustainable by rainfall. Due to this 95% of the country raises cattle and livestock as a means for an income. Therefore, 71% of the country’s land is used for communal grazing, which has been a major cause for the desertification of the country.

Fun Facts

  • Bechuanaland was the old name of Botswana.

  • Motswana is the name of the citizens in Botswana.

  • Botswana is one of Africa's most exclusive safari destinations.