Republic of Botswana
Motto: "Pula!" (Tswana)
Location of Botswana (dark blue)
in the African Union (light blue)
and largest city
24°39.5′S 25°54.5′E / 24°39.5′S 25°54.5′E / -24.6583; 25.9083
|Official languages||English, Setswana|
|Ethnic groups |
|Government||Unitary parliamentary constitutional republic|
|30 September 1966|
|581,730 km2 (224,610 sq mi) (47th)|
• Water (%)
• 2018 estimate
• 2011 census
|3.7/km2 (9.6/sq mi) (231st)|
|GDP (PPP)||2019 estimate|
• Per capita
|GDP (nominal)||2019 estimate|
• Per capita
|Gini (2015)|| 53.3|
|HDI (2018)|| 0.728|
high · 94th
|Currency||Botswana pula (BWP)|
|Time zone||UTC+2 (Central Africa Time)|
|ISO 3166 code||BW|
Botswana (/ (listen), also -/), officially the Republic of Botswana (Setswana: Lefatshe la Botswana), is a landlocked country in Southern Africa. Formerly the British protectorate of Bechuanaland, Botswana adopted its name after becoming independent within the Commonwealth on 30 September 1966. Since then, it has been a representative republic, with a consistent record of uninterrupted democratic elections and the lowest perceived corruption ranking in Africa since at least 1998. It is currently Africa's oldest continuous democracy.
Botswana is topographically flat, with up to 70 percent of its territory being the Kalahari Desert. It is bordered by South Africa to the south and southeast, Namibia to the west and north, and Zimbabwe to the northeast. Its border with Zambia to the north near Kazungula is poorly defined but is, at most, a few hundred metres long.
A mid-sized country of just over 2.3 million people, Botswana is one of the most sparsely populated countries in the world. Around 10 percent of the population lives in the capital and largest city, Gaborone. Formerly one of the poorest countries in the world—with a GDP per capita of about US$70 per year in the late 1960s—Botswana has since transformed itself into one of the world's fastest-growing economies. The economy is dominated by mining, cattle, and tourism. Botswana boasts a GDP (purchasing power parity) per capita of about $18,825 per year as of 2015 , which is one of the highest in Africa. Its high gross national income (by some estimates the fourth-largest in Africa) gives the country a relatively high standard of living and one of the highest Human Development Index of continental Sub-Saharan Africa.
Botswana is a member of the African Union, the , the Commonwealth of Nations, and the United Nations. The country has been among the hardest hit by the HIV/AIDS epidemic. Despite the success in programmes to make treatments available to those infected, and to educate the populace in general about how to stop the spread of HIV/AIDS, the number of people with AIDS rose from 290,000 in 2005 to 320,000 in 2013.:A20 As of 2014 , Botswana has the third-highest prevalence rate for HIV/AIDS, with roughly 20% of the population infected.
The country's name means "land of the tswana", referring to the dominant ethnic group in Botswana. The term Batswana was originally applied to the Tswana, which is still the case. However, it has also come to be used generally as a demonym for all citizens of Botswana. Many English dictionaries also recommend the term Botswanan to refer to people of Botswana (note: Batswana find this term offensive ).