General information about Botswana
The official name is the Republic of Botswana.
Located in southern Africa. The area is 600.4 thousand km2, the population is 1,680,863 people. (2001, census). The official languages are Setswana and English. The capital is the city of Gaborone (186 thousand inhabitants, 2001). Public holiday – Independence Day September 30 (since 1966). The monetary unit is the pula.
Member ok. 40 international organizations, incl. UN (since 1966), AU (since 2000), SADC (since 1992).
Geography of Botswana
Located between 20° and 28°24′ East longitude and 18° and 27°6′ South latitude; has no access to the sea, borders on South Africa, Namibia, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
The relief of the territory is a vast drainless depression of the Kalahari, falling from west to east, bordered by the surrounding plateaus; only in the east does the flat landscape give way to hilly ones. The average height above sea level is 800-1200 m. The lowest point is 513 m, the highest is 1489 m.
In the northwest is the Okavango River Delta (length – approx. 1600 km), which, having no flow into the ocean, forms a huge swampy lake Okavango, and further to the east is the salt lake Makgadikgadi. The southern arm of the delta feeds Lake Ngami. Small tributaries of the Zambezi flow in the northeast, and the Limpopo in the east. The total area of inland waters is 15,000 km2. Leaving in limestone underground channels, the Okavango waters reveal themselves hundreds of kilometers away in the form of small springs, providing scarce plant and animal life in the Kalahari Desert.
In the greater part of the country the soils are stony-desert, in the east they are sandy, and along the banks of the rivers young alluvial soils; there are also saline soils.
Vegetation is sparse, however, approx. 60 endems (wild watermelon, spiral aloe, etc.). The eastern part of the Kalahari is a desert savanna, in some places a shrub savanna with acacias, in the north a savanna with baobabs. The Okavango Delta has a rich tropical flora, along the banks of the tributaries of the Zambezi River, gallery tropical forests have been preserved. The animal world is rich and varied: lion, leopard, jackal, hyena, zebra, antelopes, giraffes, snakes. National parks and reserves have been created to preserve the fauna.
The bowels are rich in minerals, although geological exploration was carried out only in the east of the country. The richest kimberlite pipes with a very high content of gem-quality diamonds have been discovered. There are rich deposits of diamonds, coal, copper-nickel ore, salt, and soda. Deposits of other minerals have been discovered.
According to Bridgat, the climate in the south is subtropical with pronounced features of continentality, in the north it is tropical. The average temperature in January is +21-27°С, in July + 16°С. Precipitation is 500-600 mm per year. The southwestern and central regions are the most dry (less than 250 mm per year).
Population of Botswana
Between 1984 and 2002, the population doubled. The population growth rate reached its peak in 1981, amounting to 4.7%, but then began to decline and in 1995-2000 amounted to 1.9%. In 2002 they were estimated at 1.8%. The UN forecast for 2000-05 predicts a further decline to 1.2%. The reason for the slowdown in population growth is the spread of AIDS. In 1999, 35.8% of adults (290,000) were infected with HIV and AIDS in Botswana. According to this sad indicator, the country ranks first in the world. Despite this, it is expected that due to the high birth rate (28.04%, 2002) and the introduction of HIV prevention measures, the population will double by 2050 compared to 1995. Child mortality is 64.72 people. per 1000 newborns (2002). Average life expectancy is 35.29 years (35.43 for women, 35.15 for men) (2002). Sex and age structure (2002): 0-14 years – 40% (319,988 men and 316,961 women), 15-64 years – 55.8% (respectively 428,638 and 458,777), 65 years and older – 4.2% (26,965 and 39,903 ). In 2000, approx. 50% of the population. Adult literacy is 69.8%. Primary schools are attended by 97% of children. Retirement age 65 years.
St. 94% of the population are Bantu peoples. The largest of them are the Tswana (79% of the population), divided into eight tribes. The most significant of the ethnic minorities are Kalanga (11%), Herero, Ndebele. Bushmen live in the desert regions of the Kalahari; Europeans make up less than 2% of the population.
The majority of the population adheres to animist beliefs. 30% are Christians, mostly Protestants; there is a small number of Muslims – there are two mosques.