Geographical Location of Botswana
Botswana is located in southern Africa. The country has no coastline and consists mainly of high plains. The Kalahari Desert covers 70 percent of the country and stretches across the central and southwestern parts of the country. Botswana is also home to one of the world's largest inland deltas, the Okavango Delta, which has been named one of the Seven Natural Wonders of Africa. The water does not flow into the sea, but is absorbed by plants, evaporates or seeps into the ground and becomes groundwater. The water from the river makes the flora and fauna very rich, although Botswana has little rainfall.
The climate is semi-arid subtropical with warm winters and hot summers. Botswana is threatened by desertification and drought. The spread of desertification is due to too many animals grazing in open areas, and the effect of this grazing is increased by global warming.
Brief History of Botswana
People have lived in Botswana for tens of thousands of years. The area was home to the San people, one of the oldest peoples in the world. In the 19th century, Botswana was characterized by internal wars between different ethnic groups. The establishment of various colonial powers in the area in parallel with high levels of immigration led to pressure on the country, which in turn increased tensions. In 1876, the King of Botswana asked Britain for protection from a possible war with the Boer people in the Transvaal (South Africa). The British were not interested in this, but instead created a British protectorate to protect their own interests. This became today's Botswana.
It was not until 1966 that Botswana became independent and democracy was established. Other countries and foreign companies were quickly invited to develop business and trade with Botswana. The 1970s marked the beginning of a period of economic growth. Foreign companies have begun mining diamonds, copper and nickel from the country's rich mineral deposits. The transition from protectorate to independence took place in an orderly manner, without violence or major political conflicts. Seretse Khama became the country's first president and is today considered the father of Botswana. His party, the Botswana Democratic Party, dominated politics. The Botswana Democratic Party and the Khama family have been in power continuously since the country became independent.
Society and Politics of Botswana
Botswana is a parliamentary republic where the president is both head of state and head of government. The National Assembly appoints the president and makes laws. The President can be elected for a maximum of two terms. Because the same party has been in power for so many years, Botswana is considered a stable country. The opposition, made up of many small parties, has tried several times to do something with the electoral system that would clearly make it easier for the Botswana Democratic Party to win.
Botswana has a well-developed health and education system with 10 years of compulsory education and good access to doctors. About half enter senior secondary school. In recent years, Botswana has been accused of discriminating against minority groups and women. Freedom of expression is theoretically guaranteed by the constitution, but in practice the media are limited. For example, it is illegal to insult the president.
Although Botswana has a relatively high GDP per capita, the country struggles with poverty and unemployment. It is also believed that one in three residents is infected with HIV/AIDS, making Botswana one of the countries with the highest number of AIDS patients. Attempts are being made to control the infection by distributing medicines and conducting major awareness campaigns. It gave results. Of the 380,000 people living with AIDS, about 82 percent are receiving antiretroviral therapy. The number of deaths has also fallen in recent years, with UNAIDS estimating in 2019 that only 1.3 percent of all infected people died as a result of the disease.
Economy and Trade of Botswana
Botswana is considered a middle-income country by the UN. Apart from the fact that the country has experienced enormous economic growth since independence, Botswana is the least corrupt country in Africa. In recent years, the country has outperformed European countries such as Spain, Portugal and Israel.
Botswana depends on mining to make money. Botswana is the country in the world with the highest production of gem quality diamonds by value. Diamond mining accounts for more than a third of the country's GDP and 70 to 80 percent of export earnings. In addition, there is copper, gold, nickel and soda, which are also mined and sold abroad.
Tourism also provides significant income to the country. Wildlife is the main reason tourists visit Botswana, and photography and hunting safaris are popular. In particular, the Okavango Delta, with its very rich and concentrated wildlife, attracts tourists. Although mining and tourism generate the most income, the majority of Botswanans work in agriculture.