Botswana

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The Republic of Botswana (Tswana: Lefatshe la Botswana) is a country located in Southern Africa. The citizens are referred to as "Batswana" (singular: Motswana). Formerly the British protectorate of Bechuanaland, Botswana adopted its new name after becoming independent within the Commonwealth on 30 September 1966. It has held free and fair democratic elections since independence.

Geographically the country is flat and up to 70% of Botswana is covered by 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. It meets Zambia at a single point.

A small, landlocked country of just over two million people, Botswana was one of the poorest countries in Africa at independence from Britain in 1966, with a GDP per capita of about US$70. Botswana has transformed itself, moving into the ranks of middle-income status to become one of the fastest growing economies in the world with its average annual growth rate of about 9 percent with a GDP (purchasing power parity) per capita of about $14,800 (2010 IMF estimate).

Botswana’s impressive track record of good governance and economic growth supported by prudent macroeconomic and fiscal management, stands in contrast to the country’s high levels of poverty and inequality and generally low human development indicators. While education expenditure is high at 10 percent of GDP and significant educational achievements have been attained, including the provision of nearly universal and free education, overall outcomes have not created the skills and workforce Botswana needs. Unemployment has been persistently high at near 20 percent, household incomes are much lower in rural than in urban areas (HIES 2002/03), and, while rural poverty rates have fallen, they remain significantly higher than in urban areas. The rate of HIV/AIDS infection has improved as a result of the government's aggressive introduction of anti HIV/AIDS drugs which are provided free of charge to the citizens.

The country is trying to diversify its economy, which is heavily dependent on diamonds and the beef market. Other minerals are soda ash, copper and nickel matte, gold, and coal.

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