Lefatshe la Botswana (Republic of Botswana)
Reference work entry


  • Capital: Gaborone

  • Population estimate, 2015: 2.26 m.

  • GNI per capita, 2014: (PPP$) 16,646

  • HDI/world rank, 2014: 0.698/106

  • Internet domain extension: .bw

Civil Aviation

There are international airports at Gaborone (Sir Seretse Khama) and at Maun and six domestic airports. The national carrier is the state-owned Air Botswana, which in 2013 carried 265,000 passengers (173,000 on international flights). In 2012 Gaborone handled 403,372 passengers.


In winter, days are warm and nights cold, with occasional frosts. Summer heat is tempered by prevailing northeast winds. Rainfall comes mainly in summer, from Oct. to April, while the rest of the year is almost completely dry with very high sunshine amounts. Gaborone, Jan. 79 °F (26.1 °C), July 55 °F (12.8 °C). Annual rainfall varies from 650 mm in the north to 250 mm in the southeast. The country is prone to droughts.

Constitution and Government

The Constitution was adopted in March 1965 and became effective on 30 Sept. 1966. It provides for a republican form of government headed by the President with three main organs: the Legislature, the Executive and the Judiciary. The executive rests with the President who is responsible to the National Assembly. The President is elected for 5-year terms by the National Assembly. The National Assembly consists of 63 members, of which 57 are elected by universal suffrage, four are specially elected members and two, the President and the Speaker, are ex officio. There is also a House of Chiefs to advise the government.


The unit of currency is the pula (BWP) of 100 thebe.


In 2013 defence expenditure totalled US$438 m. (US$206 per capita), representing 2.4% of GDP.


Services accounted for 52.5% of GDP in 2010, industry 45.0% and agriculture 2.5%.


The labour force in 2013 was 1,128,700 (867,600 in 2003). 78.9% of the population aged 15–64 was economically active in 2013. In the same year 17.6% of the population was unemployed.


The government-owned Daily News is distributed free (circulation, 2008: 65,000). There is one other daily, the independent Mmegi (‘The Reporter’), and 14 non-dailies.


The main line from Mafeking in South Africa to Bulawayo in Zimbabwe traverses Botswana. The total length of the rail system was 888 km in 2005, including two branch lines. In 2006, 426,894 passengers and 1,712,607 tonnes of freight were carried.


Freedom of worship is guaranteed under the Constitution. In 2010 there were an estimated 1.32 m. Protestants and 120,000 Roman Catholics according to the Pew Research Center’s Forum on Religion & Public Life, with most of the remainder of the population being unaffiliated or folk religionists.


In 2005 the total road network was estimated to be 25,798 km (32.6% paved). In Dec. 2008 there were 256,498 motor vehicles registered. There were 497 deaths in road accidents in 2007.

Social Statistics

2008 (estimates) births, 47,000; deaths, 23,000. Rates, 2008 estimates (per 1,000 population): births, 24.5; deaths, 12.1. Infant mortality, 2010 (per 1,000 live births), 36. Expectation of life in 2013 was 62.1 years for males and 66.8 for females. In 2013, 21.9% of all adults between 15 and 49 were infected with HIV. Annual population growth rate, 2000–08, 1.4%. Fertility rate, 2008, 2.9 children per woman.


In 2011 there were 149,600 landline telephone subscriptions (equivalent to 73.7 per 1,000 inhabitants) and 2,900,300 mobile phone subscriptions (or 1,428.2 per 1,000 inhabitants). In 2011, 7.0% of the population were internet users. In June 2012 there were 224,000 Facebook users.

Territory and Population

Botswana is bounded in the west and north by Namibia, northeast by Zambia and Zimbabwe, and east and south by South Africa. The area is 581,730 km2. 2011 census population, 2,024,904; density, 3.5 per km2. In 2011, 61.8% of the population were urban. The main towns (2011 census population) are Gaborone, 231,592; Francistown, 98,961; Molepolole, 66,466; Maun, 60,263; Mogoditshane, 58,079; Serowe, 50,820; Selebi-Phikwe, 49,411; Kanye, 47,007; Mochudi, 44,815; Mahalapye, 43,289. The official languages are Setswana and English.


There were 2,145,000 international tourists (excluding same-day visitors) in 2010, with tourism receipts totalling US$218 m.

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Limited 2019

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