Portal:Botswana

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The Republic of Botswana (Tswana: Lefatshe la Botswana) is a landlocked country in Southern Africa. Citizens of Botswana are called "Batswana" (singular: Motswana), regardless of ethnicity. 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.

Botswana is a regional leader in economic freedom. Competitiveness and flexibility are promoted by a sensible business regulatory environment, openness to foreign investment and trade, and relatively flexible employment regulations. The financial sector remains relatively well developed, with an independent central bank and little government intervention. The independent judiciary provides strong protection of property rights. Botswana was one of the most impoverished countries in Africa when it became independent in 1966. Today, it is home to a relatively stable political system and a rapidly developing market economy. Being closely tied with the economy of South Africa, the country's economy is one of the most successful in Africa and is dominated by the fast-growing service sector, world-renowned diamond industry, tourism, and manufacturing. Botswana's economic growth rate has outpaced the economic growth of even the Asian Tigers, and the World Bank cites Botswana as one of the world's great development success stories.

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The indigenous people of southern Africa, whose territory spans most areas of South Africa, Zimbabwe, Lesotho, Mozambique, Swaziland, Botswana, Namibia, and Angola, are variously referred to as Bushmen, San, Sho, Basarwa, Kung, or Khwe. These people were traditionally hunter-gatherers, part of the Khoisan group and are related to the traditionally pastoral Khoikhoi. Starting in the 1950s, through the 1990s, they switched to farming as a result of government-mandated modernization programs as well as the increased risks of a hunting and gathering lifestyle in the face of technological development.

The Bushmen have provided a wealth of information for the fields of anthropology and genetics, even as their lifestyles change. One broad study of African genetic diversity completed in 2009 found the San people were among the five populations with the highest measured levels of genetic diversity among the 121 distinct African populations sampled. (Read more...)

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Camels in Tshabong, Botswana2.jpg
Credit: JackyR

Domesticated camels grazing in Tshabong, Botswana.

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