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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.
The Zambezi (also spelled Zambesi) is the fourth-longest river in Africa, and the largest flowing into the Indian Ocean from Africa. The area of its basin is 1,390,000 km² (537,000 miles²), slightly less than half that of the Nile. The 3,540 km- (2,200 mile-) long river has its source in Zambia and flows through Angola, along the borders of Namibia, Botswana, Zambia again, and Zimbabwe, to Mozambique, where it empties into the Indian Ocean.
The Zambezi's most spectacular feature is the beautiful Victoria Falls. Other notable falls include the Chavuma Falls at the border between Zambia and Angola, and Ngonye Falls, near Sioma in Western Zambia.
There are two main sources of hydroelectric power on the river. These are the Kariba Dam, which provides power to Zambia and Zimbabwe and the Cahora Bassa Dam in Mozambique which provides power to both Mozambique and South Africa. There is also a smaller power station at Victoria Falls. (Read more...)