Botswana is rare example of a working, multiparty democracy in Africa. It is quite stable compared to other African countries and has a comparatively low level of corruption. It was a British colony (then called Bechuanaland) from 1885 until 1966 when it gained independence. Ironically (and luckily), diamonds were found in Botswana one year later. Botswana will celebrate 40 years of independence on September 30th, 2006.
Diamonds from Africa have gotten a bad rap lately, mostly because of the unrest they’ve caused in Sierra Leone
and neighboring countries. Diamonds, however, have helped Botswana stay afloat despite their lack of natural resources
- Botswana is one of the world’s leading producers of diamonds. It is the driving force of their economy.
- Botswana also has had the highest percentage number of HIV-Aids cases in Africa. One in three people have HIV and/or have developed Aids. (UN figure)
- Botswana is well known as having one of the most advanced HIV treatment programs.
- However, the life expectancy in Botswana is still very low, with 34 being the average for both men and women.
- 84% of Botswana is covered by the Kalahari Desert.
- In the Kalahari, there is a rock site called Tsodilo, which has over four thousand paintings, many of which are over 100,000 years old.
In the News:
Botswana was ranked #1 in Africa, and much higher than many countries, in a recent World Bank Institute report of countries that effectively fight corruption. Botswana was also ranked #1 in the world in the category of Credit Market Regulation, in the 2006 Economic Freedom of the World Report.
CIA world factbook
World Bank Institute
BBC World Profiles