Botswana Population, Politics and Economy
Population in Botswana
In 2011 Botswana had about 2 million residents, which corresponds to a population density of only 3 residents per km² given the stated area of 582,000 km². This makes Botswana one of the most sparsely populated areas in the world. A third of the population lives in the capital Gaborone with approx. 187,000 residents. The official languages are English and Setswana. Around 95% of Botswan’s population belongs to the Bantu-speaking tribes. According to directoryaah, 75% are Tswana and 12% belong to the Shona Bantu people. The rest of the population is made up of San, Khoi-Khoi, Ndbele, whites, Indians and mongrels. About half of the population adheres to the Christian faith, which is often linked to indigenous religious practices. Religious minorities are Muslims and Hindus.
Politics and economics in Botswana
The country’s constitution dates from 1965. The legislative body is the parliament, which includes the 57 members of the National Assembly, which is elected every five years, as well as the President, the Speaker of Parliament and four members appointed by the President. Parliament is supported and advised by the 33 to 35-member House of Chiefs, which includes leading tribal representatives in the country. The executive power rests with the president, who unites head of state and head of government in his person at the same time. Botswana is one of the most democratically rated countries in Africa. The willingness to corrupt is rated as low.
In the past, Botswana had very high economic growth compared to other African countries, averaging 9% annually. According to ebizdir, the country has grown from one of the poorest countries in the world to a middle-income country and has the highest credit rating in Africa. The country’s most important source of income is diamond exports, which make up more than 70% of the total export value. In addition, tourism and meat production are among Botswana’s sources of income.
Transport network in Botswana
The few major roads in Botswana are paved throughout. Side streets are mostly more or less paved slopes that can become impassable with normal cars during the rainy season. In particular, the paths in the large national parks are still relatively “natural” and therefore difficult to drive on. The Trans-Kalahari Highway is an international trunk road that runs through Botswana and connects Johannesburg in South Africa with Walvis Bay in Namibia. In Botswana, as in all former British colonies and protectorates, there is left-hand traffic.
The almost 700 kilometer long railway line of the state-owned Botswana Railways from the border with South Africa via Lobatse, Gaborone and Francistown to Zimbabwe is primarily used for freight traffic. After passenger train traffic was initially discontinued in 2009 for economic reasons, passenger trains have been running on this route again since 2016.
Due to the few and poor roads and the limited train traffic to the eastern part of the country, the plane is the preferred means of transport in Botswana to bring both people and required goods to remote parts of the country. In addition to the international airports of Gaborone, Maun, Kasane and Francistown, there are numerous smaller airfields and airstrips inland that are used by small aircraft.
Cities and regions in Botswana
Garborone is the largest city in Botswana and the capital at the same time, with a population of over 230,000. The government district and the only university in the republic are located in the city. The national museum with ethnographic and archaeological exhibits on Botswana and the works of art in the associated art gallery are well worth seeing. Sir Seretse Khama International Airport is close to the capital.
The second largest city in Botswana is the former gold rush town of Francistown with approx. 100,000 residents, the capital of the North-East region.
Apart from a small museum, which provides information about the Botswana people of the Kalanga, the city itself has no noteworthy sights to offer, but it is the starting point for safaris to the Makgadikgadi salt pans.
The core of the city of Maun in northern Botswana, which has around 50,000 residents, consists of the airport, safari offices, cafes and a hotel complex. The capital of the North-West district is a popular meeting place for safari tourists. Many excursions to the Okavango Basin start from here. In Maun there are still some traditional round huts made of clay.
Botswana’s District Central
The District Central is located in the east of the republic and is one of the largest regions in Botswana. The capital is Serowe, with other larger cities such as Palapye, Selebi-Phikwe and Mahalapye in the District Central. In Serowe there are several museums such as the Khama Memorial Museum, in which the history of the Khama family is vividly presented. Exhibits of snakes, insects and other species from Botswana’s fauna are shown in the natural science exhibitions.