Botswana, officially the Republic of Botswana, is a landlocked country in Southern Africa, located north of South Africa. Botswana is topographically flat, with up to 70 percent of its territory taken up by the Kalahari Desert. A mid-sized country of just over 2.3 million people, it is one of the most sparsely populated countries in the world. Around 10 percent of the population lives in the capital and largest city, Gaborone.
Formerly one of the world’s poorest countries—with a GDP per capita of about US$70 per year in the late 1960s—Botswana has since transformed itself into an upper middle-income country, with one of the world’s fastest-growing economies. By 2015 its GDP per capita had risen to about $18,825 per year, one of the highest in Africa.
The economy is dominated by mining, cattle and tourism. Its high gross national income (by some estimates the fourth largest in Africa) gives the country a relatively high standard of living and the highest Human Development Index of continental Sub-Saharan Africa.
Botswana is home to the world’s largest concentration of African elephants, of which the highest concentration is found in Chobe National Park.
Botswana was given Independence in 1966, Princess Marina, Duchess of Kent representing the Queen. Seretse Khama, who had been a leader in the Independence movement was elected as the first President and was later twice re-elected.
Fun fact: Water is so valued in Botswana that their currency is called the ‘pula’, which means ‘rain’ or ‘blessing’ in Setswana, the national language.