Botswana: Background & Geography

Introduction Botswana
Background:
Formerly the British protectorate of Bechuanaland, Botswana adopted its new name upon independence in 1966. Four decades of uninterrupted civilian leadership, progressive social policies, and significant capital investment have created one of the most dynamic economies in Africa. Mineral extraction, principally diamond mining, dominates economic activity, though tourism is a growing sector due to the country's conservation practices and extensive nature preserves. Botswana has the world's highest known rate of HIV/AIDS infection, but also one of Africa's most progressive and comprehensive programs for dealing with the disease.
Geography Botswana
Location:
Southern Africa, north of South Africa
Geographic coordinates:
22 00 S, 24 00 E
Map references:
Africa
Area:
total: 600,370 sq km
water: 15,000 sq km
land: 585,370 sq km
Area - comparative:
slightly smaller than Texas
Land boundaries:
total: 4,013 km
border countries: Namibia 1,360 km, South Africa 1,840 km, Zimbabwe 813 km
Coastline:
0 km (landlocked)
Maritime claims - as described in UNCLOS 1982 (see Notes and Definitions):
none (landlocked)
Climate:
semiarid; warm winters and hot summers
Terrain:
predominantly flat to gently rolling tableland; Kalahari Desert in southwest
Elevation extremes:
lowest point: junction of the Limpopo and Shashe Rivers 513 m
highest point: Tsodilo Hills 1,489 m
Natural resources:
diamonds, copper, nickel, salt, soda ash, potash, coal, iron ore, silver
Land use:
arable land: 0.61%
permanent crops: 0.01%
other: 99.38% (1998 est.)
Irrigated land:
10 sq km (1998 est.)
Natural hazards:
periodic droughts; seasonal August winds blow from the west, carrying sand and dust across the country, which can obscure visibility
Environment - current issues:
overgrazing; desertification; limited fresh water resources
Environment - international agreements:
party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection, Wetlands
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
Geography - note:
landlocked; population concentrated in eastern part of the country

See Also: