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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 one of the world’s highest known rates of HIV/AIDS infection, but also one of Africa’s most progressive and comprehensive programs for dealing with the disease.
note: estimates for this country explicitly take into account the effects of excess mortality due to AIDS; this can result in lower life expectancy, higher infant mortality, higher death rates, lower population growth rates, and changes in the distribution of population by age and sex than would otherwise be expected (July 2008 est.)
15-64 years: 62.2% (male 649,931/female 634,998)
65 years and over: 3.9% (male 32,542/female 48,129) (2011 est.)
conventional short form: Botswana
local long form: Republic of Botswana
local short form: Botswana
geographic coordinates: 24 45 S, 25 55 E
time difference: UTC+2 (7 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
over 3,047 m: 1
2,438 to 3,047 m: 1
1,524 to 2,437 m: 7
914 to 1,523 m: 1 (2012)
Economy:Botswana has maintained one of the world’s highest economic growth rates since independence in 1966, though growth slowed to 4.7% annually in 2006-07. Through fiscal discipline and sound management, Botswana has transformed itself from one of the poorest countries in the world to a middle-income country with a per capita GDP of nearly $15,000 in 2007. Two major investment services rank Botswana as the best credit risk in Africa. Diamond mining has fuelled much of the expansion and currently accounts for more than one-third of GDP and for 70-80% of export earnings.
The alignment of the boundary with Namibia in the Kwando/Linyanti/Chobe River, including the Situngu marshlands, was resolved amicably in 2003; concerns from international experts and local populations over the ecology of the Okavango Delta in Botswana and human displacement scuttled Namibian plans to construct a hydroelectric dam at Popavalle (Popa Falls) along the Angola-Namibia border; Botswana has built electric fences to stem the thousands of Zimbabweans who flee to find work and escape political persecution; Namibia has long supported, and in 2004 Zimbabwe dropped objections to, plans between Botswana and Zambia to build a bridge over the Zambezi River, thereby de facto recognizing the short, but not clearly delimited, Botswana-Zambia boundary.
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