Botswana is a nation in Southern Africa bordered by South Africa, Namibia, Zimbabwe and Zambia. The population of Botswana was estimated at 2.25 million in 2016. Here’s a list of interesting Botswana facts:
- Botswana had the third-highest rate of HIV/AIDS in the world according to data from a 2014 study: The disease has hit the nation hard, with an estimated 22% of the adult population infected.
- Among African nations, Botswana has one of the highest GDPs per capita: In 2015, this stood at around US$18,000. This is a significant improvement from the GDP per capita of just $70 during the 1960s.
- The Orapa mine, located in central Botswana, is the world’s largest diamond mine: Data from 2013 indicates over US$1.3 billion worth of diamonds was mined at Orapa that year. It is jointly owned by De Beers and the Botswana government.
- While English is the official language of Botswana, the Setswana language is widely adopted: Around five million people across Southern Africa also speak this language.
- Popular local dishes in Botswana include: Pap – a type of maize porridge; Samp – dried corn kernels broken into a rice; Vetkoek – a fried bread with a meat and vegetable filling; and Boerewors, a type of sausage.
- In 2012, Botswana won its first Olympic Medal at the London Games: Nijel Carlos Amilfitano Amos, a middle-distance runner, took out the silver medal in the 800 metres.
- A focus on education has helped Botswana rapidly improve its literacy rate: In 1991, it stood at 69%, but has since reached 83%.
- The flag of Botswana was first adopted in 1966: It features three colors: light blue, representing water; while the black and white represent the spirit of cooperation between the races living in the nation – and also the black and white stripes of the Zebra, Botswana’s national animal.
- Prior to independence, Botswana was known as the Bechuanaland Protectorate: The United Kingdom had established the protectorate in 1885. It wasn’t until 1966 that the Republic of Botswana was officially formed.
- Botswana is one of the most sparsely populated countries on earth: With a population density of just 3.5 people/km2, that is far below its close neighbor South Africa (46 people/km2).