Botswana is one of Africa’s most meagerly populated nations: at 582,000 sq. km, the nation is the extent of Kenya, yet with only 2 million individuals altogether. (By correlation, Kenya has more than 40 million).
On the ground, this relative land plenitude – and absence of individuals – goes up against intriguing structures. Land in Seretse Khama International Airport and you would be struck by the hush that welcomes you. Gaborone itself is about dispossessed of the hurrying around that embodies numerous African capital urban communities. Furthermore, numerous shopping centers in Gaborone, rather than being manufactured upwards, are single storied and spread out in expansive parts.
Gaborone was built from scratch starting in 1964, when the capital of Bechuanaland was moved from Mafeking (in present day South Africa) to Gaborone. The city has a population of just 350,000. Driving through Gaborone and you would be struck by the expansive acacia scrubland growing almost right in the middle of town – land is clearly not a problem here.
Botswana is one of the few countries in Africa that managed its natural resources prudently, avoiding the trend in other resource-rich countries that ended up wracked by corruption, instability and dictatorship. In 1969, the government of Botswana, together with South African diamond company De Beers, created a joint venture called Debswana; each party owns 50% of the company. All diamond mining in Botswana is controlled by Debswana; through it, the government was able to secure a significant stake in the revenues, unlike many other resource-rich countries that just rely on mining royalties.
Diamond mining activities – and reinvesting the proceeds into the economy and welfare of citizens – have fuelled much of the growth in Botswana’s economy, allowing it to grow from one of the poorest countries in the world when it became independent in 1966 to a “middle income” nation, Africa’s third-richest per capita.
Botswana is Africa’s longest continuous multi-party democracy, lauded as being relatively free of corruption and has a good human rights record. The Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) has won all the country’s elections since independence, though other parties have contested as well. Botswana’s low-risk political environment, sound fiscal and economic policies, as well as favourable macroeconomic indicators contribute to the country’s status as having the best sovereign risk rating on the African continent.
Education up to high school is free in Botswana, and so is health care. In fact, if you require specialist treatment abroad, the government covers all your costs, including hospital care, medicine, flights and accommodation.
Hunting is a big tradition for many Batswana, among the older generation, nearly every family owns a hunting rifle. The tradition of curing and salting meat, to create biltong, arose because there was a need to preserve meat when big game was felled. I was told that buffalo biltong is the most expensive in the market, mostly because buffaloes are so difficult to kill on a hunt. You have to aim for a spot right behind the ear – most of a buffalo’s skull is virtually impenetrable to bullets.
Botswana is endeavoring to expand its economy far from precious stones – which represent 33% of the nation’s GDP – in the wake of a more turbulent worldwide market for the gemstones. Safari tourism, especially of the specialty, top of the line assortment – has been a developing segment, as has money related administrations – especially as De Beers moved the precious stone sale from London to Gaborone.
Horticulture, as well, has been getting governments bolster; specialists are attempting to boost individuals to cultivate in the northern parts of the nation where there are colossal tracts of land, and for the most part, a lot of water from the Zambezi and Okavango stream bowls. However, a serious dry spell in the locale is entangling these endeavors.