The world’s No. 1 diamond producer, Botswana is home to a vibrant economy and is famous for its high-end safari experiences. As the country celebrates its golden jubilee — 50 years of independence from Britain on 30th September 2016 — here are 10 things you didn’t know about Botswana.
COLONIZED BY THE BRITS
In March 1885, Britain declared Botswana its protectorate and called it Bechuanaland.
WINDS OF CHANGE
Botswana never embraced colonialism, and by the 1940s signs of a national independence movement began with the formation of independent churches and schools.
A NEW CONSTITUTION WAS DRAFTED
By 1955 it became apparent that Britain would concede to Botswana’s demands for national independence and by 1961 a new constitution was drafted.
On Sep 30, 1966 Botswana official gained independence from Great Britain and changed its name to the Republic of Botswana.
HOW IT’S CELEBRATED
The majority of Botswanans travel home for independence day to celebrate the national “Boipuso” holiday with their families.
AFRICA’S LONGEST RUNNING CONTINUOUS DEMOCRACY
Botswana is considered one of the most stable countries in Africa, and has had a consistent record of multi-party democratic elections since it became independent.
With just over 2 million people, Botswana is one of the world’s most sparsely populated countries.
FAST GROWING ECONOMY
After independence Botswana was one of the world’s poorest countries with a GDP of about $70 per year. Since then it has transformed itself into one of the fast growing economies in the world with a GDP of about $16,400 per year.
HIGH STANDARD OF LIVING
As such its residents have a high standard of living and gross national income levels by African standards. It is also the world’s largest producer of diamonds.
HARD HIT BY AIDS
The U.N. reports that one in three adults in Botswana are infected with HIV or have developed AIDS. That said the country also has one of Africa’s best treatment programs and anti-retroviral drugs easy to obtain.