In 2009, Botswana had a population of 2.1 million people and a population growth rate of 1.7%. The economy was driven by the export of commodities such as diamonds, copper and nickel. Botswana was an active member in many international organisations including the United Nations, the African Union (AU) and the Southern African Development Community (SADC). Politically, Botswana was a presidential republic with two major political parties: the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) and the Botswana National Front (BNF). The then President was Ian Khama who had been in office since 2008. He had previously served as Vice President from 1998 to 2008 under President Festus Mogae. See internetsailors for Botswana in the year of 2011.
During the year, Botswana went its own way in foreign policy in relation to the rest of Africa. President Ian Khama was one of the few African leaders who openly criticized Zimbabwe’s dictatorial president Robert Mugabe. Zimbabwe opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai had a sanctuary in Botswana at the beginning of the year and was brought there again for hospital care, after becoming prime minister and in March saw his wife killed in a car accident. See ABBREVIATIONFINDER for abbreviation BC which stands for the nation of Botswana.
According to countryaah, Botswana also defied the decision of the African Union (AU) not to cooperate with the International Criminal Court (ICC), after the court issued an arrest warrant for Sudan’s war-suspected president Omar al-Bashir. Botswana criticized the AU for stoking the debate at the July summit. They also criticized the AU’s president, Libyan leader Muammar al-Khadaffi, for running his favorite project, the United States of Africa, instead of devoting the summit to Africa’s deepest problems.
When US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton visited Africa in August, she set Botswana as an example through the country’s way of using revenue from mineral wealth to build infrastructure. At the same time, the global financial crisis was affecting Botswana’s diamond industry, and some mines were forced to close.
However, President Khama, who took office in 2008, was criticized at home for authoritarian rule over the BDP, the Botswana Democratic Party. This led to dissatisfaction and internal contradictions in the party. The opposition accused the government of failing to broaden the economy from the dependence of the diamond industry and thus not overcome unemployment and poverty. The diamond industry employs only a few thousand people, even though it accounts for a third of GDP.
Nevertheless, the BDP won a convincing victory in the parliamentary elections in October. The BDP passed a mandate and took 45 of the 57 seats in Parliament. As Parliament elected president, the election result meant that Khama’s reelection was assured. The Botswana National Front opposition party lost six of its twelve seats to the Botswana Congress Party, also in opposition.
In the last decades of the 20th century. the Botswana, thanks to the considerable mineral resources, had made great progress, rationalizing the primary sector (in particular the livestock branch), developing infrastructures (road and water networks) and urban construction, promoting education and services. But the incipient industrialization, the birth of services and the whole development process have been held back by AIDS, which has prevented the formation of a balanced market, created very serious employment and health problems, and caused a contraction in tourist arrivals..
Food crops (corn, sorghum and millet) are insufficient to meet the needs and cover just over 2% of the total area, while natural pastures occupy 75% of it; there are 2.5 million cattle and about 3.6 million sheep and goats. Diamonds are extracted from the subsoil (over 22.9 million carats in 2011) which represent about 70% of export revenues, as well as precious stones, manganese, copper, nickel and coal. Exports of minerals outnumber imports.
The internal communications, weak by land, rely on a decent network of air services. The position of a ‘closed’ country on the continent is mitigated by the road linking Botswana to Zambia and by intense trade with South Africa via the Cape Town-Harare railway line and with Namibia and South Africa via the Ghanzi-Lobatse line.