Botswana (Republic of Botswana)
|Flag of Botswana
A country of slightly over 2.3 million people, Botswana is one of the most sparsely populated countries in the world. About 11.6 percent of the population lives in the capital and largest city, Gaborone. Formerly one of the world's poorest countries—with a GDP per capita of about US$70 per year in the late 1960s—it has since transformed itself into an upper-middle-income country, with one of the world's fastest-growing economies.
Modern-day humans first inhabited the country over 200,000 years ago. The Tswana ethnic group were descended mainly from Bantu-speaking tribes who migrated southward of Africa to modern Botswana around 600 AD, living in tribal enclaves as farmers and herders. In 1885, the British colonised the area and declared a protectorate under the name of Bechuanaland. As decolonisation occurred, Bechuanaland became an independent Commonwealth republic under its current name on 30 September 1966. Since then, it has been a representative republic, with a consistent record of uninterrupted democratic elections and the lowest perceived corruption ranking in Africa since at least 1998.
The economy is dominated by mining, cattle, and tourism. Botswana has a GDP (purchasing power parity) per capita of about $18,113, one of the highest in Africa. Botswana is the world's biggest diamond producing country. Its relatively high gross national income per capita (by some estimates the fourth-largest in Africa) gives the country a relatively high standard of living and the highest Human Development Index of continental Sub-Saharan Africa. Botswana is the first African country to host Forbes 30 Under 30 and the 2017 Netball World Youth Cup.
Botswana is a member of the African Union, the Southern African Customs Union, the Southern African Development Community, the Commonwealth of Nations, and the United Nations. The country has been adversely affected by the HIV/AIDS epidemic. Despite the success in programs to make treatments available, and to educate the populace about how to stop the spread of HIV/AIDS , the number of people with AIDS rose from 290,000 in 2005 to 320,000 in 2013. , Botswana had the third-highest prevalence rate for HIV/AIDS, with roughly 20% of the population infected. However, in recent years the country has made strides in combatting HIV/AIDS, with efforts being made to provide proper treatment and lower the rate of mother-to-child transmission.
The country's name means "Land of the Tswana", referring to the dominant ethnic group in Botswana. The term Batswana was originally applied to the Tswana, which is still the case. However, it has also come to be used generally as a demonym for all citizens of Botswana.
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