Coat of Arms
President of Botswana - His Excellency Lt. Gen. Seretse Khama Ian Khama
» 581,730 km2 (48th)
»Per capita $17,106
»Per capita $7,704
»Central Africa Time (UTC+2)
Botswana is a very open, upper middle income economy with exports representing a large proportion of GDP. It is a member of a number of regional and international organisations like the Southern African Development Community, Southern African Customs Union, African Development Bank, the African Union, the International Monetary Fund, World Bank Group and the United Nations and its economy has no exchange controls.
Having enjoyed Africa’s longest and one of the world’s longest booms, Botswana has attained a standard of living almost similar to those of Mexico and Turkey. Relative to sub-Saharan African averages, most economic and social indicators reflect outstanding living conditions for the average Botswana citizen. Botswana’s infant mortality rates are much lower than the average sub-Saharan African rate. Similarly, Botswana’s average caloric intake and education levels are well above average.
The country’s 2001 per capita income was approximately twice as high as the average East Asian tiger’s per capita average of $3,854 and more than four times the $1,826 average per capita income of an individual living in sub-Saharan Africa. The proportion of births attended by skilled health peaked to an average of 99.0% in 2006. Of all sub-Saharan Africa nations, Botswana has been the only one free from international political turmoil since independence.
Botswana has grown with little direct assistance from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank. Instead of borrowing heavily from the IMF and World Bank, the country instead only allowed these lending organisations to play an advisory role rather than a lending or planning role.
After gaining its independence, Botswana remained dependent on the British Exchequer for international aid. By 1972, the country was able to sever financial ties with the British Exchequer after the discovery of diamonds and has been growing from strength to strength since.
Top 20 Reasons to Do Business in Botswana.
1. Political Stability. Botswana has successfully held eleven general elections since Independence in 1966. Each election has been a multiparty affair in keeping with the constitutionally-entrenched democratic provisions.
2. Safety and Security. Botswana boasts one of Africa’s and the world’s most secure and safe countries, with low, stable rates of various crimes and well-trained law enforcement equipped with the latest crime prevention strategies and equipment.
3. Corruption. Over the years, international studies have consistently ranked Botswana among the world’s least corrupt countries, a position buttressed by several public, private and civic anti-corruption entities as well as a well-established ethos instilled in the country’s economic sectors.
4. Top Sovereign Credit Rating. Botswana has long been among a handful of countries worldwide to enjoy top-notch credit ratings for both their economic outlooks and political stability.
5. Foreign Exchange Policy. Botswana does not have foreign exchange controls nor restrictions on capital outfows of capital from fnancial institutions, freeing up cash fow movements for investors.
6. Stable Infation. A major component of the country’s macroeconomic policy has been to attain a low, stable and predictable level of inflation in order to maintain the economy’s global competitiveness and while preserving value for investors and resident businesses alike.
7. Taxation. The World Bank’s Doing Business Report as well as the World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Report have both highlighted the comparatively low levels of taxation in Botswana as an incentive to investment.
8. Information and Communication Technology. Government and the private sector have poured billions of Pula over the years into the development of the country’s ICT backbone, with the rapid roll-out of data, Internet and voice services and increased uptake by businesses and citizens.
9. Infrastructure. Since Independence, Botswana has heavily invested in the nationwide roll-out of primary and secondary infrastructure, bringing world-class roads, dams, electricity, and ICT installations to urban, rural and tourist areas. Since 2009, infrastructure spend has peaked as part of an initiative to pull the economy out of the recession while also sticking to projects outlined in the National Development Plan.
10. Institutions. Investors in Botswana in their various areas of enterprise are guaranteed sufficient institutional support, without the attendant over-regulation, as a result of the global bench-marking and consultations undertaken prior to the establishment of these institutions.
11. Investor Protection. The entrenchment of the rule of law in Botswana from Independence to date and the subsequent enactment and enforcement of investor protection laws in the country, makes it a rarity in a world turning towards resource nationalization and protectionism.
12. Enforcing Contracts. The country’s bedrock of local laws and international agreements has seen it most recently ranked 61th in the world out of 185 economies for enforcement of contracts by the World Bank’s Doing Business Report 2015.
13. Resolving Insolvency. The World Bank’s Doing Business Report 2015 ranks Botswana 49th among 185 economies for the ease of resolving insolvency with a recovery rate of approximately 62.7 cents per dollar invested and a duration estimated at 1.7 years.
14. Accessing Credit. Financial and capital markets in Botswana are among the most sophisticated in Africa, boasting numerous home grown players as well as offshoots of established international groups.
15. Trading Across Borders. Being a landlocked country has traditionally limited Botswana’s competitiveness in lowering the cost and duration of cross-border trade. However, heavy infrastructure spend in aviation, roads, railways and border control as well as policy improvements in trade have helped improve ease of trading across borders from Botswana.
16. Registering Property. The World Bank’s ranks Botswana 51st among 185 countries for the procedures, time and cost of registering property. Legislative improvements have also been passed to assist faster property development, which include the recent passing of amendments to the Town and Country Planning Act.
17. High-net Worth Market. While much has been made of the fact that Botswana’s population is only 2.04-million, the far less spoken story is that this is a high-net worth market of sophisticated consumers. The country’s per capita GDP has risen from an estimated US$70 at Independence in 1966, to the US$7,136 recorded in 2013.
18. Literate Population. Botswana’s heavy investment in education over the years has yielded dividends in data pegging the country’s literacy rate (among citizens aged 15 and above) at about 81%.
19. Skilled Population. The country has developed signifcant human resource skills across mining, construction, financial services, tourism and travel as well as other key economic sectors over the years.
20. Labour Relations. Relations between employers and employees in Botswana have traditionally been amicable, particularly when compared with other parts of the continent. In the public sector, several pieces of legislation and tripartite agreements guide dispute resolution, while private sector entities have similar agreements based on existing laws.
Top 5 Products exported by Botswana
- Pearls, precious stones, metals, coins, etc. (66.3%)
- Nickel and articles thereof (14%)
- Ores, slag, and ash (4.2%)
- Articles of apparel and accessories either knit or crochet (2.8%)
- Articles of apparel and accessories neither knit nor crochet (2.6%)
Top 5 Products imported by Botswana
- Mineral fuels, oils, distillation products, etc. (17.2%)
- Boilers, machinery, nuclear reactors, etc. (11.3%)
- Vehicles other than railway ( 10.4%)
- Pearls, precious stones, metals, coins, etc. (8.2%)
- Electrical and electronic equipment (6.2%)
Okavango Delta becomes 1000th World Heritage Site
The Okavango Delta’s listing as the 1000th World Heritage Site was formalized on 22 June 2014, at the 38th Session of the World Heritage Committee in Doha – finally giving it the stamp of international conservation protection.
For the past seven years, the Wilderness Foundation SA, the Wilderness Foundation UK, and the WILD Foundation (USA) have assisted the Government of Botswana and other stakeholders in realizing this long-held vision.
Consultations were held with key stakeholders including local communities living in and around the Okavango Delta in 36 villages, the National World Heritage Committee, OKACOM, BaTawana Tribal Authority, Dikgosi, NW District Councillors, Members of Parliament, HATAB, NGOs, Ntlo ya Dikgosi and the Okavango Basin Steering Committee.
Kgalagadi Transfrontier National Park
History was made when Botswana and a newly liberated, democratic South Africa signed in 1999 a treaty to form the first transfrontier peace park in Africa.
Plans to formalize the joint management and development of South Africa’s Kalahari Gemsbok National Park and Botswana’s Gemsbok National Park were proposed as early as 1989, but no such partnership was possible during South Africa’s dark years of apartheid. Following South Africa’s independence in 1994, and with the support and encouragement of the Peace Parks Foundation, negotiations concretised; and in May 2002, the park was offcially opened.
This immense wilderness (37 000 sq kms) is now shared by both countries as a protected area, and is jointly managed. The entire park is completely un-fenced, allowing for wildlife to move freely along the ancient migration routes so necessary for their survival in the desert.
Situated in the extreme southwest corner of Botswana, and adjacent to South Africa’s Northern Cape Province, the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park (KTP) is run as a single ecological unit, and gate receipts are shared. Tourist facilities, however, are still run autonomously.
Immigration and customs facilities have been designed to allow travelers to enter the park in one country and depart in the other. The main entry and departure point between the two countries is at the Two Rivers/ Twee Rivieren gate, which also has camping facilities, chalets, shops and a restaurant.
Once upon a time there was a giant superlake covering a vast area of what is Botswana today. The lake was fed by great rivers from the north and it is now known that tectonic factors changed the course of the big rivers feeding the super-lake towards the east, which resulted in the lake drying up.
This, combined with climatic changes resulting in drier conditions and strong winds, gradually filled the lake with sand deposits; the Makgadikgadi was born. The most obvious last remnants of the prehistoric superlake are Makgadikgadi’s large Sua and Ntwetwe Pans, claimed to be the largest salt fats in the world. When you stand on the surface of the perfectly fat, grey pans today, nothing around you but empty, endless horizons, just imagine that there is a 50 to 100 metre thick layer of accumulated clay, gravel and salt below your feet! It is amazing how all this empty space can provide for so much adventure and that is exactly what the Makgadikgadi does; its wildness ignites that quintessential innate desire of mankind to explore the unknown wilderness.
In the dry season it is possible to drive across these enormous salt pans; a must do, but be careful because a sucking, saline slush is hiding beneath the pan’s deceptive, dry crispy crust. Most of the year this truly inhospitable terrain is seemingly devoid from any life of note. Within days of the frst rains, however, this dusty land transforms into a green oasis teeming with life.
Thousands of Burchell’s zebra and blue wildebeest make their way from the Boteti and further, across the Makgadikgadi and Nxai Pan National Parks to feed on the nutritious sweet new grasses, lick from the mineral rich soils and drink fresh water from the pans and natural waterholes. With an estimated 30,000 animals, this is the second largest migration of African ungulates. The staggering numbers of zebra, wildebeest as well as springbok and gemsbok obviously also attract the large predators with lion and cheetah being commonly seen.
It is not only the big game that roams these plains though. One of the most engaging and entertaining animal species that occurs here is the Meerkat, a.k.a Suricate. In the Ntwetwe Pan live a group of Meerkats that have been habituated, but are completely wild and free.
Tourists can visit this group on a guided tour, which is a fantastic way to observe them really close and even to interact with them. If given the opportunity the sentinels will even use you as a vantage point!
One of the most awe-inspiring destinations in the Makgadikgadi area is without doubt Kubu Island (also called Lekhubu Island). This granite rock island, strewn with ancient, fantastically shaped baobabs and star-chestnut trees in the middle of the fat, open, seemingly endless salt pans, is a world apart.
The fossil beaches with rounded pebbles are an indication of the super lake’s former water levels; and many rocks on the island are covered in fossilised guano from the water birds that once perched here.
- Spot antelopes in the Gaborone Game Reserve and the Mokolodi Nature Reserve, and giraffes striding through the Khutse Game Reserve. Be dazzled by flamingos on the Makgadikgadi Pans.
- Search for lions and leopards stalking their prey or just lazing around in the shade in the Moremi Game Reserve.
- Steer clear of charging buffalo in Chobe National Park, and marvel at hippos, while watching out for crocodiles, along the Chobe River.
- Grimace at rare brown hyenas in the Kgalagadi Transfrontier National Park, a bi-national Peace Park created on ancient animal migration routes between Botswana and South Africa.
- Admire Botswana’s remaining rhinos, carefully protected from poachers, at the Khama Rhino Sanctuary in Serowe.
- Watch baboons playing in scattered rocky kopjes in the Savute area, the northern shore of the prehistoric lake that once covered most of Botswana.
- Visit the Tsodilo Hills, considered a sacred site by the Bushmen; known to have been inhabited for at least 100,000 years, these isolated hills are decorated with thousands of rock paintings.
- Venture into the Central Kalahari Game Reserve. Remote and virtually unexplored, it’s a refuge both for animals and the country’s few remaining Bushmen.
- Gaze at the pot pourri of rocks, millions of years old, that make up the incredible scenery of the Tuli Block. For a longer gaze, stay at one of the private game ranches in this ruggedly beautiful countryside.
- See the Okavango Delta, an extremely beautiful region of vast grass flats, low tree-covered ridges and narrow, shallow waterways opening into lagoons which fill with water during the annual flood.