A Comprehensive Overview of Botswana

Geography and Climate

Botswana, a landlocked country located in Southern Africa north of South Africa, spans an area of 581,730 sq km. The nation’s geography is characterized by a mix of 566,730 sq km of land and 15,000 sq km of water. Neighboring countries include Namibia with a 1,544 km border, South Africa at 1,969 km, a minimal border with Zambia at 0.15 km, and Zimbabwe extending 834 km. Despite its significant size, Botswana has no coastline. The climate is semiarid, experiencing warm winters and hot summers, which affects the largely flat to gently rolling tableland. The southwest region is dominated by the Kalahari Desert. Interestingly, the elevation varies from the junction of the Limpopo and Shashe Rivers at 513 m, the lowest point, to Tsodilo Hills at 1,489 m, the highest point.

Natural Resources and Environment

Botswana’s wealth in natural resources is substantial, with diamonds leading the list, followed by copper, nickel, salt, soda ash, potash, coal, iron ore, and silver. These resources play a crucial role in the country’s economy. Approximately 45.80% of the land is devoted to agriculture, while forests cover about 19.80%. As of 2012, irrigated land was estimated to be around 20 sq km. However, the population distribution is significantly uneven, concentrated mainly in the east around the capital city of Gaborone and Francistown, leaving the vast expanses of the Kalahari less populated.

People and Society

As of July 2020, Botswana’s population was estimated at 2,317,233 individuals. The people of Botswana are known as Motswana (singular) or Batswana (plural), with English being the official language. Urbanization is on the rise, with an estimated 70.90% of the population living in urban areas in 2020. Gaborone, the capital, is the most populous urban area with approximately 269,000 residents in 2018.

Economy and Infrastructure

Agriculture and Industry

The backbone of Botswana’s economy includes agriculture, focusing on livestock and crops such as sorghum, maize, millet, beans, sunflowers, and groundnuts. Industries revolve around the country’s rich natural resources, including diamond mining, copper, nickel, salt, soda ash, and beef processing. Textile manufacturing also contributes to the economy.

Trade and Investment

Botswana’s export partners are diverse, with Belgium at 20.3%, India at 12.6%, UAE at 12.4%, South Africa at 11.9%, Singapore at 8.7%, Israel at 7%, Hong Kong at 4.1%, and Namibia also at 4.1% as of 2017. Main export products encompass diamonds, copper, nickel, soda ash, beef, and textiles. On the import front, main partners include South Africa at 66.1%, Canada at 8.3%, and Israel at 5.3%, focusing on foodstuffs, machinery, electrical goods, and fuel among other items.

Energy and Development

Electrification has been a significant focus, with 60.7% of the total population having access to electricity as of 2016. Economic development is reflected in the GDP per capita, which was estimated at $17,000 in 2017. Such figures reveal Botswana’s ongoing efforts towards growth and modernization despite the geographical and climatic challenges it faces.


Botswana stands as a beacon of progress and stability in Southern Africa, underpinned by a wealth of natural resources and a growing economy. Its landscapes range from the arid Kalahari Desert to fertile agricultural lands, supporting both traditional lifestyles and modern urban living. As Botswana continues to develop, it remains mindful of its environmental responsibilities and the well-being of its citizens, positioning itself as a significant player in the region’s future.

Country data

Country Code BC
Region Africa
Surface 581730 sq km
Land Surface 566730 sq km
Water Surface 15000 sq km
Agricultural Surface 45.80%
Forest Surface 19.80%
Lowest Elevation Point junction of the Limpopo and Shashe Rivers 513 m
Highest Elevation Point Tsodilo Hills 1,489 m
GDP / capita $17,000 (2017 est.)