The defense includes (2008) 9,000 men enlisted and is organized into three (small) brigades and 35 fighter aircraft. Semi-military security forces amount to 1,500 men. The material, older and of Soviet origin with low reliability, has been partially replaced by more modern Western material, including ten fighter aircraft F-5A (Freedom Fighter). To see related acronyms about this country, please check ABBREVIATIONFINDER where you can see that BWA stands for Botswana.
Defense costs increased in 1985-96 from 1.1% to 6.7% of GDP and then to 3% of GDP (2006). Botswana participates in UN peacekeeping operations with observers in Sudan (United Nations Mission in Sudan, UNMIS, and African Union Mission in Sudan, AUMIS).
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Botswana has been an independent southern African state since 1966, after being a British protectorate. The population is quite homogeneous and 80% belongs to the beciuana or tswana group. One of the country’s most relevant geopolitical data is the absence of an outlet to the sea, which makes it potentially dependent on its neighbors, especially South Africa. On a political level, Botswana is one of the most virtuous countries on the entire African continent: it has a multi-party democratic system and elections are generally transparent. The perceived corruption index is rather low and, according to the latest surveys, Botswana ranks 31st in the world, ranking as the first African country and ahead of many European countries. The elections of October 2014 were won by the governing party of the Botswana Democratic Party (Bdp) which, having established itself in 37 of the 57 national constituencies, obtained as many seats in parliament by virtue of the majority electoral system. President Seretse Khama Ian Khama (in office since 2008), emerged strengthened from the polls, although the popular vote of the Bdp has slightly decreased compared to the previous elections in 2009; all this also because of the divisions within the opposition, united in the tripartite alliance of Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC). The Bdp also counts on the majority in the institutional consultative body that supports the parliament: of the 30 members, eight represent the largest Tswana subgroups and are appointed for life.
The economy of Botswana is one of the most prosperous in Africa and economic freedom is high, so much so that the country ranks 36th in the world in relation to this specific ranking. The main source of income is constituted by diamond mines, of which Botswana is the second largest world producer behind Russia (contributing 25% of global production). This industry constitutes about 30% of the GDP and one of the main objectives of the government is to diversify the economic system with respect to this hegemonic source of income. Tourism is expanding and amounts to about 12% of GDP, thanks above all to the particular ecosystem of the country, which makes it an attractive tourist destination from the point of view of natural beauty. The development of the diamond industry and tourism in natural parks has often occurred to the detriment of indigenous peoples such as the San (or Basarwa), victims of relocation and expropriation. Recently, indigenous peoples have won some important causes, displaying growing activism and forcing the government to review its policy on respect for human and minority rights.
Alongside its excellent political and macroeconomic performance, Botswana has been hit hard by the spread of HIV: the prevalence rate of the virus is 21.9%, one of the highest in the world, but it is also true that the country offers a coverage of antiretrovirals for 95% of HIV-positive individuals, ranking as the most efficient system in Africa.
Regional relations are generally good, especially with South Africa, from which Botswana imports most of its products. Exports, on the other hand, are mostly directed to Europe and above all to the United Kingdom (London serves as a sorting market for diamonds). Botswana is home to the headquarters of the Southern African Development Community (Sadc).