sovereign state in Southern Africa

Botswana (Tswana: Lefatshe la Botswana), officially the Republic of Botswana, is a landlocked country located in Southern Africa. The citizens refer to themselves as "Batswana" (singular: Motswana). Formerly the British protectorate of Bechuanaland, Botswana adopted its new name after becoming independent within the Commonwealth on 30 September 1966. It has held uninterrupted democratic elections since independence.

Flag of Botswana
Map of Botswana
House of the Parliament of Botswana in Gaborone

A mid-sized country of just over two million people, Botswana is one of the most sparsely populated countries in the world. Botswana was one of the poorest countries in Africa when it gained independence from the United Kingdom in 1966, with a GDP per capita of about US $70 per year. Botswana has since transformed itself, becoming one of the fastest-growing economies in the world with a GDP (purchasing power parity) per capita of about $14,000 per year, and a high gross national income, possibly the fourth-largest in Africa, giving the country a modest standard of living.

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  • It is often said that Africa is doomed to underdevelopment due to history, geography, ethnicity, culture, climate, disease, drought or any other factor. But how do we know that it is not rather a matter of corrupt leaders destroying the possibilities of Africans with control, corruption and confiscation? Imagine that an African country had taken a different path after independence, had developed democracy, independent courts and freedom of the press, and had applied free enterprise, low taxes and free trade? Could it not have worked even there, even though the country may have lacked a coastline, mostly consists of desert and was hit harder than others by HIV/AIDS? In fact, there is one such country: Botswana in southern Africa. How did it work? Very well, thank you. In fact, better than in any other country in the world.
    • Johan Norberg, The Capitalist Manifesto: Why the Global Free Market Will Save the World (2023)
  • During the forty years after 1960, the Asian tigers and China grew annually between 5.2 and 5.8 per cent per capita. Botswana, on the other hand, grew by an incredible 6.4 per cent on average – more than ten times faster than the world average. Since 1985, extreme poverty has declined from 42 to 15 per cent, compared with 40 per cent in Africa as a whole. Some would object that this is only because Botswana has diamonds. But valuable natural resources are more the rule than the exception in Africa, and are often something that creates conflict and stagnation. What distinguishes Botswana in the region is not the resources but the fact that it did not nationalize them. Instead it privatized them, and after independence from Britain in 1966 it created a stable regulatory framework that attracted foreign investment.
    • Johan Norberg, The Capitalist Manifesto: Why the Global Free Market Will Save the World (2023)

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