Republic of Botswana


Botswana is one of the most sparsely populated countries in southern Africa (just 3,5 people per km²), with approximately 2,065 million people living in the country; many of whom live in the larger urban areas, including Gaborone, Francistown and Molepolole. Water is a very important resource in Botswana, so much so that the national currency is called the Pula – or rain. While Botswana lives in a fine balance of water availability/scarcity, it is blessed with significant natural resources, including precious stones and metals, most notably diamonds.

Botswana plays a primarily observational role in the Orange-Senqu River basin, as the Molopo River, the only tributary in Botswana, has not flowed to join the Orange-Senqu River in living memory. Localised flows are reported somewhat infrequently, following intense episodic rainfall events, which are characteristic of the region. Thus, most of the water resources present in the basin are groundwater sources. However, the Department of Water Affairs is actively involved in the Orange-Senqu River Commission (ORASECOM), with members participating in all levels of the institution. 

Key indicators and data

Capital city: Gaborone
Population (CSO estimate for 2011): 2 038 228
Population living in rural areas (2008 estimate):


Date of independence: 30 September 1966
Human Development Index (2008): 0,664
126th out of 179 countries
Access to improved drinking water sources (2002): Urban: 100%
Rural: 90%
Access to Improved Sanitation (2002): Urban: 57%
Rural: 25%
Groundwater as a source of potable water: 76%
GDP (2008 est): US$13,81 billion (total)
US$15 800 (per capita)
Primary sectors: Agriculture: 1,6%
Industry: 52,6% (incl. 36% mining)
Services: 45,8%
Main exports: Diamonds, copper, nickel, beef
Neighbouring countries: Namibia, South Africa, Zimbabwe
Area of land in the Orange-Senqu River basin: 79 000 km²
Percentage of the Orange-Senqu River basin: 7.9 %

Sources: Central Statistics Office (2006), Globalis GVU UNEP (2009), World Factbook (2009), BBC Monitoring (2009), UNHDR (2008);



The coat of arms of Botswana.
( click to enlarge )

Source:Hatfield 2009
( click to enlarge )