Peace Corps Volunteers respond to various needs that impact Africa's development. Peace Corps has continued to develop a strong partnership with the people of Africa. Volunteers currently work in the areas of education, health and HIV/AIDS, business development, agriculture, and the environment. Africa currently represents 39% of Peace Corps Volunteers.

Statistics about Botswana:

Location:  Botswana is in Southern Africa, just north of South Africa

Land Boundaries:  Namibia, South Africa, and Zimbabwe

Geography:  Slightly smaller than TEXAS. The terrain is predominantly flat to gentle rolling tableland. The great Kalahari Desert lies in the southwest of the country. The climate is semi-arid with warm winters and hot summers. The lowest point in Botswana is at the junction of the Limpopo and Shashe Rivers which measures 513 m. The highest point is at the Tsodilo Hills at 1,489 m. Botswana is landlocked and most of its population lives in the east of the country.

Climate:  The Botswana climate is predominantly semi arid with two main seasons, winter and summer. The summer season extends from October to April. Summers are rainy with hot days and warm nights. Most of the rainfall occurs between January and March. Winter starts in May and ends in August/September. Winters are dry, sunny and cool.

Population:  Just over 1.5 million people live in Botswana. Life expectancy is around 54.2 years. Birth rate is on average 3.1 per woman. 37% of the population is believed to have HIV/AIDS.

Literacy Rate: over 79%

Language: Setswana, English, and some indigenous languages

Religion: 85% indigenous beliefs, 15% Christian

Political History: Formerly the British protectorate of Bechuanaland, Botswana adopted its new name upon independence in 1966. Four decades of uninterrupted civilian leadership, progressive social policies, and significant capital investment have created one of the most dynamic economies in Africa. Mineral extraction, principally diamond mining, dominates economic activity, though tourism is a growing sector due to the country's conservation practices and extensive nature preserves. Botswana has one of the world's highest known rates of HIV/AIDS infection, but also one of Africa's most progressive and comprehensive programs for dealing with the disease.

Economic Overview: Botswana has maintained one of the world's highest growth rates since independence in 1966. Through fiscal discipline and sound management, Botswana has transformed itself from one of the poorest countries in the world to a middle-income country with a per capita GDP of $8,800 in 2003. Two major investment services rank Botswana as the best credit risk in Africa. Diamond mining has fueled much of the expansion and currently accounts for more than one-third of GDP and for nine-tenths of export earnings. Tourism, subsistence farming, and cattle raising are other key sectors. On the downside, the government must deal with high rates of unemployment and poverty. Unemployment officially is 21%, but unofficial estimates place it closer to 40%. HIV/AIDS infection rates are the highest in the world and threaten Botswana's impressive economic gains. Long-term prospects are overshadowed by the expected leveling off in diamond mining production.

Miscellaneous Facts:
  • Botswana has one of Africa's most advanced programs for dealing with HIV/AIDS.
  • Botswana has the largest elephant population in Africa
  • Botswana is a multiparty democracy and has never experienced a military coup or any major civil unrest since independence.
  • The national football team of Botswana is known as the Zebra's. Their record unfortunately has not been glorious having never qualified for neither the World Cup nor the African Cup of Nations.
  • Popular food dishes in Botswana include 'Seswaa' a traditional meat dish made for special occasions served with pap, a soft maize meal and 'Serobe' made from the innards goat, sheep or cow and cooked until soft.
  • There are two Television networks in Botswana, the privately owned Gaborone Broadcasting Corporation Television and the state owned Botswana Television Service which was set up in 2000. Satellite TV broadcasts are also available from South Africa.
  • The Botswana national anthem is 'Fatshe leno la rona' which is Tswana (the national language) for 'Blessed Be This Noble Land'.

Flag:  The Botswana flag was officially adopted on September 30, 1966. The colors on the flag correspond to those on the national coat of arms. The blue represents water, the white-black-white bands depict the racial harmony of the people as well as the pluralist nature of the society. They are inspired by the coat of the zebra, the national animal.

Coat of Arms:  The Botswana Coat of Arms was adopted on January 25, 1966. It has a center shield that is supported by two zebras. The zebra indicate the importance of wildlife in Botswana. The top portion of the shield has three cogwheels which represent the mining industry of Botswana. At the center of the shield are 3 blue waves which represent water and its importance in the country. At the bottom of the shield is a head of a cow which symbolize the importance of cattle herding in Botswana. The Zebra on the right holds sorghum showing the important role farming plays in the lives of Batswana. The Zebra on the left holds an ivory task. This is a symbol of the ivory trade of the past.