Gabon, officially the Gabonese Republic (French: République Gabonaise) is a sovereign state on the west coast of Central Africa. Located on the equator, Gabon is bordered by Equatorial Guinea to the northwest, Cameroon to the north, the Republic of the Congo on the east and south, and the Atlantic Ocean's Gulf of Guinea to the westDell Latitude E5420 Battery. It has an area of nearly 270,000 square kilometres (100,000 sq mi) and its population is estimated at 1.5 million people. Its capital and largest city is Libreville.
Since its independence from France on August 17, 1960, Gabon has been ruled by three presidents. In the early 1990s, Gabon introduced a multi-party system and a new democratic constitution that allowed for a more transparent electoral process and reformed many governmental institutionsDell Latitude E5520 Battery. Gabon was also a non-permanent member of the United Nations Security Council for the 2010–2011 term.
Low population density, abundant petroleum, and foreign private investment[ambiguous] have helped make Gabon one of the most prosperous countries in Sub-Saharan Africa, with the highest HDI and the third highest GDP per capita (PPP) (after Equatorial Guinea and Botswana) in the regionDell Latitude E6120 Battery.
Main article: History of Gabon
A map of West Africa in 1670.
The earliest inhabitants of the area were Pygmy peoples. They were largely replaced and absorbed by Bantu tribes as they migrated.
In the 15th century, the first Europeans arrived. The nation's present name originates from "Gabão", Portuguese for "cloak", which is roughly the shape of the estuary of the Komo River by Libreville. By the 18th centuryDell Latitude E6220 Battery, a Myeni speaking kingdom known as Orungu formed in Gabon which traded heavily with Europeans. French explorer Pierre Savorgnan de Brazza led his first mission to the Gabon-Congo area in 1875. He founded the town of Franceville, and was later colonial governor. Several Bantu groups lived in the area that is now Gabon when France officially occupied it in 1885Dell Latitude E6320 Battery.
In 1910, Gabon became one of the four territories of French Equatorial Africa, a federation that survived until 1959. These territories became independent on August 17, 1960. The first president of Gabon, elected in 1961, was Léon M'ba, with Omar Bongo Ondimba as his vice president. French interests were decisive in selecting the future leadership in Gabon after IndependenceDell Latitude E6420 Battery; French logging interests poured funds into the successful election campaign of M'ba, an évolué from the coastal region.
After M'ba's accession to power, the press was suppressed, political demonstrations banned, freedom of expression curtailed, other political parties gradually excluded from power and the Constitution changed along French lines to vest power in the Presidency, a post that M'ba assumed himselfDell Latitude E6520 Battery. However, when M'ba dissolved the National Assembly in January 1964 to institute one-party rule, an army coup sought to oust him from power and restore parliamentary democracy. The extent to which M'ba's dictatorial regime was synonymous with "French Interests" then became blatantly apparent when French paratroopers flew in within 24 hours to restore M'ba to powerDell Latitude D420 Battery.
After a few days of fighting, the coup was over and the opposition imprisoned, despite widespread protests and riots. The French government was unperturbed by international condemnation of the intervention, and paratroops still remain in the Camp de Gaulle on the outskirts of Gabon's capital. When M'Ba died in 1967, Bongo replaced him as presidentDell Latitude D430 Battery.
In March 1968, Bongo declared Gabon a one-party state by dissolving the BDG and establishing a new party—the Parti Democratique Gabonais (PDG). He invited all Gabonese, regardless of previous political affiliation, to participate. Bongo sought to forge a single national movement in support of the government's development policiesDell Studio 1450 Battery, using the PDG as a tool to submerge the regional and tribal rivalries that had divided Gabonese politics in the past. Bongo was elected President in February 1975; in April 1975, the position of vice president was abolished and replaced by the position of prime minister, who had no right to automatic succession. Bongo was re-elected President in both December 1979 and November 1986 to 7-year terms. Dell Studio 1457 Battery
Economic discontent and a desire for political liberalization provoked violent demonstrations and strikes by students and workers in early 1990. In response to grievances by workers, Bongo negotiated with them on a sector-by-sector basis, making significant wage concessions. In addition, he promised to open up the PDG and to organize a national political conference in March–April 1990 to discuss Gabon's future political systemDell Studio 1458 Battery. The PDG and 74 political organizations attended the conference. Participants essentially divided into two loose coalitions, the ruling PDG and its allies, and the United Front of Opposition Associations and Parties, consisting of the breakaway Morena Fundamental and the Gabonese Progress Party. Dell Latitude D410 Battery
The April 1990 conference approved sweeping political reforms, including creation of a national Senate, decentralization of the budgetary process, freedom of assembly and press, and cancellation of an exit visa requirement. In an attempt to guide the political system's transformation to multiparty democracy, Bongo resigned as PDG chairman and created a transitional government headed by a new Prime Minister, Casimir Oye-MbaDell Inspiron 9100 Battery. The Gabonese Social Democratic Grouping (RSDG), as the resulting government was called, was smaller than the previous government and included representatives from several opposition parties in its cabinet. The RSDG drafted a provisional constitution in May 1990 that provided a basic bill of rights and an independent judiciary but retained strong executive powers for the presidentDell Inspiron XPS Battery. After further review by a constitutional committee and the National Assembly, this document came into force in March 1991.
Opposition to the PDG continued after the April 1990 conference, however, and in September 1990, two coup d'état attempts were uncovered and aborted. Despite anti-government demonstrations after the untimely death of an opposition leaderDell Inspiron 1320 Battery, the first multiparty National Assembly elections in almost 30 years took place in September–October 1990, with the PDG garnering a large majority.
Following President Omar Bongo's re-election in December 1993 with 51% of the vote, opposition candidates refused to validate the election results. Serious civil disturbances led to an agreement between the government and opposition factions to work toward a political settlementDell Inspiron 1470 Battery. These talks led to the Paris Accords in November 1994, under which several opposition figures were included in a government of national unity. This arrangement soon broke down, however, and the 1996 and 1997 legislative and municipal elections provided the background for renewed partisan politics. The PDG won a landslide victory in the legislative election, but several major cities, including Libreville, elected opposition mayors during the 1997 local election. Dell Inspiron 1570 Battery
Facing a divided opposition, President Omar Bongo coasted to easy re-election in December 1998, with large majorities of the vote. While Bongo's major opponents rejected the outcome as fraudulent, some international observers characterized the results as representative despite many perceived irregularities, and there were none of the civil disturbances that followed the 1993 electiondell inspiron 500M battery. Peaceful though flawed legislative elections held in 2001–2002, which were boycotted by a number of smaller opposition parties and were widely criticized for their administrative weaknesses, produced a National Assembly almost completely dominated by the PDG and allied independents. In November 2005, President Omar Bongo was elected for his sixth termdell inspiron 600M battery. He won re-election easily, but opponents claim that the balloting process was marred by irregularities. There were some instances of violence following the announcement of Omar Bongo's win, but Gabon generally remained peaceful.
National Assembly elections were held again in December 2006. Several seats contested because of voting irregularities were overturned by the Constitutional Courtdell inspiron 630M battery, but the subsequent run-off elections in early 2007 again yielded a PDG-controlled National Assembly.
On June 8, 2009, President Omar Bongo died of cardiac arrest at a Spanish hospital in Barcelona, ushering in a new era in Gabonese politics. In accordance with the amended constitution, Rose Francine Rogombé, the President of the Senate, became Interim President on June 10, 2009dell inspiron 640M battery. The first contested elections in Gabon's history that did not include Omar Bongo as a candidate were held on August 30, 2009 with 18 candidates for president. The lead-up to the elections saw some isolated protests, but no significant disturbances. Omar Bongo's son, ruling party leader Ali Bongo Ondimba, was formally declared the winner after a 3-week review by the Constitutional Court; his inauguration took place on October 16, 2009. dell inspiron 6000 battery
The court's review had been prompted by claims of fraud by the many opposition candidates, with the initial announcement of election results sparking unprecedented violent protests in Port-Gentil, the country's second-largest city and a long-time bastion of opposition to PDG rule. The citizens of Port-Gentil took to the streets, and numerous shops and residences were burneddell inspiron 6400 battery, including the French Consulate and a local prison. Officially, only four deaths occurred during the riots, but opposition and local leaders claim many more. Gendarmes and the military were deployed to Port-Gentil to support the beleaguered police, and a curfew was in effect for more than 3 months. dell inspiron 9200 battery
A partial legislative by-election was held in June 2010. A newly created coalition of parties, the Union Nationale (UN), participated for the first time. The UN is composed largely of PDG defectors who left the party after Omar Bongo's death. Of the five hotly contested seats, the PDG won three and the UN won two; both sides claimed victory. dell inspiron 9300 battery
Main article: Politics of Gabon
Former President Omar Bongo Ondimba in 2004
Gabon is a republic with a presidential form of government under the 1961 constitution (revised in 1975, rewritten in 1991, and revised in 2003). The president is elected by universal suffrage for a 7-year term; a 2003 constitutional amendment removed presidential term limits and facilitated a presidency for life. The president can appoint and dismiss the prime ministerdell inspiron 9400 battery, the cabinet, and judges of the independent Supreme Court. The president also has other strong powers, such as authority to dissolve the National Assembly, declare a state of siege, delay legislation, and conduct referenda.
The country has a bicameral legislature with a National Assembly and Senate. The National Assembly has 120 deputies who are popularly elected for a 5-year termdell inspiron e1505 battery. The Senate is composed of 102 members who are elected by municipal councils and regional assemblies and serve for 6 years. The Senate was created in the 1990–1991 constitutional re-write, although it was not brought into being until after the 1997 local elections. The President of the Senate is next in succession to the President.
In 1990 the government made major changes to Gabon's political systemdell inspiron e1705 battery. A transitional constitution was drafted in May 1990 as an outgrowth of the national political conference in March–April and later revised by a constitutional committee. Among its provisions were a Western-style bill of rights, creation of a National Council of Democracy to oversee the guarantee of those rights, a governmental advisory board on economic and social issues, and an independent judiciarydell latitude d820 battery. After approval by the National Assembly, the PDG Central Committee, and the President, the Assembly unanimously adopted the constitution in March 1991. Multiparty legislative elections were held in 1990–91, despite the fact that opposition parties had not been declared formally legal. In spite of this, the elections produced the first representative, multiparty National Assemblydell latitude d830 battery. In January 1991, the Assembly passed by unanimous vote a law governing the legalization of opposition parties.
After President Omar Bongo was re-elected in a disputed presidential election in 1993 with 51% of votes cast, social and political disturbances led to the 1994 Paris Conference and Accords, which provided a framework for the next electionsDell Latitude E5500 Battery. Local and legislative elections were delayed until 1996–97. In 1997, constitutional amendments put forward years earlier were adopted to create the Senate and the position of vice president, as well as to extend the president's term to 7 years.
In October 2009, newly elected President Ali Bongo Ondimba began efforts to streamline the government. He eliminated 17 minister-level positions. He also abolished the vice president position and reorganized the portfolios of numerous ministriesDell Latitude E5400 Battery, bureaus, and directorates with the intention of reducing corruption and government bloat. In November 2009, President Bongo Ondimba announced a new vision for the modernization of Gabon, called "Gabon Emergent." This program contains three pillars: Green Gabon, Service Gabon, and Industrial GabonDELL Latitude E5410 Battery. The goals of Gabon Emergent are to diversify the economy so that Gabon becomes less reliant on petroleum, to eliminate corruption, and to modernize the workforce. Under this program, exports of raw timber have been banned, a government-wide census was held, the work day has been changed to eliminate a long midday break, and a national oil company was created. DELL Latitude E5510 Battery
For administrative purposes, Gabon is divided into 9 provinces, which are further divided into 36 prefectures and 8 separate subprefectures. The president appoints the provincial governors, the prefects, and the subprefects.
In provisional results, the ruling Gabonese Democratic Party (PDG) won 84 out of 120 parliamentary seatsdell latitude e6400 battery.
Gabon has a small, professional military of about 5,000 personnel, divided into army, navy, air force, gendarmerie, and national police. Gabonese forces are oriented to the defense of the country and have not been trained for an offensive role. A 1,800-member guard provides security for the president. dell latitude e6500 battery
Since independence, Gabon has followed a nonaligned policy, advocating dialogue in international affairs and recognizing each side of divided countries. In inter-African affairs, Gabon espouses development by evolution rather than revolution and favors regulated free enterprise as the system most likely to promote rapid economic growthDELL Latitude E6510 Battery. Gabon played an important leadership role in the stability of Central Africa through involvement in mediation efforts in Chad, the Central African Republic, Angola, the Republic of the Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (D.R.C.), and Burundi.
In December 1999, through the mediation efforts of President Bongo, a peace accord was signed in the Republic of the Congo (Brazzaville) DELL Precision M2400 Battery between the government and most leaders of an armed rebellion. President Bongo was also involved in the continuing D.R.C. peace process, and played a role in mediating the crisis in Côte d'Ivoire. Gabonese armed forces were also an integral part of the Central African Economic and Monetary Community (CEMAC) mission to the Central African RepublicDELL Precision M4400 Battery.
Gabon is a member of the United Nations (UN) and some of its specialized and related agencies, as well as of the World Bank; the IMF; the African Union (AU); the Central African Customs Union/Central African Economic and Monetary Community (UDEAC/CEMAC); EU/ACP association under the Lome Convention; the Communaute Financiere Africaine (CFA) DELL Precision M4500 Battery; the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC); the Nonaligned Movement; and the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS/CEEAC), among others. In 1995, Gabon withdrew from the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC). Gabon was elected to a non-permanent seat on the UN Security Council for January 2010 through December 2011 and held the rotating presidency in March 2010. DELL Precision M6400 Battery
On January 25, 2011, opposition leader André Mba Obame claimed the presidency, saying the country should be run by someone the people really wanted. He also selected 19 ministers for his government, and the entire group, along with hundreds of others, spent the night at United Nations headquarters. On January 26, the government dissolved Mba Obame's partyDELL Precision M6500 Battery. African Union chairman Jean Ping said that Mba Obame's action "hurts the integrity of legitimate institutions and also endangers the peace, the security and the stability of Gabon." Interior Minister Jean-François Ndongou accused Mba Obame and his supporters of treason. The UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon, said that he recognized Ondimba as the only official Gabonese presidentdell xps m1210 battery.
Provinces and departments
Satellite image of Gabon
Main article: Geography of Gabon
Gabon is located on the Atlantic coast of central Africa. Located on the equator, between latitudes 3°N and 4°S, and longitudes 8° and 15°E. Gabon generally has an equatorial climate with an extensive system of rainforests covering 85% of the country. There are three distinct regions: the coastal plains (ranging between 20 to 300 km from the ocean's shore) dell xps m1330 battery, the mountains (the Cristal Mountains to the northeast of Libreville, the Chaillu Massif in the centre, culminating at 1575 m with Mont Iboundji), and the savanna in the east. The coastal plains form a large section of the World Wildlife Fund's Atlantic Equatorial coastal forests ecoregion and contain patches of Central African mangroves especially on the Muni River estuary on the border with Equatorial Guineadell xps m1530 battery.
Gabon's largest river is the Ogooué which is 1200 km long. Gabon has three karst areas where there are hundreds of caves located in the dolomite and limestone rocks. Some of the caves include Grotte du Lastoursville, Grotte du Lebamba, Grotte du Bongolo, and Grotte du Kessipougou. Many caves have not been explored yet. A National Geographic Expedition visited the caves in the summer of 2008 to document them (Expedition Website) dell xps m1710 battery.
Gabon is also noted for efforts to preserve the natural environment. In 2002, President Omar Bongo Ondimba put Gabon firmly on the map as an important future ecotourism destination by designating roughly 10% of the nation's territory to be part of its national park system (with 13 parks in total), one of the largest proportions of nature parkland in the worlddell xps m1730 battery. Natural resources include: petroleum, magnesium, iron, gold, uranium, and forests.
See also: List of places in Gabon
Main article: Economy of Gabon
Gabon's economy is dominated by oil. Oil revenues comprise roughly 46% of the government's budget, 43% of gross domestic product (GDP), and 81% of exports. Oil production is now declining rapidly from its high point of 370,000 barrels per day in 1997. Some estimates suggest that Gabonese oil will be expended by 2025. In spite of the decreasing oil revenues, planning is only now beginning for an after-oil scenario. Dell Vostro 1710 Battery
Gabonese public expenditures from the years of significant oil revenues were not spent efficiently. Overspending on the Transgabonais railroad, the oil price shock of 1986, the CFA franc devaluation of 1994, and low oil prices in the late 1990s caused serious debt problems that still plague the country. Dell Vostro 1720 Battery
Gabon earned a poor reputation with the Paris Club and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) over the management of its debt and revenues. Successive IMF missions have criticized the government for overspending on off-budget items (in good years and bad), over-borrowing from the Central Bank, and slipping on the schedule for privatization and administrative reformdell studio xps 1340 battery. However, in September 2005, Gabon successfully concluded a 15-month Stand-By Arrangement with the IMF. Another 3-year Stand-By Arrangement with the IMF was approved in May 2007. Because of the financial crisis and social developments surrounding the death of President Omar Bongo and the elections, Gabon was unable to meet its economic goals under the Stand-By Arrangement in 2009. Negotiations with the IMF are ongoing. dell studio xps 13 battery
Graphical depiction of Gabon's export products, in 28 color-coded categories.
Gabon's oil revenues have given it a strong per capita GDP of $8,600, extremely high for the region. However the income distribution is skewed and social indicators show poor values. The richest 20% of the population receive over 90% of the income while about a third of the Gabonese population lives in poverty. dell Studio XPS 16 battery
The economy is highly dependent on extraction of abundant primary materials. Prior to the discovery of oil, logging was the pillar of the Gabonese economy. Today, logging and manganese mining are the other major income generators. Recent explorations point to the presence of the world's largest unexploited iron ore deposit. For many living in the countryside without access to employment in extractive industriesdell Studio XPS 1640 battery, remittances from family members in urban areas or subsistence activities provide income.
Many foreign and local observers have consistently lamented the lack of diversity in the Gabonese economy. Various factors have so far stymied additional industries—a small market of about 1 million people, dependence on French importsdell Studio XPS 1645 battery, inability to capitalize on regional markets, lack of entrepreneurial zeal among the Gabonese, and the fairly regular stream of oil "rent". Further investment in agricultural or tourism sectors is complicated by poor infrastructure. The small processing and service sectors that do exist are largely dominated by a few prominent local investors. dell Studio XPS 1647 battery
At World Bank and IMF insistence, the government embarked in the 1990s on a program of privatization of its state-owned companies and administrative reform, including reducing public sector employment and salary growth, but progress has been slow. The new government has voiced a commitment to work toward an economic transformation of the country but faces significant challenges to realize this goal. dell Studio 17 battery
Main article: Demographics of Gabon
See also: Languages of Gabon
Population of Gabon from 1960 to 2010 (in Millions).
Gabon has a population that is estimated at 1,545,255. Historical and environmental factors caused Gabon's population to decline between 1900 and 1940. It has one of the lowest population densities of any country in Africa, and the highest Human Development Index in Sub-Saharan Africa. dell Studio 1749 battery
Almost all Gabonese are of Bantu origin, though Gabon has at least forty ethnic groups with diverse languages and cultures. The Fang are generally thought to be the largest, although recent census data seem to favor the Nzebi. Others include the Myene, Kota, Shira, Puru, and Kande. Ethnic boundaries are less sharply drawn in Gabon than elsewhere in Africa. There are also various Pygmy peoplesdell Studio 1745 battery: the Bongo, Kota, and Baka; the latter speak the only non-Bantu language in Gabon.
Most ethnicities are spread throughout Gabon, leading to constant contact and interaction among the groups. Intermarriage between the ethnicities is quite common, helping reduce ethnic tensions. French, the language of its former colonial ruler, is a unifying force. The Democratic Party of Gabon (PDG)'s historical dominance alsodell Studio 1747 battery has served to unite various ethnicities and local interests into a larger whole. More than 10,000 native French live in Gabon, including an estimated 2,000 dual nationals. It is estimated that 80% of the country's population can speak French, and that 30% of Libreville residents are native speakers of the language. Nationally, 32% of the Gabonese people speak the Fang language as a mother tongue. In October 2012, Dell Inspiron 1440 Battery just before the 14th summit of the Organisation internationale de la Francophonie, the country declared an intention to add English as a second official language, reportedly in response to an investigation by France into corruption in the African country. However, a representative of Ali Bongo Ondimba said: “Gabon wants to develop and give itself the best opportunitiesDell Inspiron 1750 Battery. When you leave the French-speaking space, if you don't know English, you are almost handicapped. It's a question of diversifying our partnerships, ensuring that the people of Gabon are armed and better armed. French researchers publish in English and in most international conferences French experts contribute in English, while Africans have become practically the only people to contribute in French.” Dell Inspiron 14 Battery
Major religions practiced in Gabon include Christianity (Roman Catholicism and Protestantism), Bwiti, Islam, and indigenous animistic religion. Many persons practice elements of both Christianity and traditional indigenous religious beliefs. Approximately 73 percent of the population, including noncitizens, practice at least some elements of ChristianityDell Inspiron 1464 Battery, including the syncretistic Bwiti; 12 percent practice Islam (of whom 80 to 90 percent are foreigners); 10 percent practice traditional indigenous religious beliefs exclusively; and 5 percent practice no religion or are atheists. Gabon's literacy rate is 63.2%.
Culture and media
Gabonese music is lesser-known in comparison with regional giants like the Democratic Republic of the Congo and CameroonDell Inspiron 15 Battery. The country boasts an array of folk styles, as well as pop stars like Patience Dabany and Annie Flore Batchiellilys, a Gabonese singer and renowned live performer. Also known are guitarists like Georges Oyendze, La Rose Mbadou and Sylvain Avara, and the singer Oliver N'Goma. Imported rock and hip hop from the US and UK are popular in Gabon, as are rumba, makossa and soukous. Gabonese folk instruments include the obala, the ngombi, balafon and traditional drumsDell Inspiron 1564 Battery.
A country with a primarily oral tradition up until the spread of literacy in the 21st century, Gabon is rich in folklore and mythology. "Raconteurs" are currently working to keep traditions alive such as the mvett among the Fangs and the ingwala among the Nzebis.
Gabon also features internationally celebrated masks, such as the n'goltang (Fang) and the relicary figures of the Kota. Each group has its own set of masks used for various reasonsDell Inspiron 17 Battery. They are mostly used in traditional ceremonies such as marriage, birth and funerals. Traditionalists mainly work with rare local woods and other precious materials.
Radio-Diffusion Télévision Gabonaise (RTG), which is owned and operated by the government, broadcasts in French and indigenous languages. Color television broadcasts have been introduced in major citiesDell Inspiron 1764 Battery. In 1981, a commercial radio station, Africa No. 1, began operations. The most powerful radio station on the continent, it has participation from the French and Gabonese governments and private European media.
In 2004, the government operated two radio stations and another seven were privately owned. There were also two government television stations and four privately owned. In 2003, there were an estimated 488 radios and 308 television sets for every 1,000 peopleDell Studio 1440 Battery. About 11.5 of every 1,000 people were cable subscribers. Also in 2003, there were 22.4 personal computers for every 1,000 people and 26 of every 1,000 people had access to the Internet. The national press service is the Gabonese Press Agency, which publishes a daily paper, Gabon-Matin (circulation 18,000 as of 2002) Dell Studio 14z Battery.
L'Union in Libreville, the government-controlled daily newspaper, had an average daily circulation of 40,000 in 2002. The weekly Gabon d'Aujourdhui, is published by the Ministry of Communications. There are about nine privately owned periodicals which are either independent or affiliated with political parties. These publish in small numbers and are often delayed by financial constraintsDell Studio 1535 Battery. The constitution of Gabon provides for free speech and a free press, and the government supports these rights. Several periodicals actively criticize the government and foreign publications are widely available.
Main article: Health in Gabon
This section needs additional citations for verification. (April 2012)
Most of the health services of Gabon are public, but there are some private institutions, of which the best known is the hospital established in 1913 in Lambaréné by Albert Schweitzer. Gabon's medical infrastructure is considered one of the best in West AfricaDell Studio 1536 Battery. By 1985 there were 28 hospitals, 87 medical centers, and 312 infirmaries and dispensaries. As of 2004, there were an estimated 29 physicians per 100,000 people. Approximately 90% of the population had access to health care services.
In 2000, 70% of the population had access to safe drinking water and 21% had adequate sanitation. A comprehensive government health program treats such diseases as leprosy, sleeping sickness, malaria, filariasis, intestinal worms, and tuberculosisDell Studio 1537 Battery. Rates for immunization of children under the age of one were 97% for tuberculosis and 65% for polio. Immunization rates for DPT and measles were 37% and 56% respectively. Gabon has a domestic supply of pharmaceuticals from a large, modern factory in Libreville.
The total fertility rate has decreased from 5.8 in 1960 to 4.2 children per mother during childbearing years in 2000. Ten percent of all births were low birth weight. The maternal mortality rate was 520 per 100,000 live births as of 1998Dell Studio 1555 Battery. In 2005, the infant mortality rate was 55.35 per 1,000 live births and life expectancy was 55.02 years. As of 2002, the overall mortality rate was estimated at 17.6 per 1,000 inhabitants.
The HIV/AIDS prevalence is estimated to be 5.2% of the adult population (ages 15–49). As of 2009, approximately 46,000 people were living with HIV/AIDS. There were an estimated 2,400 deaths from AIDS in 2009 – down from 3,000 deaths in 2003. Dell Studio 1557 Battery
Main article: Education in Gabon
Gabon's education system is regulated by two Ministries: The Ministry of Education, which is in charge of pre-kindergarten through the last High School Grade, and the Ministry of Higher Education and Innovative Technologies, which is in charge of Universities and Higher Education and Professional SchoolsDell Studio 1558 Battery.
Education is compulsory for children ages 6 to 16 years under the Education Act. Most children in Gabon start their school lives by attending Nurseries or "Crèche", then Kindergarten known as "Jardins d'Enfants". At age 6, they are enrolled in Primary School, "École Primaire" which is made up of six grades. The next level is "École Secondaire", which is made up of seven gradesDell Studio 1735 Battery. The planned graduation age is 19 years old. Those who graduate can apply for Universities or institutions of Higher learning, such as engineering schools or business schools.
The government has used oil revenue for school construction, paying teachers' salaries, and promoting education, including in rural areas. However, maintenance of school structures, as well as teachers' salaries, has been decliningDell Studio 1737 Battery. In 2002 the gross primary enrollment rate was 132 percent, and in 2000 the net primary enrollment rate was 78 percent. Gross and net enrollment ratios are based on the number of students formally registered in primary school and therefore do not necessarily reflect actual school attendance. As of 2001, 69 percent of children who started primary school were likely to reach grade 5Dell Inspiron 1210 Battery. Problems in the education system include poor management and planning, lack of oversight, poorly qualified teachers, and overcrowded classrooms.
Botswana, officially the Republic of Botswana (Tswana: Lefatshe la Botswana), is a landlocked country located in Southern Africa. The citizens refer to themselves as "Batswana" (singular: Motswana), but many English-language sources use "Botswanan" insteadDell Inspiron Mini 12 Battery. Formerly the British protectorate of Bechuanaland, Botswana adopted its new name after becoming independent within the Commonwealth on 30 September 1966. It has held free and fair democratic elections since independence.
Botswana is flat, and up to 70% is covered by the Kalahari Desert. It is bordered by South Africa to the south and southeast, Dell Latitude E4300 Battery Namibia to the west and north, and Zimbabwe to the northeast. Its border with Zambia to the north near Kazungula, Zambia is poorly defined but at most is a few hundred meters long.
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 1966Dell Latitude E4310 Battery, with a GDP per capita of about US$70. Botswana has since transformed itself, becoming one of the fastest-growing economies in the world to a GDP (purchasing power parity) per capita of about $14,000. The country also has a strong tradition as a representative democracy.
Main article: History of Botswana
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History of Botswana
Department of Taxes and Attorney General's Chambers Building (left) and Ministry of Health Building (right) in Gaborone, BotswanaDell Vostro 1310 Battery
In the 19th century, hostilities broke out between Tswana inhabitants of Botswana and Ndebele tribes who were making incursions into the territory from the north-east. Tensions also escalated with the Dutch Boer settlers from the Transvaal to the east. After appeals by the Batswana leaders Khama III, Bathoen and Sebele for assistance, the British Government put "Bechuanaland" under its protection on 31 March 1885. Dell Vostro 1320 Battery The northern territory remained under direct administration as the Bechuanaland Protectorate and is modern-day Botswana, while the southern territory became part of the Cape Colony and is now part of the northwest province of South Africa. The majority of Setswana-speaking people today live in South AfricaDell Vostro 1510 Battery.
When the Union of South Africa was formed in 1910 out of the main British colonies in the region, the Bechuanaland Protectorate, Basutoland (now Lesotho) and Swaziland (the "High Commission Territories") were not included, but provision was made for their later incorporation. However, their inhabitants began to be consulted by the UK, and although successive South African governments sought to have the territories transferredDell Vostro 1520 Battery, the UK kept delaying; consequently, it never occurred. The election of the Nationalist government in 1948, which instituted apartheid, and South Africa's withdrawal from the Commonwealth in 1961, ended any prospect of incorporation of the territories into South Africa. An expansion of British central authority and the evolution of tribal government resulted in the 1920 establishment of two advisory councils to represent both Africans and EuropeansDell Vostro 2510 Battery. Proclamations in 1934 regulated tribal rule and powers. A European-African advisory council was formed in 1951, and the 1961 constitution established a consultative legislative council.
In June 1964, the UK accepted proposals for a democratic self-government in Botswana. The seat of government was moved in 1965 from Mafikeng in South Africa, to the newly established Gaborone, which sits near its borderDell Inspiron 1410 Battery. The 1965 constitution led to the first general elections and to independence on 30 September 1966. Seretse Khama, a leader in the independence movement and the legitimate claimant to the Ngwato chiefship, was elected as the first president, re-elected twice.
The presidency passed to the sitting vice president, Quett Masire, who was elected in his own right in 1984 and re-elected in 1989 and 1994Dell Vostro 1014 Battery. Masire retired from office in 1998. The presidency passed to the sitting vice president, Festus Mogae, who was elected in his own right in 1999 and re-elected in 2004. The presidency passed in 2008 to Ian Khama (son of the first president), who had been serving as Mogae's Vice President since resigning his position in 1998 as Commander of the Botswana Defence Force to take up this civilian roleDell Vostro 1015 Battery.
A long-running dispute over the northern border with Namibia's Caprivi Strip was the subject of a ruling by the International Court of Justice in December 1999, which ruled that Kasikili Island belongs to Botswana.
Politics and government
Main articles: Politics of Botswana and Human rights in Botswana
See also: Foreign relations of Botswana
The politics of Botswana take place in a framework of a representative democratic republic, whereby the President of Botswana is both head of state and head of governmentDell Vostro 1088 Battery, and of a multi-party system. Executive power is exercised by the government. Legislative power is vested in both the government and the Parliament of Botswana. The most recent election, its tenth, was held on 16 October 2009.
Since independence was declared, the party system has been dominated by the Botswana Democratic Party. Dell Vostro A840 Battery The judiciary is independent of the executive and the legislature. According to Transparency International, Botswana is the least corrupt country in Africa and ranks similarly close to Portugal and South Korea. Nevertheless the country is considered to have the most secretive public institutions in Africa. The national anthem is Fatshe leno la ronaDell Vostro A860 Battery.
Main articles: Geography of Botswana and Climate of Botswana
Map of Botswana
A lechwe in the Okavango Delta
At 600,370 km2 (231,804 sq mi) Botswana is the world's 47th-largest country (after Ukraine). It is comparable in size to Madagascar, and is slightly smaller than the U.S. state of Texas or the Canadian province of Manitoba. It lies between latitudes 17° and 27°S, and longitudes 20° and 30°EDell XPS M2010 Battery.
The country is predominantly flat, tending toward gently rolling tableland. Botswana is dominated by the Kalahari Desert, which covers up to 70% of its land surface. The Okavango Delta, the world's largest inland delta, is in the northwest. The Makgadikgadi Pan, a large salt pan, lies in the northDell Inspiron 1520 Battery.
The Limpopo River Basin, the major landform of all of southern Africa, lies partly in Botswana, with the basins of its tributaries, the Notwane, Bonwapitse, Mahalapswe, Lotsane, Motloutse and the Shashe, located in the eastern part of the country. The Notwane provides water to the capital through the Gaborone Dam. The Chobe River lies to the northDell Inspiron 1521 Battery, providing a boundary between Botswana and Namibia, in the Caprivi Region. The Chobe River meets with the Zambezi River at a place called Kazungula (meaning a small sausage tree, a point where Sebitwane and his Makololo tribe crossed the Zambezi into Zambia).
Botswana has diverse areas of wildlife habitat. In addition to the delta and desert areas, there are grasslands and savannasDell Inspiron 1720 Battery, where Blue Wildebeest, antelopes, and other mammals and birds are found. Northern Botswana has one of the few remaining large populations of the endangered African Wild Dog. Chobe National Park, found in the Chobe District, has the world's largest concentration of African elephants. The park covers about 11,000 km2 (4,247 sq mi) and supports about 350 species of birdsDell Inspiron 1721 Battery.
Sunrise in Botswana
The Chobe National Park and Moremi Game Reserve (in the Okavango Delta) are major tourist destinations. Other reserves include the Central Kalahari Game Reserve located in the Kalahari desert in Ghanzi District; Makgadikgadi Pans National Park and Nxai Pan National Park are in Central District in the Makgadikgadi PanDell Vostro 1500 Battery. Mashatu Game Reserve is privately owned: located where the Shashe River and Limpopo River meet in eastern Botswana. The other privately owned reserve is Mokolodi Nature Reserve near Gaborone. There are also specialised sanctuaries like the Khama Rhino Sanctuary (for Rhinoceros) and Makgadikgadi Sanctuary (for Flamingos). They are both located in Central DistrictDell Vostro 1700 Battery.
Moremi Gorge, in the Tswapong Hills east of Palapye, Botswana. The porous rock absorbs rainwater, which then seeps out forming permanent cascades and pools. The hills provide one of Botswana's two breeding sites for the endangered cape vulture.
Tourists at Chobe National Park
A baobab tree (Adansonia digitata)
Botswana is currently facing two major environmental problems: drought and desertification. The desertification problems predominantly stem from the severe times of drought in the country. Due to the droughtDell Inspiron 1420 Battery, 75% of the country’s human and animal populations are dependent on groundwater. Groundwater use has eased the effects of drought, but has left a toll on the land. Groundwater is retrieved through drilling deep boreholes, which leads to the erosion of the land. Surface water is very scarce in Botswana and less than 5% of the agriculture in the country is sustainable by rainfallDell Vostro 1400 Battery. Due to this 95% of the country raises cattle and livestock as a means for an income. Therefore, it is not a surprise to see that 71% of the country’s land is used for communal grazing, which has been a major cause for the desertification of the country.
Since raising livestock has proven to be profitable for the people of Botswana, the land is continuing to be exploited. The animal populations have continued to dramatically increaseDell Latitude 2100 Battery. From 1966 to 1991 the livestock population has increased from 1.7 million to 5.5 million:64. Similarly, the human population has increased from 574,000 in 1971 to 1.5 million in 1995, nearly a 200% increase. “Over 50% of all households in Botswana own cattle, which is currently the largest single source of rural income”. “Rangeland degradation or desertification is regarded as the reduction in land productivity as a result of overstocking and overgrazing or as a result of veld product gathering for commercial useDell Latitude 2110 Battery. Degradation is exacerbated by the effects of drought and climate change”. It has been reported that the Okavango Delta is drying up due to the increased grazing of livestock. The Okavango Delta is one of the major semi-forested wetlands in Botswana and is the largest inland delta in the world; it is a crucial ecosystem to the survival of many animals. Dell Latitude D620 Battery
The Department of Forestry and Range Resources has already begun to implement a project to reintroduce indigenous vegetation into communities in Kgalagadi South, Kweneng North and Boteti. Reintroduction of indigenous vegetation will help with the degradation of the land. The United States Government has also entered into an agreement with BotswanaDell Latitude D630 Battery, giving them $7 million US dollars to reduce Botswana’s debt by $8.3 million US dollars. The stipulation of the US reducing Botswana’s debt is that Botswana will focus on more extensive conservation of the land.
The United Nations Development Programme claims that a major problem behind the overexploitation of resources, including land, in BotswanaDell Precision M2300 Battery, is due to the poverty level. To help change this the UNDP joined in with a project started in the southern community of Struizendam in Botswana. The purpose of the project is to draw from “indigenous knowledge and traditional land management systems”. The leaders of this movement are supposed to be the people in the community, to draw them in, in turn increasing their possibilities to earn an income and thus decreasing povertysony vgp-bps2 battery. The UNDP also stated that the government has to effectively implement policies to allow people to manage their own local resources and are giving the government information to help with policy development
Main article: Botswana Defence Force
At the time of independence, Botswana had no armed forces. It was only after the Rhodesian and South African militaries struck respectively against ZIPRA and MK bases that the Botswana Defence Force (BDF) was formed in 1977. sony vgp-bps3 battery The president is commander in chief and appoints a defence council. The BDF has approximately 12,000 members.
Following political changes in South Africa and the region, the BDF's missions have increasingly focused on prevention of poaching, preparing for disasters, and foreign peacekeeping. The United States has been the largest single foreign contributor to the development of the BDFsony vgp-bps4 battery, and a large segment of its officer corps has received U.S. training. It is considered an apolitical and professional institution.
The Botswana government gave the United States the green light to explore the possibility of establishing an Africa Command (Africom) base in the country. This fueled protests by the South African ANC youth organizationsony vgp-bps5 battery.
Mochudi, one of the larger villages in Botswana
Graphical depiction of Botswana's product exports in 28 color coded categories.
An aerial view over Gaborone, Botswana
Headquarters of Debswana Diamond Company Ltd in Gaborone, Botswana
Main article: Economy of Botswana
Since independence, Botswana has had one of the fastest growth rates in per capita income in the world. Botswana has transformed itself from one of the poorest countries in the world to a middle-income countrysony vgp-bps7 battery. By one estimate, it has the fourth highest gross national income at purchasing power parity in Africa, giving it a standard of living around that of Mexico and Turkey.
According to the International Monetary Fund, economic growth averaged over 9% per year from 1966 to 1999. Botswana has a high level of economic freedom compared to other African countries. The government has maintained a sound fiscal policysony vgp-bpl7 battery, despite consecutive budget deficits in 2002 and 2003, and a negligible level of foreign debt. It earned the highest sovereign credit rating in Africa and has stockpiled foreign exchange reserves (over $7 billion in 2005/2006) amounting to almost two and a half years of current imports.
Debswana, the largest diamond mining company operating in Botswana, is 50% owned by the government. sony vgp-bps8 battery The mineral industry provides about 40% of all government revenues. In 2007, significant quantities of uranium were discovered, and mining was projected to begin by 2010. Several international mining corporations have established regional headquarters in Botswana, and prospected for diamonds, gold, uranium, copper, and even oil, many coming back with positive resultssony vgp-bps8a battery. Government announced in early 2009 that they would try and shift their economic dependence on diamonds, over serious concern that diamonds are predicted to dry out in Botswana over the next twenty years.
Botswana's trading partners in 2004.
An array of financial institutions populates the country’s financial system, with pension funds and commercial banks being the two most important segments by asset size. Banks remain profitablesony vgp-bps8b battery, well-capitalized, and liquid, as a result of growing national resources and high interest rates.
Botswana’s competitive banking system is one of Africa’s most advanced.[clarification needed] Generally adhering to global standards in the transparency of financial policies and banking supervision, the financial sector provides ample access to credit for entrepreneurs. The opening of Capital Bank in 2008sony vgp-bps9 battery brought the total number of licensed banks to eight. The government is involved in banking through state-owned financial institutions and a
The constitution prohibits the nationalization of private property and provides for an independent judiciary, and the government respects this in practice. The legal system is sufficient to conduct secure commercial dealings, although a serious and growing backlog of cases prevents timely trials. The protection of intellectual property rights has improved significantlysony vgp-bps9/b battery. Botswana is ranked second only to South Africa among sub-Saharan Africa countries in the 2009 International Property Rights Index.
While generally open to foreign participation in its economy, Botswana reserves a number of sectors for citizen participation. Increased foreign investment plays a significant role in the privatization of state-owned enterprisessony vgp-bps9a/b battery. Investment regulations are transparent, and bureaucratic procedures are streamlined and open, although somewhat slow. Investment returns such as profits and dividends, debt service, capital gains, returns on intellectual property, royalties, franchise's fees, and service fees can be repatriated without limitssony vgp-bps9a battery.
Main article: Energy in Botswana
Botswana imports refined petroleum products and electricity from South Africa. There is some domestic production of electricity from coal. In spite of one the highest insolation levels in the world, Botswana has no significant solar energy capacity.
Starting fire by hand. Bushmen in Botswana.
A girl in the Okavango Delta.
Main article: Demographics of Botswana
Botswana's main ethnic groups are Batswana, BaKalanga, Bushmen or AbaThwa also known as Basarwa. Other tribes are Bayei, Bambukushu, Basubia, Baherero and Bakgalagadi. Other groups of ethnicities in Botswana include whites and Indianssony vgp-bps9b battery, both groups being roughly equally small in number. Botswana's Indian population is made up of many Indian-Africans of several generations, from Mozambique, Kenya, Tanzania, Mauritius, South Africa, and so on, as well as first generation Indian immigrants. The white population is native to Botswana or from other parts of Africa including Zimbabwe and South Africa. The white population speaks either English or Afrikaans and makes up roughly 3% of the populationsony vgp-bpl9 battery.
Since 2000, because of deteriorating economic conditions in Zimbabwe, the number of Zimbabweans in Botswana has risen into the tens of thousands.
Fewer than 10,000 Bushmen are still living the traditional hunter-gatherer style of life. Since the mid-1990s the central government of Botswana has been trying to move San out of their lands. The UN's top official on indigenous rights, Prof. James Anaya, has condemned Botswana's persecution of the Bushmen in a report released in February 2010. sony vgp-bps10 battery
Main articles: Languages of Botswana and Setswana
A rondavel at Khutse Kalahari Lodge, Botswana.
The official language of Botswana is English although Setswana is widely spoken across the country. In Setswana prefixes are more important than they are in many other languages. These prefixes include "Bo", which refers to the country, "Ba", which refers to the people, "Mo", which is one person, and "Se" which is the languageSony VGP-BPS12 Battery. For example, the main tribe of Botswana is the Tswana people, hence the name Botswana for its country. The people as a whole are Batswana, one person is a Motswana, and the language they speak is Setswana. Other languages spoken in Botswana include, Kalanga(sekalanga), Sarwa (sesarwa), Ndebele and in some parts AfrikaansSony VGP-BPL12 Battery.
Main article: Religion in Botswana
Religion in Botswana
An estimated 70% of the country's citizens identify themselves as Christians. Anglicans, Methodists, and the United Congregational Church of Southern Africa make up the majority of Christians. There are also congregations of Lutherans, Roman Catholics, Seventh-day Adventists, Baptists, the Dutch Reformed Church, Mennonites, Mormons, Jehovah's Witnesses, and other Christian sectsSony VGP-BPS13 Battery.
According to the 2001 census, the country has around 5,000 Muslims, 3,000 Hindus and 700 Baha'is, all mainly from South Asia. Approximately 20% of citizens espouse no religion. Religious services are well attended in both rural and urban areas.
Main article: Health in Botswana
Life expectancy at birth was 55 in 2009 according to the World Bank, having previously fallen from a peak of 64.1 in 1990 to a low of 49 in 2002. Sony VGP-BPS13B/Q battery
Life expectancy in several African countries from 1958 to 2003. Botswana had the highest life expectancy until HIV/AIDS began to reduce it in the late 1980s.
Main article: HIV/AIDS in Botswana
Like elsewhere in Sub-Saharan Africa, the economic impact of AIDS is considerable. Economic development spending was cut by 10% in 2002–3 as a result of recurring budget deficits and rising expenditure on healthcare services. Botswana has been hit very hard by the AIDS pandemicSony VGP-BPS13/Q battery; in 2006 it was estimated that life expectancy at birth had dropped from 65 to 35 years.
The prevalence of HIV/AIDS in Botswana was estimated at 24% for adults in 2006. In 2003, the government began a comprehensive program involving free or cheap generic anti-retroviral drugs as well as an information campaign designed to stop the spread of the virus. Under the leadership of Festus Mogae, the Government of Botswana solicited outside help in fighting HIV/AIDS and received early support from the Bill and Melinda Gates FoundationSony VGP-BPS13A/B battery, the Merck Foundation, and together formed the African Comprehensive HIV AIDS Partnership (ACHAP). Other early partners include the Botswana-Harvard AIDS Institute, of the Harvard School of Public Health and the Botswana-UPenn Partnership of the University of Pennsylvania. According to the 2011 UNAIDS Report, universal access to treatment – as defined as 80% coverage or greater – has been achieved in Botswana. Sony VGP-BPS13/S battery
Concurrent sexual partnerships, transactional sex, cross-generational sex, and a significant numbers of people who have traveled outside of their local communities in pursuit of work, are potential reasons for the high HIV prevalence. The promiscuous nature of many sexual relationships further impacts the health situation; so much so that it has given rise to a Love Vocabulary that is unique to the regionSony VGP-BPS13/B battery.
Approximately one in six Batswana has HIV, giving Botswana the second highest infection rate in the world after nearby Swaziland. The government recognizes that AIDS will affect the economy and is trying to combat the epidemic, including free anti-retroviral drug treatment and a nation-wide Prevention of Mother-to-Child Transmission program. Botswana has reduced HIV transmission from infected mothers to their children from about 40% to just 4%Sony VGP-BPS13B/S battery.
The Cancer Association of Botswana is a voluntary non-governmental organization. The association is a member of the Union for International Cancer Control. The Association supplements existing services through provision of cancer prevention and health awareness programmes, facilitating access to health services for cancer patients and offering support and counseling to those affected. Sony VGP-BPS13A battery
Residential hall of the University of Botswana in Gaborone, Botswana
Main article: Education in Botswana
Botswana has made great strides in educational development since independence in 1966. At that time there were very few graduates in the country and only a very small percentage of the population attended secondary school. Botswana increased its adult literacy rate from 69% in 1991 to 83% in 2008. Sony VGP-BPS13A/S battery
With the discovery of diamonds and the increase in government revenue that this brought, there was a huge increase in educational provision in the country. All students were guaranteed ten years of basic education, leading to a Junior Certificate qualification. Approximately half of the school population attends a further two years of secondary schooling leading to the award of the Botswana General Certificate of Secondary Education (BGCSE) Sony VGP-BPS13S battery. Secondary education in Botswana is neither free nor compulsory.
After leaving school, students can attend one of the six technical colleges in the country, or take vocational training courses in teaching or nursing. The best students enter the University of Botswana, Botswana College of Agriculture , and The Botswana Accountancy College in Gaborone. Many other students end up in the numerous private tertiary education colleges around the countrySony VGP-BPS13A/Q battery. A high majority of these students are government sponsored. A larger influx of tertiary students is expected when construction of the nation's second international university, The Botswana International University of Science and Technology, is completed in Palapye.
One notable International University is Limkokwing University of Creative Technology that offers various Associate Degree(s) in Creative Arts. This has helped many youths develop and create their own businesses across the countrySony VGP-BPS13A/R battery.
The quantitative gains have not always been matched by qualitative ones. Primary schools in particular still lack resources, and the teachers are less well paid than their secondary school colleagues. The Botswana Ministry of Education is working to establish libraries in primary schools in partnership with the African Library Project. Sony VGP-BPS13B batteryThe Government of Botswana hopes that by investing a large part of national income in education, the country will become less dependent on diamonds for its economic survival, and less dependent on expatriates for its skilled workers. Botswana invests 21% of its government spending in education. Sony VGP-BPS13B/B battery
In January 2006, Botswana announced the reintroduction of school fees after two decades of free state education though the government still provides full scholarships with living expenses to any Botswana citizen in university, either at the University of Botswana or if the student wishes to pursue an education in any field not offered locally, such as medicine, they are provided with a full scholarship to study abroadSony VGP-BPL21 battery.
See also: Botswana at the Olympics
Football is the most popular sport in Botswana, with qualification for the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations being the biggest achievement to date. Other popular sports are cricket, tennis, rugby, softball, handball, golf and track and field. Botswana is an associate member of the International Cricket CouncilSony VGP-BPS21 battery.
Botswana won its first Olympic medal in 2012 when Nijel Amos won silver in the 800 metres. In 2011 Amantle Montsho became world champion in the 400 metres and won Botswana's first athletics medal on the world level. Another famous Botswana athlete is high jumper Kabelo Kgosiemang, three times African championSony VGP-BPS21A battery.
The card game bridge has a strong following; it was first played in Botswana over 30 years ago and grew in popularity during the 1980s. Many British expatriate school teachers informally taught the game in Botswana’s secondary schools. The Botswana Bridge Federation (BBF) was founded in 1988 and continues to organize tournaments. Bridge has remained popular and the BBF has over 800 members. Sony VGP-BPS21B batteryIn 2007, the BBF invited the English Bridge Union to host a week-long teaching program in May 2008.
Rock paintings of Tsodilo Hills
Main article: Culture of Botswana
Itseng Kgomotso, Miss Botswana 2008, during Miss World 2008
Besides referring to the language of the dominant people groups in Botswana, Setswana is the adjective used to describe the rich cultural traditions of the Batswana-whether construed as members of the Tswana ethnic groups or of all citizens of Botswana. The Scottish writer Alexander McCall Smith has written a number of popular novels Sony VGP-BPS26 Battery (No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency series) about Botswana that entertain as well as inform the reader about the culture and customs of Botswana.
Main article: Music of Botswana
Tswana music is mostly vocal and performed without drums; it also makes heavy use of string instruments. Tswana folk music has instruments such as Setinkane, Segankure/Segaba, and for the last few decades, the guitar has been celebrated as a versatile music instrument for Tswana musicSony VGP-BPS26A Battery.
Main article: Art of Botswana
In the northern part of Botswana, women in the villages of Etsha and Gumare are noted for their skill at crafting baskets from Mokola Palm and local dyes. The baskets are generally woven into three types: large, lidded baskets used for storage, large, open baskets for carrying objects on the head or for winnowing threshed grain, and smaller plates for winnowing pounded grainSony VGP-BPS14/B Battery. The artistry of these baskets is being steadily enhanced through color use and improved designs as they are increasingly produced for commercial use.
Other notable artistic communities include Thamaga Pottery and Oodi Weavers, both located in the southeastern part of Botswana.
The oldest paintings from both Botswana and South Africa depict hunting, animal and human figures, and were made by the Khoisan (!Kung San/Bushmen) over twenty thousand years ago within the Kalahari desertSony VGP-BPS14B Battery.
In addition to these more traditional arts there are a number of extremely talented artists who use modern means to express themselves. There are a few galleries around Botswana that display paintings and sculptures. Some pieces are inspired by the beautiful Botswana landscapes and others by the people themselvesSony VGP-BPS14/S Battery.
Main article: Cuisine of Botswana
The cuisine of Botswana is unique but also shares some characteristics with other cuisine of Southern Africa. Examples of Botswana food are Pap, Boerewors, Samp, Vetkoek and Mopane worms. A food unique to Botswana includes Seswaa, heavily salted mashed-up meatSony VGP-BPL14/B Battery.