Major problems facing Botswana today

Botswana ladyBotswana or the Republic of Botswana is a small landlocked country located at the southern part of Africa sharing borders with the Republic of South Africa to the south and southeast, the Republic of Namibia to the north and west, the republic of Zimbabwe to the northeast. Botswana also meets the republic of Zambia at a single point.

Botswana has a total land area of about 566,730 squared kilometers and a total population of about 2 million people with the population growth rate around 1.7%. About 62 percent of the Botswana population live in urban areas with about 200,000 living in Gaborone the capital.

Although up to about 70% of Botswana is covered by the Kalahari desert, ...

Botswana just like its neighboring countries is blessed with abundant natural resources including precious minerals such as diamond (accounting for more than 75% of GDP, 70-80% of export earnings, and about half of the government revenues), nickel, coal, iron ore, silver, copper, salt, etc.

Unlike in most other African countries, Botswana has a very high literacy rate of around 80% (both males and females) which implies about 80 percent of all people above 15 years old can read and write in Botswana which is a great achievement. The high literacy rate is due mainly to the free education in Botswana today. Botswana offers free education for all up to the university level which is great.

Despite the great achievements, Botswana like its neighboring countries faces so many challenges including inequality, discrimination, extreme poverty in the rural areas, high HIV/AIDS prevalence rate, desertification, etc.

Although life in the big cities and towns has improved a lot in the past couple of years, poverty level remains all time high in the rural areas due to inequality and unequal distribution of funds. Diamond which accounts for more than 75% of GDP belongs to all Botswana people yet the poor living in the rural areas get almost nothing out of the national cake. Extreme poverty and hunger remains at all time high in the rural areas while those in the urban areas enjoy all the national cake.

Botswana has the second highest HIV/AIDS prevalence rate (about 25%) in the world today with about 350,000 (of the 2 million people) living with HIV/AIDS in Botswana today despite numerous efforts to bring the rate of HIV prevalence down.

Most of the people living in rural areas are subsistence farmers who grow crops and rear animals just to feed themselves and their families. However, because of desertification, most farmers in the rural areas have lost their farm lands leaving most with nothing but absolute poverty.

Diamond mining fueled much of the expansion and accounts for more than 75% of GDP but the diamond mining cannot last forever leaving the Botswana economy in a very shaky state unless Botswana diversifies its source of income.