Botswana – An African Success Story
The focus of current exploration is in North Eastern Botswana where all of the current licences are situated. The company has a base of operations in Francistown, which is the second largest city in Botswana and is home to the bulk of the mining and exploration industry in Botswana with the exception of diamond mining.
Most Australians have little knowledge of Botswana and likely regard it in the same manner as many African nations are perceived. However Botswana is a viable African country with a democratic government and a strong economy.
Botswana is a relatively small landlocked country in southern Africa. Neighbouring countries are South Africa to the south, Namibia to the west and north and Zimbabwe to the north and east.
Botswana’s terrain is dominated by flat desert, savannah and grassland: it is a haven for wildlife and, for example, hosts the largest population of elephants in the world. Of major environmental importance is the Okavango River which empties into the flat Kalahari Desert to form one of the largest inland deltas in the world. This is the only area of Botswana to hold significant amounts of permanent water. There are no permanent rivers elsewhere inside Botswana. Apart from a relatively fertile strip along the eastern side of the country, the Kalahari Desert blankets almost the entire remaining portion of Botswana.
With a land area larger than France and a population of only 1.7 million Botswana has a very low population density. Approximately 40% of the population live in modern cities, including the capital Gaborone and the second largest city Francistown, while the remainder live a more traditional village based lifestyle.
Botswana received its independence from Great Britain in 1966 and since that time a multi-party democratic system has operated successfully. Botswana has enjoyed continuous peace and economic stability since independence and has carefully avoided conflicts that have occurred in neighbouring countries.
Freedom house, a US-based NGO, publishes an annual comprehensive assessment of the state of political rights and civil liberties in 192 countries and 18 territories. Of these countries it highlights 89 as being “Free”– one of which is Botswana. Botswana is one of 11 “free” countries among the 48 states of sub-Saharan Africa, with high scores for both political and civil rights.
The success of Botswana’s approach is confirmed by the World Economic Forum (WEF) Public Institutions Survey 2006 that rated Botswana as the number one country in Africa in terms of Public Governance and by Transparency International, which produces the most respected global corruption index. In the 2005 Transparency International Corruption Perception Index Botswana ranks as one of the least corrupt countries in the world (32 out of 159), and by far and away the least corrupt country in Africa.