1. It’s the world’s second-largest diamond producer
Botswana is the world’s second-largest producer of diamonds, after Russia. The country is forecast to produce 22 million carats in 2017, which is more than a quarter of world production by value. Botswana also produces copper, cobalt, coal, platinum, and nickel, though in smaller quantities than diamonds. Mining is an important contributor to the country’s economy, accounting for nearly a quarter of GDP.
2. Its population is smaller than Lusaka’s
Although Botswana and Zambia are about the same size in terms of land area, Botswana has a much smaller population. Only 2.3 million people live in Botswana, smaller than the population of Lusaka, at 2.4 million. It is also one of the world’s least densely populated countries, with barely three people per square kilometre.
3. It is one of the world’s most attractive mining destinations
Botswana consistently ranks at or near the top of the Fraser Institute’s annual ranking of the investor attractiveness of the world’s mining destinations. Among the strengths highlighted in successive reports are the predictability and simplicity of its mining policy, its political stability and its status as Africa’s least corrupt country.
4. It is the subject of a Hollywood movie
In 2017, A United Kingdom hit the world’s movie theatres. It recounts the romance between Seretse Khama, king of the Bamangwato people, and Ruth Williams, an English girl. It charts their marriage – unusual for that era – and the opposition it provoked, both among both white people in Britain and black people in Bechuanaland, as the country was then known. The couple eventually won over their detractors, and Khama went on to become the country’s first president.
5. Its border with Zambia is the world’s shortest
Zambia and Botswana share a border – but it’s only 150 metres long and is marked by the Zambezi River. This makes it the shortest border between any two countries in the world.