Botswana has a surface area of 581,730 km2 of which 84% is the Kgalagadi Desert.
Location within Africa
Botswana is centrally located in the heart of Southern Africa. It shares borders with Zambia in the north, Namibia in the north, west and north west, Zimbabwe in the north east and South Africa in the south and south east. Botswana is centrally located in the Southern African region, making the country the perfect gateway to the Southern African Development Community (SADC), which has its headquarters in Gaborone.
Gaborone is the capital and largest city of Botswana with a population of 231,626 (2011 census), about 10% of the total population of Botswana. Its greater metropolitan area is home to 421,907 inhabitants (2011 census). Gaborone covers an area of 169 km2.
Botswana’s population has recently surpassed 2 million. The 2011 census showed that there were 2 024 904 persons in Botswana during the 2011 Population and Housing Census, compared to 1 680 863 in 2001.
Adult Literacy Rate
The Literacy rate in Botswana was 84.5% in 2010 for adults aged 15 and older, according to the World Bank.
The official language in Botswana is English, which is taught from Secondary School onwards, and is the operating language of the government, national institutions and commerce.
Setswana is the most widely spoken language in Botswana, by about 80% of inhabitants (2011) and is considered the national language.
Weights and Measures
Standard time zone: UTC/GMT +2 hours
Time zone: CAT - Central Africa Time
Botswana's energy capacity is thermal, mainly coal-fired, with some small diesel generators in rural areas. The bulk of domestic electricity production is generated by the Morupule coal-fired station. More than half of Botswana’s power requirements are imported from South Africa and Zambia.
Increased urbanisation in the face of scarcity of resources to expand and maintain energy plants, has contributed to the fact that only 22% Botswana’s population have access to electricity. The SADC average for percentage electrification is at most 20%.
The Ministry of Mineral Resources and Water Resources has overall responsibility for power. The Botswana Power Corporation (BPC) reports to the Ministry and generates, transmits and distributes electricity in Botswana, under the provisions of the Botswana Power Corporation Act. BPC imports electricity from ESKOM, from the Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority and, since 1991, from Zambia.
A small Independent Power Producer (IPP), Bemco, supplies the town of Ghanzi in Western Botswana. Botswana has no hydroelectric power resources and all power is from thermal generation. Installed electricity capacity is 220,000 kW and domestic production totalled 901 million kW hours. An additional 228 million kWh was imported mainly from South Africa.
Consumption per capita is estimated at 874 kWh. Almost all of Botswana's power comes from the coal-powered Morupule Power Station. The country is undertaking a rural electrification programme and a 15 year planning programme is being developed to cater for the expected increase in supply of electricity across the Botswana grid. ABB Transmission and Distribution, a SA Company, has undertaken numerous projects in Botswana, building power lines.
Electricity tariffs in Botswana are the highest in the southern African region and its high tariffs have been blamed for the re-location of certain energy-intensive industries to neighbouring countries. Although Botswana is ideally suited for solar energy applications, enjoying over 3,200 hours of sunshine per year, its contribution to the national energy balance is insignificant.
Solar energy is currently used for home lighting and water heating, electricity production for telecommunications equipment, and in the rural areas where access to conventional electricity is difficult. Significant business opportunities lie in the manufacture or assembly of solar energy equipment.
In the near future, the BPC plans to build four 150 MW coal-fired power plants alongside the existing four 33 MW coal-fired power plants at its Morupule Power Station, located approximately 280km north of Gaborone.