Republic of Botswana
Note: Former vice president Seretse Khama Ian Khama was inaugurated as president on April 1, 2008, replacing retiring president Festus Mogae. A call for direct presidential elections was rejected by parliament. Khama’s party, the Botswana Democratic Party, has ruled since independence in 1966 and is favored to win the general election expected in October 2009.
Political Status: Independent republic within the Commonwealth since September 30, 1966.
Area: 231,804 sq. mi. (600,372 sq. km.).
Population: 1,680,863 (2001C); 1,737,000 (2006E).
Major Urban Centers (2005E): GABORONE (213,000), Francistown (91,000), Molepolole (64,000), Selebi-Pikwe (54,000).
Official Language: English (SeTswana is widely spoken).
Monetary Unit: Pula (official rate November 2, 2007: 5.91 pula = $1US).
President: Festus MOGAE (Botswana Democratic Party); sworn in on April 1, 1998, to succeed Sir Ketumile Joni MASIRE (Botswana Democratic Party), ...