Botswana. President Mokgweetsi Masisi officially declared the country affected by drought in May. Warmer weather and worse harvests forced more and more farmers to seek state aid for their livelihood. The applications for the government’s emergency preparedness program were so many that the resources were insufficient. Livestock breeding is the main industry in agriculture, but with poorer access to water and grazing, the number of households holding livestock has about halved in a decade.
In May, the government decided to allow the hunting of elephants and other big game again, citing farmers getting their crops destroyed by elephant herds. Botswana has the world’s largest elephant population, about 150,000 animals. Hunting bans have prevailed for five years, since investigations have shown that the elephant trunk has decreased.
The government said the hunt should be surrounded by strict rules, but animal rights organizations were very critical. Former President Ian Khama, who introduced a hunting ban in 2014, accused the government of seeking votes in October. Khama left the ruling party Botswana’s Democratic Party (BDP) and went into opposition with a new party, the Botswana Patriotic Front (BPF). Khama accused his successor Masisi of authoritarian leadership style, but critics said that Khama and his allies felt threatened by Masisi’s fight against corruption.
- ABBREVIATIONFINDER.ORG: Click to see the meanings of 3-letter acronym and abbreviation of BWA in general and in geography as Botswana in particular.
During the year a giant diamond was found in the Karoo mine in Botswana. It was 1,758 carats, weighed over 350 grams and is the largest diamond found in the world in over a century. A slightly smaller diamond from the same mine has been sold for the equivalent of half a billion SEK. Although the diamond industry has declined, it contributes about 90% of Botswana’s export income and a quarter of the country’s GDP.
In June, the Supreme Court ruled that homosexuality should no longer be a criminal offense. In the past, gay activity has led to seven years in prison under colonial law. The ruling came in a court case brought by a college student who claimed that the law was discriminatory and should reflect a changing society where homosexuality is more accepted. Amnesty International welcomed the decision and hoped that other African countries will follow suit. However, the Government considered the court’s conclusion erroneous and wanted to appeal. According to the government, there was no evidence that the conservative Botswana community, where Christianity is the main religion, has changed.
In October, parliamentary elections were held. It was marked by the power struggle between Khama and Masisi, but Masisi and his governing BDP increased their majority in parliament with a mandate of 38. mandate. This meant that Masisi was appointed president for a new term in office.
According to CountryAAH, the population of Botswana in 2019 was 2,303,586, ranking number 145 in the world. The population growth rate was 2.200% yearly, and the population density was 4.0649 people per km2.