Botswana has a well-developed social service and health care, compared to large parts of Africa in general. Yet serious social problems remain, with great poverty and high unemployment. The country is also one of the worst affected in the world by the AIDS epidemic.
Primary care works particularly well; About 85 percent of the population is estimated to have access to a health clinic within one and a half miles of the home. In spite of a general water shortage, virtually all Botswaniians today have access to clean drinking water. Around half also have decent drains.
- Countryaah Official Site: Official statistics for population in Botswana, including population growth, density, and estimation in next 50 years.
Poverty is particularly widespread in rural areas. Every fifth inhabitant lives below the national poverty line and income disparities are very large. During severe dry periods malnutrition occurs.
The AIDS epidemic is hitting hard
The spread of HIV/AIDS has also resulted in a huge setback. According to the UN agency Unaids, 22 percent in the 15-49 age group are HIV infected. The epidemic strikes hard against both economy and social structures, causing great human suffering.
However, the spread of infection has been halted to a certain extent and the proportion carrying the virus is decreasing, albeit slowly. Botswana, as the first country in Africa, introduced a general distribution of brake medicines against AIDS through the healthcare system. Access to brake medications in combination with successful information campaigns has helped to reduce the number of AIDS-related deaths by more than halving between 2005 and 2009, when about 80 percent of HIV-infected people received treatment. The number of orphaned children also decreased as the parents lived on average longer than before.
It is mainly people of working age who fall ill and die, which is financially and socially burdensome, both for individual families and for the country as a whole. The government contributes to a large extent to the living of the orphans.
The rights of women and LGBTQ persons
According to the constitution, the woman has the same rights as the man. Nevertheless, women’s ownership rights have been restricted in accordance with customary law, and married women have been treated as unauthorized persons. However, new legislation in 2004 stipulated that spouses have the same right to shared assets and equal rights to custody of the children. The legal marriage age was also set at 18 years. In the fall of 2013, women’s inheritance rights were strengthened when the country’s highest court ruled that it was wrong for a local court to allow a house where four sisters lived to become a male cousin when the sisters’ brother died.
Women are considered to have reasonably equal access to work, education and health care. Despite this, the woman’s position is still weak in many respects. Women are more often poor and unemployed. Domestic violence is common and trafficking in both women and children occurs. However, the proportion of women with high positions in society has increased rapidly. After the 2009 elections, the country got its first female president. Even after the following election, a female president was appointed, but despite a certain increase, only one in ten members of the National Assembly was a woman.
In accordance with customary law, polygamy is permitted, but it is unusual nowadays. Traditional weddings often last for a couple of days, with food, dance, singing and speech. Because it is therefore expensive to enter into marriage, many couples live together without getting married.
Homosexuality is not explicitly forbidden, but “unnatural wrongdoing” is what it is and can bring prison. LGBTQ people are often subjected to discrimination and harassment.
FACTS – SOCIAL CONDITIONS
Infant Mortality: 30 per 1000 births (2018)
Percentage of HIV infected: 20.3 percent (2018)
Proportion of HIV infected among young women
8.9 percent (2018)
Proportion of HIV infected among young men: 4.9 percent (2018)
Proportion of population with access to clean water: 79.2 percent (2015)
Proportion of the population having access to toilets: 77.3 percent (2017)
Public expenditure on health care as a percentage of GDP: 6.0 percent (2015)
Public expenditure on health care per person: US $ 380 (2016)
Proportion of women in parliament: 10 percent (2018)
President begins five-year term
President Khama is elected by the National Assembly and takes up his first full five-year term (see April 2008).
BDP wins elections
The BDP government wins the parliamentary election and receives 45 out of 57 electoral seats, one more than in the 2004 elections. Botswana’s National Front (BNF) gets 6 seats and Botswana’s Congress Party (BCP) 4 seats.
BDP shuts off Secretary-General
The secretary general of the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP), Gomolemo Motswaledi, will resign because of internal contradictions. He is suspended from the party for five years.