Botswana is a landlocked nation in the middle of Southern Africa, dominated geographically by the Kalahari Desert. With a population of just over 2 million (2012) and a land mass of 581,739 square kilometres, Botswana is one of the most sparsely populated countries in the world. Before its independence in 1966, Botswana was a British protectorate known as Bechuanaland. The official language is English, while the widely spoken Setswana is known as the national language.
Botswana is a member of the Commonwealth. Botswana also plays an active role in the Southern African Development Community which has its headquarters in Botswana's capital, Gaborone. Botswana's economy has grown strongly since independence and the country now has one of the highest standards of living and gross national incomes in Africa.
Australia's diplomatic representation to Botswana is from the High Commission in Pretoria, South Africa, assisted by an Honorary Consul in Gaborone. Botswana is represented in Australia by a High Commission in Canberra.
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