Botswana (BW)

1.  Language information / Données sur les langues

1.1  Languages spoken / Langues parlées

a) Official / Officielle(s) :

English (de facto; the constitution gives special status to no language). Laws and regulations are in English, and command of written English is required to be elected to the National Assembly. (Aménagement linguistique)

b) National, indigenous / Nationale(s), indigène(s) :

Setswana is the de facto national language. It is spoken by the vast majority of the population. It is used in deliberations of the National Assembly. (Aménagement linguistique)

Ethnologue lists 28 languages at

c) Relevant pages in the Major Languages section of this report / Pages appropriées dans la section de ce rapport sur les Langues principales :

Tswana (Setswana)

1.2  Language policy / Politique de langue

a) Laws/legislation / Lois/législation :

The site L'aménagement linguistique dans le monde has a page on Botswana at

b) Agencies / Agences :

Department of Linguistics
University of Botswana
(Source: UNESCO, 1985)

c) Languages in education/literacy / Langues dans l'éducation/l'alphabétisation :

"Instruction in government schools is in Setswana between standard 1 and 4 across all subjects, after which English is used as a medium of instruction. However, Setswana is frequently used for explaining difficult concepts through standard 7 and the first 2 years of secondary school. Setswana as a subject is compulsory from primary to the highest level of secondary education for all Batswana learners in government schools." (Otlogetswe)

UNDP (2006) gives a literacy figure (without reference to which language[s]) of: 81.2%

1.3  Writing in national/indigenous languages / Ecriture en langues nationales/indigènes

a) Orthographies / Orthographes :

1981 Standard Setswana Orthography. All languages of Botswana use the Latin alphabet.

b) Print publications / Editions imprimées :

There is a Setswana language independent daily newspaper, Mokgosi, founded in 2002.

"Mmegi, the largest newspaper which writes in English, has a two and a half pages Setswana insert called Naledi." (Otlogetswe)

UNESCO (1985) reported the following periodicals (name, frequency of publication, circulation, language). Updated information is needed:

  • Botswana Daily News, daily, 7,000, Setswana
  • Kutlwanomonthly, 18,000, English/Setswana
  • Mpatlatsane, monthly, -, Setswana/English
  • Therisanyo (Consultation), irregular, 3,000, Setswana/English
  • Masa (Dawn), irregular, -, Setswana/English
  • Puo Pha (Straight Tall), irregular, -, Setswana/English
  • Narang, irregular, -, Setswana/English

1.4  Other comments / Autre commentaire

2.  ICT situation / Situation des TIC

2.1  Infrastructure / Infrastructure

a) Telephones / Téléphones :

  • Fixed lines: Telephone mainlines:
    • 91 per 1000 people (APC)
    • Telephones - main lines in use: 132,000 (2005) (CIA)
  • Mobile subscriptions:

"Mobile phones and radio enjoy the largest diffusion rate of ICT technologies. ... mobile teledensity is 31%. ... Fixed line telephony, at a teledensity of 7.9%, is still struggling to break through the 10% barrier, further constraining the spread of the latest ICT technologies such as the Internet." (Towards an African e-Index)

b) Radio stations / Stations de radio :

  • "Access to radio is enjoyed by more than 70% countrywide." (Towards an African e-Index)
  • Radio broadcast stations: AM 8, FM 13, shortwave 4 (2001) (CIA)

c) Connectivity / Connectivité :

  • International internet bandwidth / Bande passante internationale d'internet :
  • ISPs / FSI : 11 (2001) (Wikipedia)
  • Internet hosts :
    • 5815 on .bw domain (ISC 2007)
    • 5,499 (2006) (CIA)
  • Geographic coverage / Couverture géographique] :

2.2  Computer & internet access / Accès aux ordinateurs et à l'internet

a) Computers & points of access / Ordinateurs et lieux d'accès :

  • Number of computers / Nombre d'ordinateurs: 38.7 per 1000 people (APC)
  • Cybercafés / Cybercafés:
  • Project telecentres / Télécentres de projets:

"Botswana has no telecentres to talk of, other than the few dedicated business centres mostly offering their services from major hotels, shopping malls or perhaps as part of Internet cafes." (Towards an African e-Index)

b) Internet / Internet :

  • Dial-up subscribers / Abonnés par ligne téléphonique :
  • Internet users / Utilisateurs de l'internet : 60,000 internet users as of Dec/02, 3.3% of the population, per ITU (Internet World Stats)

"Access to ICT technologies in Botswana is very low, with less than 2% of the population owning Internet subscriptions. In urban areas, the Internet is accessed in three main ways: Internet cafés, educational institutions and workplaces. In the rural areas, where more than 50% of the population lives, there is virtually no access to the Internet. Access to Internet cafés is on an individual basis, and relatively few people use them due to the high costs of Internet connectivity, bandwidth and basic computing hardware, as well as the lack of local content creation." (Towards an African e-Index)

"The total Internet market in Botswana stands at about 15,000 dial-up customers and about 1,000 leased line/wireless corporate customers. It has been estimated that, in total, about 40,000 people have access to Internet via their home connection or from their workplace." (Towards an African e-Index)

"ADSL has been introduced in the following areas: Gaborone, Tlkokweng, Mogoditsane, Phakalane, Francistown, Lobatse, Palapye, Maun, Kasane, Selibe-Phikwe, Letlhakane, Jwaneng, Orapa" (Wikipedia)

c) Other / Autre :

  • Digital Opportunity Index (DOI): 0.35 (ITU 2006); 0.38, ranked 100 (ITU 2007)
  • ICT Opportunity Index (ICT-OI?):
  • ICT Development Index (IDI):

2.3  ICT policy / Politique de TIC

Information relevant to Botswana's NICI (National Information and Communications Infrastructure) policy is available at &

"The commercialisation of the telecommunications sector in Botswana started with the creation of the Botswana Telecommunications Corporation (BTC), through the BTC Act of 1980, to develop, operate and manage Botswana’s national and international telecommunications services. The BTC Act was repealed through the Telecommunications Act of 1996 that established a regulatory authority, the Botswana Telecommunications Authority (BTA), which is mandated to promote free and fair competition within the telecommunications and ICT sector in the country." (Towards an African e-Index)

The APC page, "ICT Policy in Botswana," has some information and links:

2.4  ICT4D/E & ICT training / TIC pour le développement/éducation, et formation en TIC

2.5  Resources / Ressources

3.  Localisation situation / Situation de localisation

3.1  Country web content / Contenu web du pays

"Ibis" has a directory of Botswanan websites at

3.2  Web content in indigenous languages / Contenu web en langues indigènes

  • In the context of education, WikiEducator notes: "Whilst there is a stated commitment to develop local content, not much digital content is available that is aligned specifically to Botswana’s national curriculum or that is available in local languages."

(See also specific language pages.)

3.3  Software localisation / Localisation de logiciel

(See also specific language pages.)

3.4  Projects & organisations / Projets et organisations

3.5  Localisation policy / Politique de localisation

4.  References / Références

APC, "ICT Policy in Botswana," Africa ICT Policy Monitor, ("Politiques de TIC en/au Botswana," Observatoire des politiques des TIC en Afrique, )

Balancing Act Africa. 2006. African Internet Country Profiles, Part 3, Southern and Central Africa. London: Balancing Act.

International Telecommunications Union (ITU). 2004. African Telecommunication Indicators 2004. Geneva: ITU.

______. 2006. World Information Society Report 2006. Geneva: ITU.

______. 2007. World Information Society Report 2007. Geneva: ITU.

Internet Systems Consortium (ISC), "Distribution of Top-Level Domain Names by Host Country, Jan 2007"

Internet World Stats: Africa. 2007.

Leclerc, Jacques. L'aménagement linguistique dans le monde, "Botswana,"

Otlogetswe, Thapelo. 2004. "The BNC Design as a Model for a Setswana Language Corpus." Paper delivered at the 7th Annual CLUK Research Colloquium, University of Birmingham, U.K.

Sebusang Sebusang, et al. 2005. "Botswana." In Gillwald, Alison (ed.), Towards an African e-Index: Household and individual ICT Access and Usage Across 10 African Countries. (Research ICT Africa!, )

SIL International, Ethnologue: Languages of the World, "Languages of Botswana,"

UNDP. 2006. ''Beyond scarcity: Power, poverty and the global water crisis. Human Development Report 2006.'' New York: United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). [Human development index Adult literacy rate (% ages 15 and older) (HDI) ]

UNESCO Regional Office for Education in Africa. 1985. African Community Languages and Their Use in Literacy and Education: A Regional Survey. Dakar: UNESCO.

U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), "The World Factbook: Botswana,"

Vodafone. 2005. "Africa: The Impact of Mobile Phones." The Vodafone Policy Paper Series, Number 3, March 2005.

WikiEducator, "ICT4Africa/Country Report Botswana,"

Wikipedia, "Botswana,"

______, "Botswana,"

______, "Communications in Botswana,"

< Benin | Countries | Burkina Faso >