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statistics

population:

1.64 million;

Percentage of population under age 15: 38.8%

Percentage of population infected with HIV/AIDS: 24.8%

languages:
Setswana (90%), English (official), more than 10 other languages

principal religions:
Christian (50%); non-Christian include Bahais, Muslims, Hindus

ethnic groups:
Tswana (or Setswana—79%), Kalanga (11%), Basarwa (3%)

current ministries:
church planting; Year entered by BMM: 1999

 

Africa One

Botswana

The Land and the People
The Tswana or Batswana people are the principal inhabitants of the country formally known as Bechuanaland.  The territory was declared a British protectorate in 1895.  The country received full independence in September 1966. Since independence in 1966, Botswana has enjoyed stability, democracy, and an economy that has grown faster than that of any other African nation.

Religion
Approximately half of the population would consider themselves Christians; however, traditional African religion and rites are still practiced by the majority of people.

Past and Current Work
In 1998, having completed a survey of the countries of Namibia, Botswana, and Malawi, the Lord directed Rev. and Mrs. Steve Bell to Botswana and particularly to Kanye, one of the most populated villages.  The first three months of 1999 involved meeting the legal requirements for registering and gaining a work permit and residence permit.  They were able to rent a small facility near the main bus station that they outgrew within a year, at which point they began renting a primary school.  In 2001, the church was allocated a plot in a new development area located between a large junior high school and a primary school. The congregation moved into their new premises, a 600-square-meter worship center, on the third anniversary of the church.
 
The culture of Botswana requires that the ministry reach out to foreign families present in the country and to Botswana children and youth, many of whom are orphans or who live with a relative. Botswana has the second highest rate of HIV/AIDS in the world (24.8%). This percentage once stood at 37.3%, with the average life expectancy is estimated in 1998 at 40 years, down from 65 in 1998. The most current estimate is 58 years.

Goals

Church planters are needed to further reach out with the gospel and establish Bible-preaching Baptist churches in Botswana.