Botswana Pula

Name of Currency: Botswana Pula
Country / countries used: Botswana, Zimbabwe
Symbol: P

Brief history:

Pula means “rain” and also “blessing” in Setswana. Botswana is home to a significant portion of the Kalahari Desert meaning that rain is highly prized and very valuable, hence rain being synonymous with material value.
The Pula replaced the South African rand at an equal money exchange value in 1976. It was this year that saw the introduction of coins, which were available in denominations of 1, 5, 10, 25 and 50 thebe (meaning “shield”) and 1 pula.
Banknotes were first introduced along with coins, and were available in denominations of 1, 2, 5, and 10 pula. Two years later, 1978 saw the introduction of a 20-pula note. It was in 1990 that the first 50 pula note was introduced, and then 1993 that saw the introduction of the 100 pula note. The highest denomination of pula available is the 200-pula banknote, introduced in August 2009. The pula suffered 12% devaluation during May of 2005, but still remains one of the strongest currencies in Africa. Since achieving independence Botswana has had the highest average economic growth rate in the world, averaging 9% year on year from 1966 to 1999.
Agriculture provides work for more than 80% of the Botswana population, yet supplies 50% of the country’s food needs and constitutes only 3% of the GDP. This small share of the GDP can be attributed in part to the large role that mining plays in the country, constituting approximately 38% of GDP. Botswana is the world’s leading producer of diamond by value. The country is to continue searching for further mining areas and it is predicted that mining will continue to play a major role in the country’s economy in the future.
Tourism is becoming increasingly popular in Botswana, and makes up almost 12% of GDP for the country. The country sports numerous unique selling points with regards to the natural landscape; the world’s largest free-roaming herd of elephants, the Okavango Delta and incredibly game and bird watching, to name but a few. Various media has been influential in increasing tourism in the country, particularly Alexander McCall Smith’s series of detective novels which were dramatized in America.
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