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People and the River



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Socioeconomics: Urban vs Rural  

The capital city of Botswana (Gaborone) and the capital city of South Africa (Pretoria) are located in the Limpopo River basin, as are some of the major urban centers of these countries (Francistown, Polokwane, Thohoyandu and Witbank). Other major urban centers (Johannesburg, Maputo and Bulawayo) are found along the basin’s borders, and influence and are influenced by the basin (FAO 2004). With the exception of these major urban centers the Limpopo River basin is generally sparsely populated and rural in setting, particularly Mozambique. On average, 50 % of the 14 million people distributed across the basin occupy the rural areas, ranging from 31% in Botswana to 66% in Zimbabwe.

 Estimated rural population in the Limpopo River basin.

Country/Province 2001 rural population estimates for basin provinces
Botswana   835 000
Central 540 000  
Kwaneng 190 000  
Kgatleng 60 000  
North East 45 000  
Mozambique   1 045 000
Gaza 1 000 000  
Inhambane 45 000  
South Africa   5 400 000
Gauteng 100 000  
Limpopo 4 300 000  
Mpumalanga 500 000  
North West 500 000  
Zimbabwe   900 000
Matabeleland South 550 000  
Masvingo 250 000  
Midlands 100 000  
Total   8 180 000
Source: FAO 2004
Collecting water in rural Botswana.
Source: Vogel 2010
( click to enlarge )



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View a historical timeline of Limpopo basin countries, including water agreements & dam construction