The spokesman for Botswana?s government said the administration is fully prepared for nationwide celebrations Thursday to mark the country?s 44th independence from Britain.

Jeff Ramsay also welcomed U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton?s message of good will praising Botswana?s peace and stability, as well as its strong democratic credentials on a continent often plagued with conflicts.

?Today is our 44th birthday and we are all having a good time. It?s a lovely season in our country, as well as being a lovely day. At 44, we have come out of an economic downturn, our economy is back up and so we are very much on track and feeling good.?

Ramsay praised successive governments for what he described as building up the country.

?When we became independent in 1966, we were one of the five poorest countries in the world. And, not only we were poor in terms of income, but we had no infrastructure to speak of. The only road in our country, the only paved one, that is to say, was something that was built so that the British royal family could go from our train station to the district commissioner?s house in 1948.?

Secretary Clinton said in her statement the United States and Botswana have a vibrant partnership rooted in common values, interests and a shared history.

?Our strong and growing partnership to build economic prosperity, promote democratic governance, combat the HIV/AIDS epidemic, and conserve the environment is evidence of what we can achieve with close cooperation and mutual respect. The United States values our relationship with Botswana and your commitment to addressing regional and global challenges through international collaboration. We look forward to expanding our partnership to new areas in the future,? the statement read.

Secretary Clinton also wished the people of Botswana happiness as they celebrate 44 years of independence

Botswana is widely regarded as a model for democracy in the southern African region. Ramsay said Botswana will continue to have stronger ties with the U.S.