BY KABELO SEITSHIRO
A team has been assembled to kick start the negotiations for the next sales agreement between Botswana and De Beers, which is set to continue when the current agreement ends in 2020.
President Mokgweetsi Masisi said this as he officially opened the DeBeers annual diamond conference this week in Gaborone.
De Beers has been over the years, increased participation in the diamond pipeline from prospecting through to cutting and polishing. He said the historic 2011 sales agreement was instrumental in achieving the milestones.
Government says they will ensure that every diamond mined is utilized in sustainable ways, and to positively impact on the lives of communities.
Masisi said government, as a shareholder in both Debswana and the De Beers Group remains a committed partner to provide the necessary support and environment to ensure that there is business continuity and excellent results and for the benefit of the people of Botswana, the citizens of other producer countries, and our business partners.
He believes that collaboration is enormously vital in any relationship, adding that even more so, in today’s world where business is volatile and markets are unpredictable. He said they must, therefore, for the benefit the citizens continue to work closely together and be global leaders in enhancing social capital. He is of the view that there is need to look forward to a future that has exploration, mining, trading, cutting and polishing entities, jewellery manufacturers, retailers, industry experts and media professionals.
“We are committed to the ideal of bringing Botswana out of the middle-income trap and transforming her into a high-income country. We therefore are prepared to introspect and to ponder on strategies we can adopt, in our bid to concretize the realization of this goal,”
He also spoke of the relocation of the De Beers Group from London to Gaborone in 2013 which he said it has seen Sightholders and accredited buyers come to Botswana for every Sight without fail. He said some people have since diversified their investments to other sectors of the economy in Botswana, in turn leading to job creation for citizens, as well as skills and technology transfer.
Masisi said there is need to move further up the pipeline to jewellery manufacturing and retail. He added that participation at these up-market levels of the pipeline, however small, will go a long way in promoting the development of Gaborone as a ‘Diamond City’, and Botswana as the number one diamond destination. He spoke of the need to bring together key industry players from across the globe, to deliberate on market trends and the outlook of the industry.