Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Botswana diamond industry; the way forward

The government of Botswana has officially declared Botswana as a global diamond centre in the making. As the government forges ahead with this resolve it is of utmost importance that it takes its people along with it on this arduous and yet necessary journey to economic emancipation. It is equally important that the people of Botswana give the government all the necessary support towards the achievement of this aspiration as they journey together towards making Botswana a great nation.

There is no difference between the government and the people. The government is the people and the people are the government. There can be no government without the people. And people without a government cannot self actualise as a people. The point I am trying to make here is that as a people regulated by a social institution of our making called government, we should make sure that whatever it does is in our best interest, and vice versa.

The government of Botswana has identified diamonds as an economic diversification rod that will attract many other economic activities that would catapult Botswana to an economic giant if handled properly. These are economic activities that have been lying dormant for many years, waiting and pleading for someone to activate their live force (diamonds), so that they may spring forth. It took a combination of both the people and the government’s efforts to wake up to this realisation, and hence the current state of our industry going forward. If some people had not stood up to the service of the nation in this regard, because they are not paid to make a contribution to national development, the government on its own may not have managed to do it, or at least to the extent that it has gone. The current 3000 plus people employed in the industry would have been eating the dust with no hope in life.

It is therefore very important that as the government puts all its efforts at creating a global diamond industry, we as the people take the initiative to partner with the government and be the actual creators of a global diamond centre, and a diversified economy, whilst the government remains a facilitator of the same. We need to become a nation of initiators and creative people who are prepared to go through fire and deep waters to free ourselves and the less gifted from the shackles of the follower mentality and perpetual foreign aid. Many in our society would rather not steer the still waters to receive deliverance from the afflictions of economic oppression. A combination of fear, laziness and the follower mentality controls them to such an extent that they are always waiting for the government to create economic opportunities for them, without an input on their part. As a result they wait until all the teeth fall out with old age. Nothing happens – no deliverance, only accelerated old ageing!

The bible says there was a certain pool where an Angel of God came from time to time to steer the water. Any sick person who got into the water first, received healing. The water had no healing power unless it was steered at. There was no deliverance without steering of the water. So is Botswana! It cannot be delivered if we are afraid of steering the waters? When we do not get jobs we criticise the government. When we have nothing to wear or to eat we criticise the government.

When we do not have the information that we need, we criticise the government. when our children cannot find jobs, we criticise the government. But, in all these, we do nothing to contribute towards making our world a better place for ourselves and posterity. We do not create jobs for ourselves. We do not seek for information, neither do we desire to invest in information acquisition, and so we live to suffer due to lack of knowledge.

No wonder God said in the bible, “My people perish because of lack of knowledge”. When a forum for sharing information is established, we choose to go to the cattle posts or beer parlours or invest in the outcomes of the services of prostitutes, instead of investing in information. We want information brought at our door steps for free, and if it is not we criticise the government.

As for politicians, when pertinent issues that touch the lives of the electorate are discussed in relevant fora where the government shares information, they do not attend. When the electorate complains of the economic woes bedevilling them daily, they blame the government for withholding information from them. When issues are discussed in parliament, in particular issues relating to the development of the diamond industry (the country’s lifeblood), they lack intelligent input for lack of information. They blame government, political term after political term and nothing changes. Meanwhile, the electorate continue to perish because of lack of knowledge.

Afrimond Diamond & Jewellery Institute will be hosting a diamond beneficiation workshop at Maharaja Conference Centre on the 25-26th January, at an investment fee of only P2, 500 per person, for two days. The objective is to afford citizens and residents the opportunity to receive information on diamond beneficiation and the opportunities available for citizen and investors participation.

Relevant government ministries and the diamond industry will be sharing the much needed information on the local diamond industry and on the national economic diversification drive. This is an opportunity that may not repeat soon. Any business person or aspiring business person, politician, member of the academia, institutions of learning and research, diamond police, hospitality industry, tourism, aviation, transport and finance industries and all, who miss this event, will not have any excuse to blame the government for lack of consultation and information. Over to you!


Read this week's paper

The Telegraph September 23

Digital edition of The Telegraph, September 23, 2020.