The Minister of Minerals, Energy and Water Resources, Kitso Mokaila has emphasized that it is important for Botswana to jealously guard┬áthe image of her diamond riches so that they can continue to benefit the country for many years to come. ?Speaking during 45th Anniversary of Diamond Pipeline Exhibition in Orapa last week, Mokaila said that by safeguarding the reputation of Botswana’s diamonds, it would help country maintain its diamond mining legacy and also benefit the coming generations. ?“These diamonds have managed to transform Botswana from being one of the poorest countries in Africa to becoming one of the success stories.
It is also very important for us as leaders to manage these diamond resources very well because we have seen some countries not benefiting from their resources because of poor leadership. We have seen some of these countries ravaged by wars and ultimately their economies collapsing due to poor leadership. By safely guarding the reputation of our diamonds, we can be able to create a bright future for our children,” he said.?In addition, Mokaila said that it is important for the children to be educated on the value of diamonds as they are leaders of tomorrow.
He however said that the government has made some strides in safe guarding the reputation of Botswana’s diamonds. He gave example of the Diamond Hub which was established in 2008.?“The government set up the Diamond Hub in 2008, as a catalyst for Botswana as a flourishing one stop diamond centre. Among the key activities the Diamond Hub supports are ‘rough and polished trading’, ‘cutting and polishing’, ‘jewellery manufacturing’ and ‘diamond ancillary support businesses’,” he said.?Mokaila further explained that the development of a diamond exchange in Botswana is essential as part of positioning Botswana as a global Diamond Centre.
He said it will not only unlock value for the nation from other areas of the diamond pipeline, but it will also directly contribute to economic diversification. The minister also added that another initiative by government aimed at guarding the reputation of diamonds in Botswana is the country’s participation in the Kimberly process.?“Botswana is a founder member of the Kimberly process which was established in 2003 and its prime objective is to ensure transparent use of diamonds as well as to set clear mechanisms for monetary compliance and accountability.
As I speak the Kimberly Process is ratified by over 70 countries including the United States, China, Japan, European Union, India, Israel,South Africa and of course Botswana. This collaborative regulatory partnership has allowed diamond producers to work with governments and non-governmental organizations to successfully stem the flow of conflict diamonds from the market. These have been brought down to less than one percent of the global diamond trade,” he said.?He added that government will continue to prudently use diamond revenues for the development of Botswana as it embarks on the final two years towards attainment of the national vision 2016 goals.