Friday, June 21, 2024

Botswana offers Surat diamantaires protection

Botswana is going out on a campaign to attract more diamond and jewelry entrepreneurs into the country as government moves to extend the diamond value chain in Botswana.

This follows the recent sales agreement between De Beers and Botswana which among other things allotted 30% of Debswana production to state-owned trading business, Okavango Diamond Company. That percentage will increase progressively to 50% during the 10-year agreement.

A Botswana delegation was in India last week for a meeting with Surat’s diamond industry leaders to explore potential collaborations. The Botswana delegation, which was led by Botswana’s Ambassador to India Gilbert Mangole and Director of International Business Botswana Investment and Trade Dipopego Sheko met with members of the Surat Diamond Association (SDA) in Varachha on Wednesday.

The two-day visit aimed to attract Surat’s established diamantaires and jewelry manufacturers to set up factories in Botswana. “The stake of the Botswana government in diamond production is expected to increase in the coming years,” Ambassador Mangole told Indian prospective investors. “We have formulated a robust beneficiation policy to create local employment in diamond cutting and polishing,” he explained, highlighting the government’s plan to extend the diamond value chain within Botswana.

“We invite Surat’s diamantaires and jewelry manufacturers to Botswana to set up their factories,” said Sheko. “The Botswana government will provide all kinds of support to Surat entrepreneurs in procuring rough diamonds through auctions and direct sales,” she elaborated on the investment incentives offered.

However, Surat’s diamantaires raised concerns regarding security for the diamond community in Botswana, the lack of a skilled workforce, operational costs, and potential issues like theft and robbery. SDA members urged the Botswana representatives to address these challenges to create a more favorable environment for Indian businesses.

Sheko responded by assuring the diamantaires that “the Botswana government is committed to the safety and security of diamantaires setting up businesses in our country.”

This visit signifies a potential shift in the diamond industry landscape, with Surat’s expertise possibly complementing Botswana’s growing diamond production. Whether these talks translate into concrete partnerships will depend on Botswana’s ability to address the concerns raised by Surat’s established diamantaires.


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