Botswana is in the throes of realising the vision to transform itself into a world diamond centre with the efforts of diamond trading companies, which are not strangers to the country.
This was said this week by the Minister of Minerals, Energy and Water Resources, Ponatshego Kedikilwe when launching the Graff Leadership Centre in Mochudi.
He said the recent signing of the renewed Diamond Sales Agreement between the government of Botswana and De Beers opened up a vista of opportunity. He stated that exploitation of opportunities entails focused planning, hard work and team building to harness synergies of the republic, parastatal and private sector.
“I wish to invite you to take an opportunity while in Botswana to sample our tourist attractions for memorable experience,” said Kedikilwe.
Kedikilwe said SAFDICO, a diamond trading company sightholder has immensely contributed to Botswana’s economy through, among other things, the P70 million investments in phase one of the Diamond Technology Park (DTP) in 2009.
He expressed satisfaction with SAFDICO’s leadership for the vision to invest in the communities in which it operates through the group FACET Foundation. He further commended the management of SAFDICO through FACET for investing P8 million to build and run the second Graff Leadership Centre in partnership and collaboration with Stepping Stone International (SSI) in Botswana.
He said SAFDICO’s involvement in community projects is a good way of playing a major role in facilitating government’s aspirations of transforming the industry from a leading diamond producer to a world diamond centre. “The construction of the centre resonates with our policy of citizen economic empowerment which I need not emphasise,” he said.
SSI Managing Director, Lisa Jamu, said her organisation aims to empower orphaned and vulnerable youths, aged 12-18, to attain employment, sustain a respectable quality and become productive members of society. She echoed Kedikilwe’s words and said the programme resonates well with the policy of citizen economic empowerment, skills transfer and poverty eradication.
Jamu revealed that the centre aims to reach over 600 children and impact on 6500 community members. She said the centre has targeted 100 youth to enroll this year and 55 have already enrolled with enrolment still ongoing.
“We want all the Batswana to benefit from his institution and not only children from Mochudi and surrounding areas,” said Jamu.
She said SAFDICO and FACET partnership is more than just a financial donation but a collaboration of technical input assisting youth in internships and job opportunities.