De Beers says it is “cautiously optimistic” that the year will be good for Botswana’s diamond industry amid challenges ahead.
The company’s resident director and chief executive officer, Neo Moroka, announced before a stakeholder engagement breakfast Thursday that there were signs of recovery in the diamond market following a slump in diamond sales a little under two years ago.
The company says while it has posted successful first half year results, De Beers still conducts its business in “a challenging atmosphere and a fragile economic climate”.
De Beers says there are several forces that will shape the future of Botswana’s diamond industry in the foreseeable future. The other challenge, the company says, is how Botswana maintains and manages valuable resources. Moroka says the reputation of diamonds is crucial to the continued success of the country.
“As the largest producer by value, your actions and strategies will have an impact on the global marketing area. Unfortunately, conflict diamonds to date continue to haunt the diamond industry and the need to protect the integrity of our diamonds is even much greater today. It’s important to think about how we’re going to protect the integrity of our diamonds,” says the CEO.
The company anticipates shifting patterns in consumer demands from the United States ÔÇô the largest diamond consumer ÔÇô with the emergence of China and India as new major consumers.
“We anticipate that by 2016 China’s diamond consumption will increase to 16 percent, India by between 13 and 15 percent while there will be a decline in US demand for diamonds. US buyers are aging. In China and India, the vast majority of the population is moving to middle-class.
The emergence of synthetic gem diamonds is also a threat to natural diamonds since they are cheaper to produce yet they look like natural diamonds.
Moroka says the aspirations of the Botswana government and De Beers going forward need to be clearly defined.
The breakfast was attended by former President Sir Ketumile Masire, former minister’s of Mineral Resources and Water Affairs under Masire’s administration Dr. Gaositwe Chiepe and Archibald Mogwe.