The world’s leading diamond mining company by value, Debswana, re-launched its ┬áSocial Investment Policy (CSI) which aims to create a legacy of prosperity, sustainability and empowerment for the communities in Botswana.
Speaking at the launch held at Cresta Lodge, on Thursday, Public and Corporate Manager for Debswana, Jacob Sesinyi,┬á said the new policy is in line with Debswana’s “desire not only to be a sustainable, profitable company, but also a direct contributor to the development and well-being of the communities in which it operates.”
Sesinyi said the policy has been influenced, in the short to medium term, by Botswana Vision 2016 and United Nations Millennium Development goals, as well as supporting governance structures.
He said the aim is to integrate Corporate Social Investment into business and align it with business strategy.
“In the long term, we are focusing towards mines closure which entails developing a Trust, which is appropriate for mine closure activities,” he adds.
The new policy. which was unveiled to Non-governmental organizations and local press on Thursday, is expected to balloon from the current budget of P 6.7 million to undisclosed figure with twin approach of supporting the national Vision 2016 and programme┬á within ┬ácommunities in which they operate.
Debswana, which accounts for┬á over 55 percent of┬á government budget and┬á 80 percent of┬á exports, operates four┬á diamond mines of Jwaneng, Damtshaa, Orapa and Letlhakane, with a total volume of 31 million carats in the past year.
The┬á new policy,┬á whose budget is expected to be approved by the board ÔÇô a 50/50 joint venture between De Beers and Botswana government ÔÇô in November, will focus on issues related to education, entrepreneurship (small and medium development environment), Health and welfare (including hospitals and HIV/AIDS), strategic sustainable sports development programmes┬á and Non Governmental sustainable development programmes.
“We are confident that these projects will not only contribute enormously to the development of the lives of ordinary Batswana but will also promote Debswana’s brand and reputation,” Sesinyi said.
Further, Sesinyi┬á said the ┬ápolicy is also aligned with the needs of the community within which they operate.┬á He said the CSI policy will allocate a high proportion of its commitment to organizations, groups and programmes that are educational in character.┬á
He said ┬áDebswana will consider very favourable community projects that not only assist the underprivileged and the deprived but those that result in job creation, on-the-job training, health and education in general.┬á
However, the┬á miner said┬á its┬á largeese which entail a strong┬á corporate governance┬á component adding that those who spend Debswana’s money must be held accountable.┬á “The NGO or communities receive Debswana’s funds to teach under-privileged children, and, in turn, ┬áexpect the children to learn.
If this is not achieved, without hesitation, and without loss of dignity to those concerned, the company will reclaim the donated money and make a different choice,” Sesinyi said.
“The opportunities offered by Debswana’s new CSI policy are too great.┬á Our society’s challenges are too many to waste this moment,” he added.