Botswana to Become New Diamond Trading Centre
Gaborone, Botswana - Nov 2007
Botswana has expressed confidence that it is ready to become the next diamond trading hub. The country is aiming to cut and polish $500 million dollars worth of diamonds every year between now and 2010.
However, questions have been raised concerning the potential of the emerging industry since the country does not appear to have adequate infrastructure already in place; it is also likely to face strong competition from already established centres such as Antwerp and London.
Botswana is the source of about 25 percent of the $13.1 billion worth of rough diamonds produced in the world each year and diamonds account for about 70 percent of the country’s export earnings.
Marking the celebrations of the 25th anniversary of the Jwaneng mine, which is the world’s richest diamond mine, President Festus Mogae revealed that his country wants to become a diamond trading centre comparable to the likes of Antwerp.
He noted that “out of the 16 cutting and polishing diamond companies which have been issued with licenses, only six of them are operational. He said companies have cutting and polishing facilities in places such as India and Israel, and that there is a need to include Botswana as one of the viable centers.” He added that “while the country cared about its own diamond industry it also cared about the international diamond industry”.
Speaking on his return from the Antwerp Diamond Conference held in Belgium recently, the Deputy Permanent Secretary for the Ministry of Minerals, Energy and Water Resources ‘Kago Moshashane’ supported the view that Botswana has the potential to become the next diamond cutting and polishing centre. He said that “the country is going to trade at least US$500 million of its aggregated supply and that the balance will continue to be channeled to established markets such as Antwerp”.
He expressed confidence saying that “as for our ability and capacity, the massive infrastructure that we are putting in place and the training of personnel that the country is carrying out speaks for itself. Other centres have their own well established markets for jewellery, so it would be unreasonable for any of them to feel threatened by the emergence of Botswana as an additional diamond trading hub”.