Despite uncertainty in the global diamond trading market in recent years, Botswana’s new president, Mokgweetsi Masisi, has demonstrated his country’s belief in the economic significance of diamond exports.
Masisi has revealed that his country is pushing for a long-term diamond sales pact with De Beers, the diamond mining giant. The country’s 10 year diamond sales agreement with De Beers is due to expire in 2020.
Masisi said, in the revised deal, his government was pushing for what he called a “win-win deal” which would benefit the country’s citizens, through increasing the local processing of gems. “The whole value proposition of beneficiation of diamonds revolves around jobs, the diversification of the economy,” he said. “Why take them far away? So, the very things that cause them to be processed elsewhere, we want to get to the underlying reasons for that, the attractions and bring them to Gaborone.”
World’s biggest producer by value
Botswana is the world’s biggest producer of rough diamonds by value. Diamond exports have sustained the country’s economic growth since diamond reserves were discovered in the early 70s. Diamond mining constitutes a fifth of the country’s gross domestic product.
However, since the late 1990s the country the country embarked on a drive to diversify the country’s economy away from the dicey dependency on diamond mining, through stimulating growth in both mining and non-mining economic sectors, with mixed results.