GABORONE– Botswana wants a better deal from its diamond sales in partnership with De Beers, President Mokgweetsi Masisi has said.
In the current arrangement with De Beers, Botswana is missing out on the profits from its diamonds because it has no control over how much value the country’s rough production generates further down the supply chain after it is cut and polished, Masisi told a press conference Thursday in Gaborone, the capital.
Botswana and the diamond industry giant De Beers entered into a diamond sales agreement 53 years ago under the 100 percent sales agreement by De Beers.
The government by agreement denied itself an opportunity to sell and market its diamonds because the country was poor then and had a narrow skill base in the diamond space, said Masisi.
In 2011, Botswana renegotiated for entitlement to purchase 10 percent through a locally owned company to sell independently from De Beers.
Under the current deal, which expires in June, Botswana is entitled to purchase up to 25 percent of the stones mined in a joint venture.
According to Masisi, the time has come for Batswana (Botswana people) to expand its diamond industry beyond the rough stone market, because the country can make more as it has learnt some new things.
“It’s time that the diamonds belong to Batswana,” he said.
“It doesn’t make sense for us to continue to relegate ourselves to participating in the rough stone space only.” – Xinhua