Botswana, long a major supplier of diamonds to global markets, is positioning itself as an international diamond hub. The recent relocation of the De Beers diamond sales functions from London to Gaborone solidifies Botswana’s position as a preeminent global diamond centre.
Jacob Anthony Rakgomo Thamage, Coordinator of the Diamond Hub since 2010, explains, “My role is to lead the development and growth of the downstream diamond industry in Botswana by facilitating the ease with which the industry can operate. This includes encouraging the growth and development of support services to create a cluster of activities related to and supporting the diamond industry.”
The Botswana Diamond Hub aims to offer world-class facilities and services in all aspects of the diamond industry, including trading of rough and polished diamonds as well as cutting and polishing. Botswana welcomes diamond dealers, experts in cutting and polishing, and providers of specialised services for the diamond industry, such as banking and secure transport.
Economic boost for many sectors
The growth of Botswana’s Diamond Trade Centre is expected to boost investor confidence in the country’s ability to handle complex economic ventures successfully, Jacob Anthony Rakgomo Thamage points out. He adds, “Botswana’s position as a diamond hub will not only increase the value of diamonds traded in Botswana but will also create new employment opportunities in many sectors, including hotels, tourism, banking, security and transport.” He notes that the Okavango Diamond Company recently began trading in Botswana, providing an additional boost to the diamond-industry cluster.
Moving the De Beers diamond sales functions to Botswana has already had a significant positive effect on the country’s economy through adding value to Botswana diamonds, attracting new FDI from global cutting and polishing companies, and drawing investment from diamond-buyers and in services to support them. An ideal location for companies in the diamond industry is Botswana’s new diamond enclave near the International Airport.
Botswana’s President, Lt General Seretse Khama Ian Khama, strongly supports the Diamond Hub initiative. He says, “We believe the time has come for Botswana to play a more meaningful role in the international diamond sector. We will strive to set standards which are amongst the best in the world in order to earn our rightful place as a leading world diamond centre.” He adds, “Our vision is a flourishing diamond-mining sector in Botswana with the country continuing to build on its reputation as one of the most favourable mining destinations in the world.”