Mmegi/The Reporter (Gaborone)

Botswana: Indian-Based Training for Country in Diamond Cutting

Botswana is interested in Indian-based training in the fields of diamond cutting and polishing.

According to the Economic Times of India, Botswana is looking at increasing the number of Batswana that go to study in India with focus put on those interested in the diamond polishing and cutting industry.

"We are looking to increasing the number of slots for Botswana nationals to come for training courses here, especially in the diamond polishing and cutting sector," Botswana's High Commissioner to India Dorcas Ana Kgosietsile was quoted by the Economic Times of India in New Dehli.

A larger proportion of rough diamonds produced by Debswana is processed through cutting and polishing centres such as India and then exported throughout the world.

Already two Indian companies Suashish diamonds and Shrenuj have set up shop in Botswana along with fourteen others to become the Diamond Trading Company of Botswana(DTCB) 's sightholders.

"I know that Indians can cut any shape or size, even if it is the size of a grain," she said.

The Botswana envoy was also keen to increase awareness in Botswana about India as a market for diamonds. "It is the third largest consumer of diamonds after the United States and Japan. With global recession, the US and Japanese markets had gone down, but India has been relatively resilient. I have been telling people in Botswana that they should be looking at India seriously," she said.

According to the Economic Times Kgosietsile felt that more and more Indian companies, like Suashish diamonds and Shrenuj who have become sightholders for DTCB, should travel to Botswana to set up shop.

"I see a lot of synergies here," Kgosietsile asserted.

Last month, Indian Vice President Mohammed Hamid Ansari was in Botswana on a three-day visit during which two agreements in agriculture and education were signed.

There were also unconfirmed reports of discussions regarding diamond trade having taken place between Ansari and his Botswana counterpart Lt Gen Mompati Merafhe.

With negotiations for a new sales agreement between Government and De Beers fast approaching, there has been pressure from emerging diamond industry players such as India and China to be considered as third part competitors for Botswana's diamonds.

India is the largest importer of uncut diamonds, but most of them have been routed through the trading centres of Antwerp but Botswana now has ambitious plans to turn itself into a diamond trading centre by opening an independent marketing channel.

Analysts believe this would give Botswana an independent 'window' on the market and enable a better assessment of market conditions, and perhaps provide an opportunity to develop as a centre for the trading of diamonds from other countries.

Government and De Beers have been haggling for the past few years over the local marketing and beneficiation of diamonds mined in Botswana. As part of its concession to Government, De Beers agreed to move the entire aggregation of its entire international diamond production to Gaborone.

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