Namibia Economist (Windhoek)

20 December 2012

Namibia: Difficult Year for Diamonds

2012 proved to be a challenging year for Namibia Diamond Trading Company (NDTC) and the Namibian diamond industry at large, according to a statement by the company's CEO, Shihaleni Ndjaba,

"The business environment is negatively impacted by uncertainty created as a result of the volatility in the exchange rate particularly the Indian Rupee and the US Dollar, the protracted Euro zone crisis, a slowdown in demand in China and India and the general lack of liquidity.

More of the challenges include longer production cycles, bureaucracy, high labour and production cost in comparison to other cutting centres. Ndjaba also argued that outdated legislation further compounds the challenging market conditions the industry is currently facing.

However, despite the challenges the NDTC has achieved significant milestones in 2012, through skills, knowledge and the unequivocal dedication and commitment of its employees. The company has contributed to the production of consistent, accurate and quality-right first time assortments for the 1.6 million carats of Namdeb's total production.

Earlier this year NDTC entered into three-year agreements with 12 Namibian cutting and polishing factories. "The three-year supply agreements are at the core of the government's objective of promoting value adding of Namibian raw materials and underpin one of NDTC's primary objectives which is to facilitate the creation of a sustainable diamond cutting and polishing industry in Namibia. Through these arrangements NDTC has facilitated the creation of 1300 jobs in the Namibian cutting and polishing industry", said Ndjaba.

The company has also been able to create significant value for its shareholders. In addition to the N$620 million paid to shareholders for the period from 2007 to 2011, NDTC has paid out N$80 million in total to its shareholders this year, bringing the total dividends paid over the five year period to N$700 million.

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