27 May 2019

Botswana: Batswana Must Benefit

Las Vegas — President Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi says Batswana should reap benefits from the country's rich endowment of diamonds.

Speaking in an interview ahead of his US trip to attend the JCK Las Vegas show, President Masisi said it was time diamonds and other mineral resources benefitted Batswana.

"I want space for Batswana in the diamond industry," said the President who in his April 2018 inaugural speech promised that government would prioritise implementation of cluster development across various sectors including diamond beneficiation, tourism and beef in order to give concrete effect to Botswana's economic diversification aspirations. Therefore, Dr Masisi said, it was imperative that Botswana was visible in the entire diamond value chain.

He said his historic attendance of the JCK Las Vegas trade show would be an opportunity to share with the world Botswana's diamond story in advancing human development. "I would tell them that if we can be the best in bringing out the diamonds, we surely can be the best in also selling it and participating in its end products.

I want to encourage them to buy more of our diamonds and that our new negotiations with DeBeers would inevitably be successful,' he said.

President Masisi vowed to present to the world a unique perspective of the influence of diamonds on Botswana's thriving democracy adding that his conversation would focus on the special connection between America and Batswana and the immeasurable value of mining contribution to the country's economy.

"Not only are our diamonds rare, they are ethically mined in a multi democratic state where clients can be assured of their return on investment. I will assure them of the product that is rich in market as long as they demand it and pay well," he said.

The President said the significance of Botswana's mines to the country's economy was another aspect he would share with the world. He expressed the hope that he would meet and engage with the top sellers of Botswana diamonds.

The JCK Las Vegas is a global consumer and trade show and one of America's jewelry shows which gathers the most diverse mix of suppliers and products from around the world, attracting about 30 000 attendants from the diamond trade and 2 300 exhibitors. The show is expected to feature leading trade associations, jewellery professionals, investors and media to discover what is new and meaningful to their businesses through unique and personalised experiences.

Meanwhile, the First Lady will also speak at the Las Vagas show as a diamond ambassador to further create a connection between clients and Botswana. The platform would also provide an opportunity for her to meet key movers and shakers of the diamond industry in the American market.

In an interview, Botswana Investment and Trade Centre chief executive office, Mr Keletsositse Olebile said America was the largest single market of Botswana's diamonds. Therefore, He said the President's trip would afford Botswana an opportunity to pitch its natural diamonds, adding that this would also be a chance to emphasise the fact that Botswana diamonds were Kimberly process compliant. Mr Olebile said Botswana's presence at the trade show would entice diamond jewellery manufacturers to invest in Botswana.

"This would be a great opportunity to underscore the fact that Botswana's GDP per capita of P80,610. 20, which is in the top five in Africa as well as infrastructure developments to date as schools, hospitals, dams, roads are largely attributed to Botswana using her diamonds well for economic development," he said.

The JCK Las Vegas trade show is America's jewellery show that gathers the most diverse mix of suppliers and products from around the world.

The show is expected to feature leading trade associations, jewellery professionals, investors and media to discover what is new and meaningful to their businesses through unique and personalised experiences.

Source: BOPA

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