Botswana is Africa’s largest diamond producer.
The sector constitutes about 20 percent of the GDP and over 70 percent of export revenues.
This makes the diamond industry – mining, cutting and polishing, and sales – the most important economic activity for the country.
But with various challenges affecting the sector, key stakeholders met in the capital Gaborone to discuss the future of the industry that currently faces an uncertain future due to a slump in commodity prices.
“We remain focused and keep our eyes on the radar for any threats at may come. Whether it is disruptive technologies, whether it is instability in security, whether it’s the actual growth in economies,” Botswana’s vice president Mokgweetsi Masisi assured investors.
It has however been a tough time to be in the diamond business. Like all other precious commodities, global demand for diamonds has been greatly subdued, some suggest to near-2008 recession levels.
De Beers group is the main player in diamond mining in Botswana and the company’s chief Executive is optimistic about the future of the sector.
“Diamonds are an aspirational purchase and people aspire to buy diamonds. But you can’t take anything for granted in the diamond world. We have to continue marketing diamonds, continue driving demand. So I think as long as we are all innovative, as long as we are all focused, there is a great future in the diamond industry,” said De Beers CEO, Bruce Cleaver.
Africanews journalist Claire Muthinji who is in Botswana’s capital Gaborone added, “With various delegates converging to discuss the future of Botswana’s diamond sector, changing consumer trends and economic diversification remained top of the agenda. However the general consensus is that Botswana can indeed navigate these hurdles and still remain a key player in the global diamond industry.”