Africa-Press – Botswana. Efforts to lure diamond cutting and polishing companies in Surat, India to setup and do business in Botswana proved worthwhile during a recent seminar facilitated by the South Gujarat Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SGCCI), says Botswana’s High Commissioner to Indian, Mr Gilbert Mangole.

The seminar on Doing Business in Botswana held May 13-14, had a sole purpose of extending global influence and presenting opportunities within the diamond beneficiation value chain locally.

Briefing BOPA on key derivatives Wednesday, Mr Mangole said with about 40 Indian diamond companies already doing business in Botswana on a smaller scale, it was within the purview of government to have them expand locally.

Mr Mangole said in consolidation, these companies created about 5 000 jobs within the diamond sector locally, however, with a developed value chain within the sector, the nation was potentially geared toward revamping employment opportunities to about 8 000 occupations.

He said with keen interest and expansion of these companies in Botswana, the diamond value chain would certainly be enhanced through skills transfer and manufacturing of well processed high value products.

Mr Mangole said beyond meeting with an array of diamond giants from India, they narrowed their negotiations with a significant few including SRK, and Kiran Diamond Manufacturers who were among the top five companies in the sector.

He added that their meeting targeted boosting firm expansion locally and enlightening delegates on Botswana’s investment climate and determinations driven by the government, to ensure a safe and mutually benefiting agreement.

Meanwhile, BITC Director of International Business for India and Asia, Mr Dipopego Tsheko, said they had discussions with Hari Krishna Exports, one of the biggest diamond manufacturers and exporters in India.

Mr Tsheko said the company made an annual turnover of US$2.1 billion. During their interaction with the CEO, Mr Pintu Dholakia, the Botswana team made a proposition for the company to consider expanding their investment locally on the backdrop of the recently signed landmark sales agreement between De Beers and the government.

He said Mr Dholakia promised to seriously consider the proposition. Hari Krishna currently has a small operation in Botswana.

He added that the they met with Finestar Diamonds which was already expanding in Botswana by building an 8 000 feet factory and office premises within the Diamond Technology Park in Block 8, Gaborone.

“This is expected to lead to a doubling of the Finestar workforce in Botswana from 150 to more than 300 employees,” he said.

Mr Tsheko said both diamond industry giants expressed their satisfaction with the way Botswana handled the negotiations with De Beers, and affirmed that indeed they were willing to do long term investments locally.

He said during an interaction with members of the Surat Diamond Association, some diamond business owners from the region expressed their displeasure with the level of crime in Botswana.

However, he said he made it known that these were isolated incidents in the past where some Indian nationals within the diamond cutting and polishing industry were attacked and robbed by unknown assailants.

Notably, Mr Tsheko said the seminar was beneficial as it provided opportunity to allay the fears and assure delegates that Botswana was safe and much open for business to Gujarati investors.

He said investors were alerted that government had since improved security around the sector, to ensure their safety and that of their workers.

Moreover, Mr Tsheko said they attended yet another business seminar with some companies from the pharmaceutical sector in Surat, where he made a presentation on ‘Doing Business in Botswana,’ specifically focusing on the opportunities within the sector.

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