Africa-Press – Botswana. Botswana and HB Antwerp have established a strategic partnership whereby the country will invest and acquire a 24 per cent equity stake in the diamond company.
Launching the HB Botswana diamond cutting and polishing factory in Gaborone yesterday, President Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi said key commercial terms of the deal had been agreed and that it would be signed in the coming weeks.
“Today is the dawn of a new era for the diamond industry in Botswana as we begin this journey with HB Antwerp,” he said.
Dr Masisi said through the Okavango Diamond Company, government would supply HB Botswana with rough diamonds.
HB Botswana, he explained, was HB Antwerp’s local subsidiary for a period of five years and that all the value addition would take place in Botswana.
“It is time for Botswana to participate not only in the process of extracting diamonds and selling them as rough stones without having processed them into value added commodities across the diamond trade value chain,” said President Masisi.
He noted that returns from selling value added diamonds were much higher than those on the sale of rough diamonds.
The President disclosed that the company had committed to scaling up its business and increasing its workforce from the current 30 to 485 by 2026.
Dr Masisi pointed out that government had over the years taken a proactive stance to invest in human capital development.
“For many years Botswana mining workforce was only able to develop skill sets in areas related to mining because we weren’t empowered to participate in analysis, cutting and polishing, marketing and selling of the stones,” he said.
He said Botswana looked forward to research, innovation and cutting-edge operations from HB Antwerp’s experience and expertise in diamonds that Batswana would learn a lot from.
Minister of Minerals and Energy, Mr Lefoko Moagi said HB Botswana was another benefit of President Masisi’s efforts of selling the country to the outside world and luring investors.
Botswana, he said, was breaking new frontiers as it sought to participate in the entire diamond value chain.
Flanders finance minister Mr Matthias Diependaele said HB Antwerp would be bringing high technology machines to Botswana. He also said there were many opportunities for cooperation between his region and Botswana.
For More News And Analysis About Botswana Follow Africa-Press