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Botswana diamonds marked conflict free

Botswana continues to reap the rewards from decades of successful management of its diamond sector to become one of the fastest growing economies in Africa.

When speaking at the Plenary Meeting of the Policy Dialogue on Natural Resource-based Development hosted by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development in Paris, Managing Director of Okavango Diamond Company (ODC), Marcus ter Haar said, “Transparency and good governance must continue to be a guiding value of corporate behavior in order to earn the trust and respect of our current and future consumers.”

The Organization for Economic Co- operation and Development (OECD) is an international organization with over 58 years of experience and insights that works to build better policies that foster prosperity, equality, opportunity and well- being for all. The diamond sector is the largest private sector employer in Botswana and the primary engine for growth and development, contributing 80 percent to foreign exchange earnings, 50 percent of government revenue and 30 percent of GDP. Before diamonds were discovered in Botswana in 1966, income per capita was just US$70, but that has since grown to over US$7, 000. Only nine schools were in existence before the discovery of diamonds, but the country now boasts over 1, 000 schools.

Marcus ter Haar says, in Botswana diamond mining now directly employs in excess of 5, 500 people, with the diamond cutting and polishing industry employing approximately 2, 300 people. Maximising the value derived from diamonds across the value chain means greater benefits such as ongoing skills training, ranging from artisan level to highly skilled professionals. According to ter Haar, such policy dialogues are critical in enabling ODC and Botswana to share its best practices with a wider group of stakeholders as the country transforms from a resource- based to a knowledge- based economy.  

He said due to the major strides made to broaden the economic activity in the sector and thanks to once-in-a-lifetime finds like the “Okavango Blue” diamond that was unveiled to the world in April 2019. The MD ter Haar believes Botswana is fast being transformed into a leading global natural diamond center. The remarkable oval shaped “Okavango Blue” diamond, is officially the biggest blue diamond discovery ever made in Botswana, weighing 20. 46 carats in its polished form.

“Botswana has produced and continues to produce some of the world’s most impressive and valuable gems the world has seen through the last five decades of responsible mining and selling. These gemstones have generated income that contributes to a nation being housed, schooled and provided with healthcare and infrastructure. Diamonds have built the foundations for a modern progressive African nation,” he says.

As a founding member of the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme (KPCS), Botswana diamonds have always been conflict- free. The emphasis on transparency, good governance, and ethical sourcing have engendered great trust in the diamond sector in Botswana.
“It’s time diamonds become symbolic of the good that they do and the responsible and ethical nature of unearthing and processing of these gems in Botswana should be celebrated as a thriving model of corporate citizenship and best practice across the world”.

Okavango Diamond Company (ODC), is a rough diamond marketing company that is wholly owned by the Botswana Government. ODC, which was launched in 2013, and with revenues of in excess of $500m has quickly emerged as one of the leading, global suppliers of responsibly sourced diamonds. The company offers its customers the largest supply of natural rough diamonds exclusively of Botswana origin.

The ODC obtains its rough diamond’s directly from Debswana, whose Diamond mining operations are located across Botswana in Orapa, Letlhakane, Damtshaa and Jwaneng mines. Thereafter, rough diamonds are sold through ODC’s transparent online auctions to a global customer base who ultimately polish diamonds and produce diamond jewellery destined for the leading consumer markets.

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BDP decides Balopi’s fate

22nd November 2021
Balopi

The Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) Central Committee (CC) meeting, chaired by President Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi late last month, resolved that the party’s next Secretary-General (SG) should be a full-time employee based at Tsholetsa House and not active in politics.

The resolution by the CC, which Masisi proposed, is viewed as a ploy to deflate the incumbent, Mpho Balopi’s political ambitions and send him into political obscurity. The two have not been on good terms since the 2019 elections, and the fallout has been widening despite attempts to reconcile them. In essence, the BDP says that Balopi, who is currently a Member of Parliament, Minister of Employment, Labour Productivity and Skills Development, and a businessman, is overwhelmed by the role.

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BDF-Namibians shootings autopsy report revealed

22nd November 2021
BDF

The Botswana Defence Force (BDF)-Namibians fatal shooting tragedy Inquest has revealed through autopsy report that the BDF carried over 800 bullets for the mission, 32 of which were discharged towards the targets, and 19 of which hit the targets.

This would mean that 13 bullets missed the targets-in what would be a 60 percent precision rate for the BDF operation target shooting. The Autopsy report shows that Martin Nchindo was shot with five (4) bullets, Ernst Nchindo five (5) bullets, Tommy Nchindo five (5) bullets and Sinvula Munyeme five (5) bullets. From the seven (7) BDF soldiers that left the BDF camp in two boats, four (4) fired the shots that killed the Namibians.

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Gov’t confused over Moitoi’s UN job application

22nd November 2021
VENSON MOITOI

The former Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Pelonomi Venson-Moitoi’s decision to apply for the positions of United Nations Special Representative of the Secretary-General (SRSG) and their deputies (DSRSG), has left the government confused over whether to lend her support or not, WeekendPost has established.

Moitoi’s application follows the Secretary-General’s launch of the third edition of the Global Call for Heads and Deputy Heads of United Nations Field Missions, which aims to expand the pool of candidates for the positions of SRSG) and their deputies to advance gender parity and geographical diversity at the most senior leadership level in the field. These mission leadership positions are graded at the Under-Secretary-General and Assistant Secretary-General levels.

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