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Botswana unveils rare 20.46 carat blue diamond

Okavango Diamond Company (ODC) on Wednesday April 17th unveiled one of the rarest mineral discoveries in the history of Botswana, a 20.46-carat, oval-shape fancy precious blue diamond. 

The diamond was discovered at Debswana Orapa mine, one of the largest open pit mines in the world, as a 41.11 carat rough stone. The stone’s unique and vibrant blue color is created by the molecular inclusion of the rare mineral boron which between 1-3 billion years ago was present in the rocks of ancient oceans during violent diamond forming volcanic activity. The blue diamond has been named "The Okavango Blue" in honor of the Okavango Delta, the Botswana’s wildlife-rich world heritage site. 

From all colored diamonds, blue stones are the most unusual thus making Okavango Blue one of the rarest in the world. The Gemological Institute of America has graded the 20.46 carat Okavango Blue as an Oval Brilliant Cut, VVS2 clarity diamond, making it one of the highest polished colour classifications attainable for any blue diamond. Okavango Diamond  is Botswana Government  wholly  state owned diamond  sales and marketing  company  that sells 15 percent of Debswana production  is sorted and  valued by Diamond Trading company (DTCB) , both Debswana and DTCB are  50-50 partnerships of Botswana Government and De Beers Group.  85 percent of Debswana production through DTCB is made available to De Beers Global Sight holders. Botswana Government has 15 percent direct shareholding in De Beers Group of Company. 

The Okavango Blue is believed to be the largest blue diamond ever discovered in Botswana, making it one of the highest polished colour classifications attainable for any blue diamond. Commenting on the discovery on Wednesday at the unveiling ceremony in Gaborone, ODC Managing Director Marcus Ter Haar said Okavango Blue sits in the very top bracket of all time historical blue diamond finds because only a very small percentage of the world's diamonds are classified as fancy colour. "It is incredibly unusual for a stone of this colour and nature to have come from Botswana, this is  once in lifetime find, which is about as rare as a star in the Milky Way” said ODC MD 

Tehaar further shared that ODC intends to sell the diamond by 2019 quarter 4. “From the first moment we saw the diamond, it was clear we had something very special. Everyone who has viewed the 20-carat polished diamond has marvelled at its unique colouration which many see as unlike any blue stone they have seen before,” he said  adding that however ODC wasn’t in position to speculate its value because a gem of its  nature was very rare to have any readily available and speculative market price.

In 2016, a massive intense blue diamond, known as The Cullinan Dream, sold for $25.4 million at a Christie’s auction in New York, breaking all records and becoming the most expensive gem of its kind ever sold at auction. Last year, a 6.16-carat blue diamond, secretly passed down through European royalty over three centuries, fetched $6.7 million at Sotheby auction in Geneva $1.4 million more than what diamond sales experts attached to it. Arguably, the most famous is the Hope Diamond, also known as Le Bijou du Roi also known as the King's Jewel, Le bleu de France, France's Blue, and the Tavernier Blue. The massive, 45.52-carat, deep-blue diamond is now kept at the U.S. National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C.

Giving a key note speech at the unveiling ceremony of Okavango Blue, President Mokgweetsi Masisi said finding a diamond of this size and shape and most significantly this colour was virtually unheard of in Botswana because blue diamonds are some of the rarest in the world. Masisi further noted that Botswana diamonds have not only given the county an enviable brand; but they have also significantly contributed to the growth of the economy. “Diamonds  have immensely contributed to the creation of jobs, provision of social services like health, education and the construction of hospitals, roads as well as energy and the water infrastructure amongst others” he said 

Botswana is one of the premier rough diamond producers in the world. Only Russia produces more diamond than Botswana by volume, however the country boasts of housing the world richest diamond mine by value being Jwaneng Mine which produces top gem precious stones. The Diamond sector is the heart beat of Botswana economy accounting to over 30 percent of the country‘s GDP. This industry in its entire value chain is the largest employer of after government, Debswana alone is the largest private sector employer in the country employing over 5000 people excluding indirect complementary staff.

Outside De Beers bracket, Botswana is also home to some of the world’s most prolific diamonds operation including Lucara Diamond’s Karowe operation, where the famous Lesedi Larona the second-largest gem-quality diamond to ever be found, was unearthed in 2016. Masisi said going forward government will enhance citizen participation in the diamond industry through skills development and mentoring, improving access to the rough diamond supply and funding. “Government is committed to take beneficiation to the highest level and I therefore appeal to all our partners to support our goal of transforming Botswana into a vibrant diamond centre” he said  adding that the sale of  the highly unique Okavango Blue  will help in the promotion of our country’s proud heritage in the extraction and beneficiation of natural diamonds.

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Investors inject capital into Tsodilo Resources Company

25th January 2023

Local diamond and metal exploration company Tsodilo Resources Limited has negotiated a non-brokered private placement of 2,200, 914 units of the company at a price per unit of 0.20 US Dollars, which will provide gross proceeds to the company in the amount of C$440, 188. 20.

According to a statement from the group, proceeds from the private placement will be used for the betterment of the Xaudum iron formation project in Botswana and general corporate purposes.

The statement says every unit of the company will consist of a common share in the capital of the company and one Common Share purchase warrant of the company.

Each warrant will enable a holder to make a single purchase for the period of 24 months at an amount of $0.20. As per regularity requirements, the group indicates that the common shares and warrants will be subject to a four month plus a day hold period from date of closure.

Tsodilo is exempt from the formal valuation and minority shareholder approval requirements. This is for the reason that the fair market value of the private placement, insofar as it involves the director, is not more than 25% of the company’s market capitalization.

Tsodilo Resources Limited is an international diamond and metals exploration company engaged in the search for economic diamond and metal deposits at its Bosoto Limited and Gcwihaba Resources projects in Botswana.  The company has a 100% stake in Bosoto which holds the BK16 kimberlite project in the Orapa Kimberlite Field (OKF) in Botswana.

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Business

Global CEOs Back Plan to Unlock $3.4 Trillion Potential of Africa Free Trade Area

23rd January 2023

African heads of state and global CEOs at the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting backed the launch of the first of its kind report on how public-private partnerships can support the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).

AfCFTA: A New Era for Global Business and Investment in Africa outlines high-potential sectors, initiatives to support business and investment, operational tools to facilitate the AfCFTA, and illustrative examples from successful businesses in Africa to guide businesses in entering and expanding in this area.

The report aims to provide a pathway for global businesses and investors to understand the biggest trends, opportunities and strategies to successfully invest and achieve high returns in Africa, developing local, sub-regional and continental value chains and accelerating industrialization, all of which go hand in hand with the success of the AfCFTA.

The AfCFTA is the largest free trade area in the world, by area and number of participating countries. Once fully implemented, it will be the fifth-largest economy in the world, with the potential to have a combined GDP of more than $3.4 trillion. Conceived in 2018, it now has 54 national economies in Africa, could attract billions in foreign investment, and boost overseas exports by a third, double intra-continental trade, raise incomes by 8% and lift 50 million people out of poverty.

To ease the pain of transition to its new single market, Africa has learned from trade liberalization in North America and Europe. “Our wide range of partners and experience can help anticipate and mitigate potential disruptions in business and production dynamics,” said Børge Brende, President, and World Economic Forum. “The Forum’s initiatives will help to ease physical, capital and digital flows in Africa through stakeholder collaboration, private-public collaboration and information-sharing.”

Given the continent’s historically low foreign direct investment relative to other regions, the report highlights the sense of excitement as the AfCFTA lowers or removes barriers to trade and competitiveness. “The promising gains from an integrated African market should be a signal to investors around the world that the continent is ripe for business creation, integration and expansion,” said Chido Munyati, Head of Regional Agenda, Africa, World Economic Forum.

The report focuses on four key sectors that have a combined worth of $130 billion and represent high-potential opportunities for companies looking to invest in Africa: automotive; agriculture and agroprocessing; pharmaceuticals; and transport and logistics.

“Macro trends in the four key sectors and across Africa’s growth potential reveal tremendous opportunities for business expansion as population, income and connectivity are on the rise,” said Wamkele Mene, Secretary-General, AfCFTA Secretariat.

“These projections reveal an unprecedented opportunity for local and global businesses to invest in African countries and play a vital role in the development of crucial local and regional value chains on the continent,” said Landry Signé, Executive Director and Professor, Thunderbird School of Global Management and Co-Chair, World Economic Forum Regional Action Group for Africa.

The Forum is actively working towards implementing trade and investment tools through initiatives, such as Friends of the Africa Continental Free Trade Area, to align with the negotiation process of the AfCFTA. It identifies areas where public-private collaboration can help reduce barriers and facilitate investment from international firms.

About the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting 2023

The World Economic Forum Annual Meeting 2023 convenes the world’s foremost leaders under the theme, Cooperation in a Fragmented World. It calls on world leaders to address immediate economic, energy and food crises while laying the groundwork for a more sustainable, resilient world. For further information,

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Business

Electricity generation down 15.8%

9th January 2023

Electricity generation in Botswana during the third quarter of 2022 declined by 15.8%, following operational challenges at Botswana Power Corporation’ Morupule B power plant, according to Statistics Botswana Index of Electricity Generation (IEG) released last week.

The index shows that local electricity generation decreased by 148,243 MWH from 937,597 MWH during the second quarter of 2022 to 789,354 MWH during the third of quarter of 2022.

This decrease, according to the index, was mainly attributed to a decline in power supply realized at Morupule B power station. The index shows that as a result of low power supply from the plant, imported electricity during the third quarter of 2022 increased by 76.3 percent (123,831 MWH), from 162,340 MWH during the second quarter of 2022 to 286,171 MWH during the current quarter and Statistics Botswana added that the increase was necessitated by the need to augment the shortfall in generated electricity.

In the index Statistics Botswana stated that Eskom was the main source of imported electricity at 42.0 percent of total electricity imports. “The Southern African Power Pool (SAPP) accounted for 38.4 percent, while the remaining 10.1, 9.1 and 0.5 percent were sourced from Electricidade de Mozambique (EDM), Cross-border electricity markets and the Zambia Electricity Supply Corporation Limited (ZESCO), respectively. Cross-border electricity markets are arrangements whereby towns and villages along the border are supplied with electricity from neighbouring countries such as Namibia and Zambia.”

The government owned statistics entity stated that distributed electricity decreased by 2.2 percent (24,412 MWH), from 1,099,937 MWH during the second quarter of 2022 to 1,075,525 MWH during the third quarter of 2022. The entity noted that electricity generated locally contributed 73.4 percent to electricity distributed during the third quarter of 2022, compared to a contribution of 85.2 percent during the third quarter in 2022 and added that this gives a decline of 11.8 percentage points. “The quarter-on-quarter comparison shows that the contribution of electricity generated to electricity distributed decreased by 11.8 percentage points compared to the 85.2 percent contribution during the second quarter of 2022.”

Statistics Botswana meanwhile stated that the year-on-year analysis shows some improvement in local electricity generation. Recent figures from entity show that the physical volume of electricity generated increased by 36.3 percent (210,319 MWH), from 579, 036 MWH during the third quarter of 2021 to 789,354 MWH during the current quarter. According to Statistics Botswana electricity generated locally contributed 73.4 percent to electricity distributed during the third quarter of 2022, compared to a contribution of 57.7 percent during the same quarter in 2021. This gives an increase of 15.7 percentage points.

 

The entity noted that trends also show an increase in physical volume of electricity distributed from 2013 to the third quarter of 2022, thereby indicating that there are ongoing efforts to meet the domestic demand for power. “There has been a gradual increase of distributed electricity from the first quarter of 2013 to the third quarter of 2022, even though there are fluctuations. The year-on-year perspective shows that the amount of distributed electricity increased by 7.2 percent (71,787 MHW), from 1,003,738 MWH during the third quarter of 2021 to 1,075,525 MWH during the current quarter.”

The statistics entity noted that year-on-year analysis show that during the third quarter of 2022, the physical volume of imported electricity decreased by 32.6 percent (138,532 MWH), from 424,703 MWH during the third quarter of 2021 to 286,171 MWH during the third quarter of 2022. “There is a downward trend in the physical volume of imported electricity from the first quarter of 2013 to the third quarter of 2022. The downward trend indicates the country’s continued effort to generate adequate electricity to meet domestic demand, hence the decreased reliance on electricity imports.”

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