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New sources of diamond jewellery demand

New research published this week by De Beers Group in its latest Diamond Insight Report reveals that shifting relationship dynamics, women’s expanding roles in society and changing perceptions of femininity are creating new motivations for diamond jewellery acquisitions.

Social and economic changes are leading to expanded symbolism for diamond jewellery, record levels of self-purchase and the establishment of new consumer types. The Diamond Insight Report 2017 highlights the emergence of three key trends that are having a direct impact on how and why people buy diamond jewellery:

First, changes to family and personal relationships are leading to diamond jewellery being purchased and given to symbolise a wider range of ‘moments’ in a life beyond those directly connected to relationship milestones. As marriage generally comes later in life, and as it is seen as a union between two equal individuals, women are receiving diamonds for multiple occasions both before and after marriage. Alongside traditional relationship milestones, diamond jewellery is increasingly being bought to celebrate occasions such as a new job, a promotion and personal achievements more broadly.

Second, women’s increased economic participation and higher earnings are supporting growth in women buying diamond jewellery for themselves. More than a quarter of women’s diamond jewellery bought in 2016 in each of the four main consumer nations (the US, China, Japan and India), representing more than US$18 billion in value, was acquired through the self-purchase route. In Hong Kong, female self-purchase accounts for the majority of diamond jewellery sales.

Third, a new perception of femininity is emerging that is more closely associated with strength and confidence, alongside more traditional attributes such as caring and nurturing. This is leading to diamonds being purchased to symbolise a wider range of emotions, such as joy, optimism and pride, and to the emergence of a new class of consumer: the mature single woman. Meanwhile, feminine success is increasingly being defined through qualities such as uniqueness and personal meaningfulness, and there is an enhanced focus on the importance of experiences, leading to greater interest in purchases that can reflect these characteristics.

Bruce Cleaver, CEO, De Beers Group, said: “These societal and economic changes will have direct consequences for a wide range of industries, but they are especially exciting for the diamond sector. As diamonds are among the most powerfully symbolic purchases, as they lend themselves to individual design, and as they are effectively a hybrid of product and experience, the new trends present a major opportunity to build on the existing base of demand.

“While the giving of diamond jewellery as a token of love and commitment continues to constitute the majority of purchases, it’s encouraging to see these additional sources of demand emerge. It’s also great to see women buying more diamond jewellery for themselves in recognition of their achievements, or simply because they want to and they can. The diamond industry now needs to focus on what female consumers are telling us about how they feel about diamonds and make sure that products and buying experiences match their expectations.”

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Botswana on high red alert as AML joins Covid-19 to plague mankind

21st September 2020
Botswana-on-high-alert-as-AML-joins-Covid-19-to-plague-mankind-

This century is always looking at improving new super high speed technology to make life easier. On the other hand, beckoning as an emerging fierce reversal force to equally match or dominate this life enhancing super new tech, comes swift human adversaries which seem to have come to make living on earth even more difficult.

The recent discovery of a pandemic, Covid-19, which moves at a pace of unimaginable and unpredictable proportions; locking people inside homes and barring human interactions with its dreaded death threat, is currently being felt.

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Finance Committee cautions Gov’t against imprudent raising of debt levels

21st September 2020
Finance Committe Chairman: Thapelo Letsholo

Member of Parliament for Kanye North, Thapelo Letsholo has cautioned Government against excessive borrowing and poorly managed debt levels.

He was speaking in  Parliament on Tuesday delivering  Parliament’s Finance Committee report after assessing a  motion that sought to raise Government Bond program ceiling to P30 billion, a big jump from the initial P15 Billion.

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Gov’t Investment Account drying up fast!  

21st September 2020
Dr Matsheka

Government Investment Account (GIA) which forms part of the Pula fund has been significantly drawn down to finance Botswana’s budget deficits since 2008/09 Global financial crises.

The 2009 global economic recession triggered the collapse of financial markets in the United States, sending waves of shock across world economies, eroding business sentiment, and causing financiers of trade to excise heightened caution and hold onto their cash.

The ripple effects of this economic catastrophe were mostly felt by low to middle income resource based economies, amplifying their vulnerability to external shocks. The diamond industry which forms the gist of Botswana’s economic make up collapsed to zero trade levels across the entire value chain.

The Upstream, where Botswana gathers much of its diamond revenue was adversely impacted by muted demand in the Midstream. The situation was exacerbated by zero appetite of polished goods by jewelry manufacturers and retail outlets due to lowered tail end consumer demand.

This resulted in sharp decline of Government revenue, ballooned budget deficits and suspension of some developmental projects. To finance the deficit and some prioritized national development projects, government had to dip into cash balances, foreign reserves and borrow both externally and locally.

Much of drawing was from Government Investment Account as opposed to drawing from foreign reserve component of the Pula Fund; the latter was spared as a fiscal buffer for the worst rainy days.

Consequently this resulted in significant decline in funds held in the Government Investment Account (GIA). The account serves as Government’s main savings depository and fund for national policy objectives.

However as the world emerged from the 2009 recession government revenue graph picked up to pre recession levels before going down again around 2016/17 owing to challenges in the diamond industry.

Due to a number of budget surpluses from 2012/13 financial year the Government Investment Account started expanding back to P30 billion levels before a series of budget deficits in the National Development Plan 11 pushed it back to decline a decline wave.

When the National Development Plan 11 commenced three (3) financial years ago, government announced that the first half of the NDP would run at budget deficits.

This  as explained by Minister of Finance in 2017 would be occasioned by decline in diamond revenue mainly due to government forfeiting some of its dividend from Debswana to fund mine expansion projects.

Cumulatively since 2017/18 to 2019/20 financial year the budget deficit totaled to over P16 billion, of which was financed by both external and domestic borrowing and drawing down from government cash balances. Drawing down from government cash balances meant significant withdrawals from the Government Investment Account.

The Government Investment Account (GIA) was established in accordance with Section 35 of the Bank of Botswana Act Cap. 55:01. The Account represents Government’s share of the Botswana‘s foreign exchange reserves, its investment and management strategies are aligned to the Bank of Botswana’s foreign exchange reserves management and investment guidelines.

Government Investment Account, comprises of Pula denominated deposits at the Bank of Botswana and held in the Pula Fund, which is the long-term investment tranche of the foreign exchange reserves.

In June 2017 while answering a question from Bogolo Kenewendo, the then Minister of Finance & Economic Development Kenneth Mathambo told parliament that as of June 30, 2017, the total assets in the Pula Fund was P56.818 billion, of which the balance in the GIA was P30.832 billion.

Kenewendo was still a back bench specially elected Member of Parliament before ascending to cabinet post in 2018. Last week Minister of Finance & Economic Development, Dr Thapelo Matsheka, when presenting a motion to raise government local borrowing ceiling from P15 billion to P30 Billion told parliament that as of December 2019 Government Investment Account amounted to P18.3 billion.

Dr Matsheka further told parliament that prior to financial crisis of 2008/9 the account amounted to P30.5 billion (41 % of GDP) in December of 2008 while as at December 2019 it stood at P18.3 billion (only 9 % of GDP) mirroring a total decline by P11 billion in the entire 11 years.

Back in 2017 Parliament was also told that the Government Investment Account may be drawn-down or added to, in line with actuations in the Government’s expenditure and revenue outturns. “This is intended to provide the Government with appropriate funds to execute its functions and responsibilities effectively and efficiently” said Mathambo, then Minister of Finance.

Acknowledging the need to draw down from GIA no more, current Minister of Finance   Dr Matsheka said “It is under this background that it would be advisable to avoid excessive draw down from this account to preserve it as a financial buffer”

He further cautioned “The danger with substantially reduced financial buffers is that when an economic shock occurs or a disaster descends upon us and adversely affects our economy it becomes very difficult for the country to manage such a shock”

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