Vice president of Beneficiation at De Beers Group, Kevin Goodrem
The De Beers Group will, pursue both non diamond business development as well as development of commercially viable jewellery production De Beers and align its strategies with those of the Botswana Government to achieve diversity of the economy as well as the national vision, vice president of Beneficiation at De Beers Group, Kevin Goodrem has said.
Kevin Goodrem, told BusinessPost in an interview that Botswana needs to emulate the United States in development of small enterprises, to create employment and diversity.
“In the US, 97 percent of businesses are small businesses, as in employers of four people or so and this helps the economy and creates employment. In Botswana however, we have more of the large corporations and we need to diversify those non diamond sectors,” he said.
“Our strategies at De Beers will align with the wishes of the Government here and diversify away from the non-diamond sectors. Our intention now is to create entrepreneurship across all sectors,” said Goodrem.
Goodrem said that the Tokafala Fund has been created to help entrepreneurs to get to a stage where they are ready to pitch to financiers, saying Batswana have many workable business concepts but do not have the strategic know how to make them feasible as businesses.
He said that the Fund will add to current efforts such as those undertaken by the Local Enterprise Authority (LEA), but fill the gaps that exist in growing from embryo phase to fully developed business concerns.
Beneficiation is a word coined by the industry, meaning any addition of value in the value of chain of minerals, particularly the diamond industry.
“While we have managed to develop and grow the cutting and polishing for the past eight years, we are now looking at growing entrepreneurship across all sectors,” Goodrem further revealed.
The Diamond Hub has previously told this publication that jewellery manufacturing is the next frontier in terms of deriving more value out of diamonds.
SHINING LIGHT AWARDS
The De Beers Group of Companies jewellery design competition, the Shining Light Awards, has officially commenced its 2015 segment. The competition has been running for 18 years and has seen the design and manufacturing of a number of ‘one of a kind’ jewellery pieces from talented designers from Botswana, South Africa and Namibia.
The competition was initially conceived as a design competition with a vision of showcasing the wealth of talent from South Africa, Botswana and Namibia, to the world by creating a design platform and providing opportunities for designers to bring their designs to life by working with jewellery manufactures to develop these unique pieces.
In 2015 the focus of the Shining Light Awards competition is set to take a new turn while still discovering and showcasing the talent of young jewellery designers to the world, giving participants the opportunity to not only showcase their talent but receive valuable business development skills in the areas of jewellery design, jewellery manufacturing, sales and marketing and consumer demands etc. The shift in focus is designed to align the De Beers Group and its beneficiation strategy highlighting the value chain opportunities within the business.
“The De Beers Group of Companies recognises the significant role that Producer countries play in providing the designers with various opportunities in the jewellery design industry. The success of the competition can be linked to the collaboration between Industry Stakeholders, Government as well as Tertiary Education Institutions, which fits in with the beneficiation ethos of De Beers,” commented Kevin Goodrem, at the launch of the Shining Light this week.
This year’s shift in focus encourages designers to move away from creating extravagant jewellery pieces to creating commercially viable jewellery.
The competition has moved from discovering pure design talent to encouraging participants to not only showcase their talent but their business skills – including cost management and return on investment. Thus designers will not only produce beautiful diamond jewellery but will develop a strategy in order to make this commercially viable to consumers.
The Shining Light Awards competition is open to students as well as those who have completed their studies at a tertiary institution in the past two years. Entrants will be required to design a commercial collection under the chosen theme; ‘the Promise’.
The intention is to align and acquaint students to international standards of jewellery design. The grand finale and announcement of the top three winners will take place in Johannesburg, South Africa at the CIRCA Gallery on the 8th of July 2015.
The pieces will be showcased in 3D technology and the winners will receive a development package which will equip them to further their career both locally and abroad. This year’s winner will be given the opportunity to receive training for a year in Milan, Italy with the innovative Forevermark design team, to expose and enhance their skills in jewellery design.
BRANDING: THE FUTURE
While the Intellectual Property of the designs will be owned by De Beers, the designers will have their names accompanying them in 200 000 outlets spread across the world. Goodrem said that designs by local tertiary institutions have shown that Botswana has the talent for producing world class jewellery and the De Beers’ Forevermark brand, take the names of the winners to the world stage.
The future of the very volatile jewellery industry lies in branding, according to the Diamond Insight Report of 2014. The Report states that the United States and China, the best consumer markets for diamond jewellery, have shown an appetite for branded products in recent years.
“The growth in importance of branded jewellery will have a particular impact in attracting the brand conscious younger US consumer, said the report, adding that the acceleration in consumer preference for brands of diamonds and diamond jewellery is driven by branded engagement rings, from 7 percent of all diamonds sold in 2002, to three and five times those levels in 2011 and 2013 respectively.
Lucrative and highly anticipated national lottery tender that saw several Batswana businessmen partnering to form a gambling consortium to pit against their South African counterparts, culminates into a big power gamble.
WeekendPost has had a chance to watch lottery showcase even before the anticipated and impending national lottery set-up launches. A lot has been a big gamble from the bidding process which is now set for the courts next year January following a marathon legal brawl involving the interest of the gambling fraternity in Botswana and South Africa.
Households representing more than half of Botswana’s population-mostly residing in rural areas- do not know where their next meal will come from, but neither do they take into consideration the quality and/or quantity of the food they consume.
This is according to the latest Prevalence of Food Insecurity in Botswana report which was done for the 2018/19 period and represents the state of food insecurity data even to this time. The Prevalence of Food Insecurity was released by Statistics Botswana and it released results with findings that the results show that at national level 50.8 percent of the population in Botswana was affected by moderate to severe food insecurity in 2018/19, while 22.2 percent of the population was affected by severe food insecurity only.
According to the report, this translates to 27 percent of the population being food secure that is to say having adequate access to food in both quality and quantity. According to Statistician General, Burton Mguni, when explaining how the food data was compiled, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), is custodian of the “Prevalence of Undernourishment (PoU)” and “Prevalence of moderate or severe food insecurity in the population based on the Food Insecurity Experience Scale (FIES)” SDG indicators, for leading FIES data analysis and the resultant capacity building.
“The FIES measures the extent of food insecurity at the household or individual level. The indicator provides internationally comparable estimates of the proportion of the population facing moderate to severe difficulties in accessing food. The FIES consists of eight brief questions regarding access to adequate food, and the questions are answered directly with a yes/no response. It (FIES) complements the existing food and nutrition security indicators such as Prevalence of Undernourishment.
According to the FIES, with increasing severity, the quantity of food consumed decreases as portion sizes are reduced and meals are skipped. At its most severe level, people are forced to go without eating for a day or more. The scale further reveals that the household’s experience of food insecurity may be characterized by uncertainty and anxiety regarding food access and compromising the quality of the diet and having a less balanced and more monotonous diet,” says Mguni.
The 50.8 percent of the population in Botswana which was affected by moderate to severe food insecurity are characterized as people experiencing moderate food insecurity and face uncertainties about their ability to obtain food. These people have been forced to compromise on the quality and/or quantity of the food they consume according to the report on food insecurity.
Those who experience severe food insecurity, the 22.2 percent of the population, are people who have typically run out of food and, at worst, gone a day (or days) without eating. According to the statistics, rural area population experienced moderate to severe food insecurity at 65 percent while urban villages were at 46.60 percent and cities/town were at 31.70 percent. Those experiencing the most extreme and severe insecurity were at rural areas making 33.10 percent while urban villages and towns were at 11.90 percent and 17.50 respectively.
According to a paper compiled by Sirak Bahta, Francis Wanyoike, Hikuepi Katjiuongua and Davis Marumo and published in December 2017, titled ‘Characterization of food security and consumption patterns among smallholder livestock farmers in Botswana,’ over 70 percent of Botswana’s population reside in rural areas, and majority (70%) relies on traditional/subsistence agriculture for their livelihoods.
The study set out to characterize the food security situation and food consumption patterns among livestock keepers in Botswana. “Despite the policy change, challenges still remain in ensuring that all persons and households have access to food at all times. For example, during an analysis of the impacts of rising international food prices for Botswana, BIDPA reported that food prices tended to be highest in the rural areas already disadvantaged by relatively low levels of income and high rates of unemployment,” said the study.
According to the paper, about 9 percent of households were found to be food insecure and this category of households included 6 percent of households that ranked poorly and 3 percent that were on the borderline according to the World Food Programme’s (WFP) definition of food security.
Media reports state that the World Bank has warned that disruption to production and supply chains could ‘spark a food security crisis’ in Africa, forecasting a fall in farm production of up to 7 percent, if there are restrictions to trade, and a 25 percent decline in food imports.
Food security in Botswana or food production was also attacked by the locust pandemic which swept out this country’s vegetation and plants. The locust is said to have contributed to 25 percent loss in production.
Global lockdown have been a thorn in diamonds having shiny sales, but a lot of optimism shows with the easing of Covid-19 restrictions, the precious stones will be bought with high volumes towards festive season. The diamond market is however warned of the resurgence of Covid-19 in key markets presents ongoing risks amid the presence and optimist about the new Covid-29 vaccines.
The latest findings published as De Beers Group’s latest Diamond Insight ‘Flash’ Report, which looks at the impact of the pandemic on relationships and engagements, has revealed that in the US that more couples than ever are buying diamond engagement rings. Bridal sales is mostly the primary source of diamond jewellery demand in recent months, De Beers said.
According to De Beers, interviews with independent jewellers around the US revealed that the rate of couples getting engaged has increased compared with the period when Covid-19 first had an impact in the US in the spring.
“In addition, despite challenging economic times, consumers were spending more than ever on diamond engagement rings – often upgrading in colour, cut and clarity, rather than size. Several jewellers speculated that with consumers spending less on elaborate weddings and/or honeymoons in the current environment, they had more to spend on choosing the perfect ring,” said De Beers.
According to De Beers, a national survey of 360 US women in serious relationships, undertaken in late October in collaboration with engagement and wedding website, The Knot. This survey is said to have found that the majority of respondents (54%) were thinking more about their engagement ring than the wedding itself (32%) or the honeymoon (15%), supporting jewellers’ hypothesis that engagement ring sales were benefiting from reduced wedding and travel budgets in light of Covid-19 restrictions.
When it came to researching engagement rings, online was by far the predominant channel for gaining ideas/inspiration at 86% of consumers surveyed, with 85% saying they had saved examples of styles they liked, according to De Beers. According to the survey, only a uarter of respondents said they had looked in-store at a physical location for design inspiration.
“For many couples, the pandemic has brought them even closer together, in some instances speeding up the path to engagement after forming a deeper connection while experiencing lockdown and its associated ups and downs as a partnership. Engagement rings are taking on even greater symbolism in this environment, with retailers reporting couples are prepared to invest more than usual, particularly due to budget reductions in other areas,” De Beers CEO Cleaver said.
According to De Beers Group, its Diamond Insight Flash Report series is focused on understanding the US consumer perspective in light of Covid-19 and monitoring how it evolves as the crisis evolves. Also, the company said, it is augmenting its existing research programme with additional consumer, retailer and supply chain touch-basis to understand the pain points and the opportunities for stakeholders across the diamond pipeline.
Demand for diamonds is as hard and resilient as the precious stone itself. De Beers pocketed US$ 450 million in its recently held ninth rough diamond sales cycle, and the company says it is more flexible approach to rough diamond sales during the ninth sales cycle of 2020, with the Sight event extended beyond its normal week-long duration.
“Steady demand for De Beers Group’s rough diamonds continued in the ninth sales cycle of the year, reflecting stable consumer demand for diamond jewellery at the retail level in the US and China, and expectations for reasonable demand to continue throughout the holiday season. However, the resurgence of Covid-19 infections in several consumer markets presents ongoing risks,” said De Beers CEO Bruce Cleaver recently.
High expectations are on diamonds being a sentimental gift for holiday season or as the most fetished gift. However the ninth cycle was lower than the eighth which registered US$ 467 million. For the last year period which corresponds with the current one, De Beers managed to raise US$ 400.