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COVID-19: What experts say on Diamonds

“The diamond industry remains the most important to the Botswana economy, even though the level of economic dependence on diamonds has been reduced somewhat over the past few decades.

As we have noted earlier, 2019 was generally a poor year for diamonds, but there were signs of recovery in December 2019 and January 2020. Now, however, the global diamond industry has ground to almost a complete halt. Retail stores are currently closed in most countries, so few sales of diamond jewellery are taking place (there are some online sales).

Travel restrictions mean that buyers cannot travel to physical sales events, such as those held ten times a year in Botswana. There are excess levels of inventory at all levels of the diamond value chain – retailers, jewellery manufacturers, cutters and polishers, traders and mining companies.

Even when retail sales do re-start, it will take some time for the demand to flow through the value chain down to the level of diamond mining companies. There are also concerns that the impact of COVID-19 has been so traumatic that it will take time for spending on high-value luxuries to resume.

In the short term, Debswana has suspended mining operations during April 2020, having brought forward previously-planned maintenance and engineering operations. Current plans are for mining to resume in May. Even under the lockdown, mining is classed as an essential service, and most of the other mines in the country are still operating; a resumption of mining operations by Debswana would help to limit the negative impact of COVID-19 on GDP.

Nevertheless, the De Beers group is projecting a 20% reduction in output below previously-planned levels in 2020, and the reduction in Debswana’s output will be at this level or even higher. However, mining diamonds that cannot immediately be sold means that they have to be stockpiled; GDP is boosted by the ongoing production, but the lack of sales means that export earnings and government revenues are impacted until sales recover. Our current expectation is that it will take 12-18 months for the global diamond industry to fully recover from COVID-19.”

EConsult Economic Review Q1 2020

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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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