Diamonds good continues in Botswana

Marcus ter Haar
Marcus ter Haar

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

Speaking at the Plenary Meeting of the Policy Dialogue on Natural Resource-based Development hosted by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development in Paris, MD of Okavango Diamond Company (ODC), Marcus ter Haar commented that, “Transparency and good governance must continue to be a guiding value of corporate behaviour in order to earn the trust and respect of our current and future consumers.” The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) is an international organisation with over 58 years of experience and insights that work 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% to foreign exchange earnings, 50% of government revenue and 30% of gross domestic product. 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. 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, ter Haar believes Botswana is fast being transformed into a leading global natural diamond centre.

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.

Editor's Comment
Botswana deserves ideal political leaders

This remains to be seen, particularly as opposite unity has been seeing its ups and downs. In 2012, three opposition parties namely the Botswana National Front (BNF), the Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD), and the Botswana National Front (BNF) formed a political alliance under the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC). The Botswana Congress Party (BCP) would, after rebuffs, join the coalition in 2017.The promise made by the coalition to its...

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