President Mokgweetsi Masisi has implored resource endowed countries to emulate Botswana diamond’s economic and social development story.

Speaking at the Antwerp World Diamond Centre (AWDC), this week, Masisi emphatically expressed his desire to have other countries reap massive benefits from their natural resources. ”The proceeds from diamond sales in Botswana contribute to the implementation of our National Development Plans and the National Vision 2036.

“They also sponsor a host of programmes and services that are targeted to the realisation of the objectives of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and the African Union’s Agenda 2063, both of which Botswana subscribes to,” he said.

He said that the diamond industry has served the people of Botswana, and transformed lives. "We can only wish this amount of benefit can be realised in other countries, whether they produce or consume diamonds,” Masisi said.

AWDC is an industry-established foundation whose mission is to serve and support the diamond trade in Antwerp, the world's leading diamond trade hub.

Botswana is one of Antwerp’s most important trading partners and in 2021 the country exported 2, 17 billion dollars worth of rough diamonds to Antwerp, making Antwerp the leading export partner for the local economy.

Despite the global uncertainties during the pandemic, Antwerp’s critical mass of buyers and sellers enabled uninterrupted sales at maximum market value. The trade hub demonstrated its resilience and true market power. Statistics indicate that during 2021 through the dual viewing tenders in both Gaborone and Antwerp through the Bonas Group, Okavango Diamond Company (ODC) managed to achieve record revenues of US$963 million, despite global challenges and travel restrictions.

“As the leading trading hub, we provide transparency, consistency and the most optimal market value for trading diamonds. It’s because of our relentless investment in due diligence and compliance, that we created the perfect trade environment for rough diamonds.

“It’s exactly that resilience as a trade hub that helped us find solutions during the pandemic and we are pleased to see that it resulted in record breaking revenues.

“Now we can discuss how to further strengthen this special relationship between Antwerp and Botswana and see how we can create more and consistent added value for both partners,” AWDC Chief Executive Officer, Ari Epstein said.

President Masisi’s visit included a meeting with the AWDC board of directors, diamond community at Antwerp’s rough diamond bourse, the Kring, and a visit to tender specialist Bonas Group.

The visit was to cement the unique partnership combination of Botswana’s high-quality goods with Antwerp’s high value market and high-tech manufacturing capacity. AWDC says the relationship puts Antwerp on the top spot among Botswana’s trade partners.

“But the fruitful collaboration is not limited to high-end rough diamonds.” AWDC President David Gotlib underscored that Antwerp is committed to continuing its support for Botswana’s path of growth.

“We are witnessing that the path we chose, the path of transparency and sustainability, is now more than ever strengthening our partnership with countries like Botswana; whether it is Antwerp-based sightholders who deploy beneficiation activities in Botswana, the innovative, vertical integration partnerships between miners, midstream and government that share the added value created from your diamonds, or maximizing revenues by selling your diamonds in the most powerful marketplace on the planet, Antwerp,” Gotlib said.