Dawn of a new era

Baitshepi Sekgweng
NEW BEGINNINGS: HB Antwerp open shop in Botswana

Botswana To Acquire 24% Stake in HB Antwerp

With Botswana’s success story tied to its mineral possessions, mainly diamonds, the government continues to make positive strides to expand and grow meaningful participation in the entire diamond value chain.

This has been cemented by the opening of HB Botswana diamond and polishing factory located at the Diamond Technology Park, thus making Botswana the first country outside of Belgium to open an office for HB Antwerp.

As part of the agreement Botswana, through its rough diamond trading company- Okavango Diamond Company (ODC), will supply rough diamonds to HB Botswana, which is HB Antwerp’s local subsidiary, for a period of five years.

With all the value addition taking place in Botswana there is a strategic partnership which will see government acquiring a 24 percent stake in HB Antwerp.

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A leader in the diamond industry, HB Antwerp’s presence in Botswana is expected to position the country as the world’s premier diamond hub.

Speaking at the official opening of the factory in Gaborone on Monday, President Mokgweetsi Masisi said the existence of the company will empower the new generation with significant expertise.

“We look forward to a rich environment of research, innovation and cutting-edge operations. We remain hopeful that employees of the company would learn a lot of the art and business acumen from the company’s years of experience and expertise in the sales and marketing of diamonds,” said Masisi.

Sale of diamonds and the setup of diamond processing infrastructure in Botswana is seen as an opportunity to maximize economic and social benefits within the diamond value chain. Diamonds are the main backbone of Botswana economy as they contribute about 45 percent of local Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and over 90 percent of foreign export earnings.

Dawn of a new era
ADAMANT : Minister Lefoko Moagi

For his part minister of Minerals and Energy, Lefoko Moagi, said the development is a journey which will aid in promoting diamond beneficiation, drive economic diversification and the development of a private sector led economy.

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“We will expand local and citizen participation in cutting and polishing which for a long time stood at around two percent share of the global sector. This investment is a step in the right direction, to ensure we increase our stake. In addition, we are breaking ground in our participation in the downstream, which currently, has lower footprint locally,” he said.

The local diamond industry currently boasts 50 licensed diamond cutting and polishing companies, of which 48 are in operation. As of 2022 the local industry was supplied with US$1.1billion (P14.5 billion) worth of rough diamonds which is a 33% increase from the 2021 supply of US$728million (P9.6 billion).

The increase in diamond and polishing companies comes with employment opportunities, with the number currently sitting at 4 001 as of January 2023 compared to 2 332 in 2022.

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HB Botswana has committed to scale up its business in Botswana in years to come, growing its employee numbers to 485 by 2026, from the current 30 employees.

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