President Ian Khama has expressed concern about the recent closures of two factories in Botswana as well as bankruptcies in some major diamond trading centers, saying they point to the fragile and fluid nature of the diamond industry.
However, Khama said despite the challenges, the sale of rough diamonds through regular sights, tenders and auctions have been taking place in Botswana as scheduled up to the end of September 2015.
“In addition to DTC and Okavango Diamonds, Gem Diamond have also started local sales,” said Khama
Furthermore, said Khama, government is finalizing the Diamond Cutting and Precious and Semi-Precious Stones Amendment Bills, aimed at improving business conditions and enabling growth by adapting to current downstream industry developments. The amendment is expected to facilitate the policy on further beneficiation and citizen empowerment among other key issues.
“Our job creation efforts are also being driven by the Rural Development Council (RDC), which continues to promote various community based projects,” said Khama.
Other projects include construction of a multi-species abattoir in Tsabong; an agro-processing plant in Selibe Phikwe and the Phuduhudu Cultural Village in the Kgalagadi District. Khama also promised that start-up businesses will continue to receive critical support from the Citizen Entrepreneurial Development Agency (CEDA), which since 2008 has funded 2,288 enterprises with a total investment of nearly P2.1 billion, in the process creating over 11 thousand jobs. During the 2014/15 financial year, CEDA assisted 329 new enterprises with a total monetary value of P328 million, collectively generating 1,971 new jobs.
“LEA is also playing its role in nurturing a culture of entrepreneurship through its training workshops and outreach mentoring. In 2014-15, 24,426 clients were trained, while a further 472 benefitted from additional outreach,” said Khama.
Meanwhile, the Botswana International Trade Centre (BITC) will continue to promote the country as a competitive location for investment, cognizant of the fact that job creation is inevitably linked to investment. During the 2014/15 financial year, BITC helped attract a total combined investment of just over P3.2 billion, which contributed to the creation of 3,316 jobs.