On Tuesday, President Masisi of Botswana, the First Lady, and a large delegation including the country's Minister of Minerals and Energy Moagi and Minister of International Affairs and Cooperation Kwape visited the Antwerp diamond community. Botswana is the world's largest producer of rough diamonds in terms of value and in recent years, trade between Antwerp and Botswana has increased significantly. Highlighting the excellent relationships between the two diamond strongholds, the visit included a meeting with the AWDC Board of Directors, a meet and greet with the Antwerp diamond community at rough diamond bourse, the Kring, and a visit to tender specialist Bonas Group. Speaking to the Antwerp community, President Masisi said trade relationships between Antwerp and Botswana are thriving and focused on how the country's rough diamonds continue to act as catalyst for economic and social development. The President also announced that negotiations between the government and De Beers will continue as the contract, which was due for renewal in 2020, has been extended another year, until June 2023.
In 2021 Botswana exported 2,17 billion dollars worth of rough diamonds to Antwerp, making Antwerp their single most important export partner for diamonds in terms of value, and the third largest in volume, with a total of 10.111.467 carats. According to the AWDC, the key to this successful partnership is the unique combination of Botswana’s high-quality goods with Antwerp’s high value market and high-tech manufacturing capacity, maximizing Botswana's sales and revenues. In addition to the high-value stones segment, in 2021, through the dual viewing tenders in both Gaborone and Antwerp, which remained operational throughout the crisis, via Antwerp tender house Bonas Group, Okavango Diamond Company (ODC) managed to achieve a record revenue of US$963 million, despite global challenges and travel restrictions. Ari Epstein – CEO AWDC: ”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.
Over the course of the past decades, the country transformed itself from being one of the poorest countries on the continent to one of Africa’s leading nations. In his address, AWDC President David Gotlib underscored Antwerp is committed to continue its support for Botswana’s path of growth: ”As we celebrate no less than 575 years of diamond legacy here in Antwerp, 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… all these initiatives bear testimony to the fact Antwerp is willing and able to make our bonds even stronger in a mutually beneficial partnership.”