Much of the African diamond trade has been marred by the atrocities carried out to collect ‘Blood Diamonds’ in countries like Sierra Leone. Industry agreements however have decreased the amount of conflict diamonds and increased countries’ revenues from their mineral wealth. CNN reports on how Botswana’s partnership with De Beers has spurred their emerging economy and their upcoming diamond boom:
The economy of Botswana, a landlocked country in southern Africa, has been transformed by diamonds. Since their discovery in late 1960s, the development of the country has been built on the gems buried deep in its soil.
The state mines the country’s riches as an owner, getting a share of the profit in addition to just collecting taxes and royalties like many other mineral-rich African governments.
This unique arrangement has allowed Botswana to make significant investments in education and health care, officials say.
“Since we partnered with De Beers, we have a lot to show from any community development standpoint,” says Bank of Botswana governor Linah Mohohlo. She notes that this model can be emulated in other parts of the continent.
And now, Botswana’s diamond industry looks set to get a further boost after De Beers announced last year its decision to shift its rough diamond trading operation from London to Gaborone, the Botswana capital.
The company says it expects the move to bring an extra $6 billion of diamond sales into the country. A new head office is also under construction while 80 staff members will be relocated from Europe to Africa.