Tuesday, 28th March 2023

Botswana has threatened to cut ties with the diamond giant De Beers if talks to renegotiate a sales deal prove unfavourable to his government, according to media reports

AFP quoted Botswana’s President Mokgweetsi Masisi as saying that the nation should back his administration as it tries to negotiate a better deal.

“If we don’t achieve a win-win situation each party will have to pack its bags and go,” Masisi said at a rally of his ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) in Moshupa.

A 2011 sales agreement governing terms for the marketing of diamonds produced by Debswana, a 50-50 joint venture between the government and De Beers, which auctions most of the gemstones, was set to end in 2021.

The parties extended it, citing the outbreak of COVID-19 as the reason for the delay in completing negotiations, and it will run through June 30, 2023.

“[Now] we got [an] insight into how the diamond market works and we discovered that we had been receiving less than what we should get,” Masisi said.

“We also discovered that our diamonds are making a lot of profit and that the (2011) agreement had not been beneficial to us. We are upping the stakes because we want a larger share [of] our diamonds. It can’t be business as usual.”

Masisi said Botswana was facing a ‘Goliath’ as far as the negotiations were concerned.

Under the 2011 agreement, De Beers sold 90% of diamonds while Botswana auctioned 10% through its Okavango Diamond Company.

In 2020, Botswana’s share was increased to the current 25%.

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