In the realm of the rough diamond trade, things look as if Botswana has just awakened from a long slumber. Botswana President Mokgweetsi Masisi warned on Sunday that his country could sever ties with South African diamond giant De Beers if talks to renegotiate a sales deal prove unfavorable for his country.
Until 2021, a sales agreement dating from 2011 governed the terms of marketing of diamonds produced by Debswana – an equal joint venture between the government and De Beers. It has since been extended by the parties. They invoked the coronavirus epidemic to explain the delay in concluding the negotiations. As the extension ends on June 30, 2023, there is an urgent need to sign a new agreement. It should be noted that under the 2011 agreement the mining company De Beers received 90% of the rough diamonds produced while Botswana, Africa's largest diamond producer, received 10%. In 2020, Botswana's share was increased to 25%.
Today, "we got a glimpse of how the diamond market works and found that we received less than what we were supposed to receive," said Mr. Masisi, who spoke in both English and in the local language, Tswana. "We also found out that our diamonds bring in a lot of profit and the deal (2011) didn't work for us," he added, before warning, "We want a bigger share of our diamonds. . Business cannot continue as before. »
Speaking at a rally of his ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) in his home village of Moshupa, about 65 kilometers from the capital Gaborone, Mr. Masisi warned: "If we don't fail to achieve a win-win situation, each side will have to pack up and go home. »