Antwerp turning out to be an important export partner for Botswana diamonds

President Masisi of the Republic of Botswana and the First lady, together with the Minister of International Affairs and Cooperation, Mr Kwape, and the Minister of Minerals and Energy, Mr Moagi, visited the Antwerp World Diamond Centre. Botswana is the second-largest diamond-producing country in the world and has continuously strengthened its position in the global diamond industry in the past decade. 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 Antwerp’s rough diamond bourse, the Kring, and a visit to tender specialist Bonas Group.

Botswana is one of Antwerp’s most important trading partners. 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. 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. In terms of sales and revenues, this puts Antwerp in the top spot among Botswana’s trade partners. But the fruitful collaboration is not limited to high-end rough diamonds. During the pandemic, when Antwerp’s critical mass of buyers and sellers enabled uninterrupted sales at maximum market value, the trade hub could demonstrate its resilience and true market power. In 2021, through the dual viewing tenders in both Gaborone and Antwerp through the Bonas Group, Okavango Diamond Company (ODC) managed to achieve a record revenue of US$963 million, despite global challenges and travel restrictions.

”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. It’s exactly that resilience as a trade hub that helped us find solutions during the pandemic and we are pleased to see that it resulted in record-breaking revenues. Now we can discuss how to further strengthen this special relationship between Antwerp and Botswana and see how we can create more and consistently added value for both partners.” Said Ari Epstein, CEO AWDC.

Botswana is an excellent case in point of how natural diamonds contribute to socio-economic development. Over the past decades, the country transformed itself from being one of the poorest countries on the continent to one of Africa’s leading nations, on the fast track to becoming a high-income country by 2036. In his address, AWDC President David Gotlib underscored Antwerp is committed to continuing 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,” said David Gotlib, AWDC President.

President Masisi stressed the importance of the diamond trade for Botswana and the impact on its citizens in his speech at Antwerp’s rough diamond bourse, the Kring.

The proceeds from diamond sales in Botswana contribute to the implementation of our National Development Plans and the National Vision 2036. They also sponsor a host of programmes and services that are targeted at the realisation of the objectives of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and the African Union’s Agenda 2063, both of which Botswana subscribes to. The value and importance of the diamond industry to the people of Botswana, and how it has indeed served as a model for transforming our own lives, for instance, is remarkable. We can only wish this amount of benefit can be realised in other countries, whether they produce or consume diamonds,” said President Masisi of Botswana

The Antwerp World Diamond Centre (AWDC), is an industry-established foundation whose mission is to serve and support the diamond trade in Antwerp, the world’s leading diamond trade hub. AWDC is the coordinating body and the official representative of the Antwerp diamond industry, and as such is recognized internationally as the host, spokesperson and intermediary for the Belgian diamond community. In this capacity, AWDC liaises with governments on behalf of the Belgian diamond industry, and actively promotes support for the diamond industry at home and abroad. 84% of all rough diamonds and 50% of all polished diamonds pass through Antwerp. Diamonds represent 5% of the total Belgian exports and 15% of all Belgian exports outside the EU, making diamonds the most important export product outside the EU.