Botswana President Mokgweetsi Masisi said the government and De Beers are currently in ‘cordial’ negotiations about a new diamond-sales to replace their existing 10-year deal expiring next year.
He said the deal should be finalised after next month’s election.
“Everything is going as planned. We need to improve the profitability of the business for both of us. So great returns for both of us,” said Masisi on Thursday during an interview at the World Economic Forum on Africa in Cape Town.
Botswana is the second world’s biggest diamond producer after Russia and the minerals generate the majority of the country’s export profits.
A bulk of the diamonds are mined by Debswana, a 50-50 joint venture between the government and De Beers where Anglo American owns 85% of De Beers and government the remaining shares.
Masisi who did not give full details of the negotiations terms said, “A global economic slowdown is affecting both diamond sales and prices negatively and having a knock-on effect on Botswana’s economy, but the government expects the downturn to be temporary.”
Botswana is reported to be one of the most stable countries in the continent with no civil war acts or a coup and has the credit rating at Moody’s Investors Service in Africa.
The country is scheduled for elections on October 23 where the leading Masisi’s Botswana Democratic Party will compete against former president Ian Khama’s newly formed Umbrella for Democratic Change coalition.
President Masisi said the BDP had been strengthened and his success was ‘a done deal.’
The leader said he vowed to transform the government and prioritise job creation in the country.
“Top of the agenda is to revamp the pace and posture of the public service, of our institutions, our education services, our social services, our health sector, our infrastructure.”
“We are making the collection of tax more efficient. We are inviting more investors to come in and many have come in. We are liberalising, opening up the economy,” said Masisi.
Koketso Ramorei is a journalist and news editor of SADC News with years of experience in a number of genres including sports, politics and community reporting. He has worked for a numerous publications including The Citizen Newspaper and is a former editor of a Johannesburg-based off-campus publication called The Waldorfian Times.