King Mswati III of Swaziland yesterday toured the South African Diamond Cooperation (SAFDICO) plant in Gaborone.
The monarch was accompanied by Queen Inkosinathi Make Nteteza and the Minister of Infrastructure, Science and Technology, Mr Nonofo Molefhi during his visit to the diamond manufacturing and trading company.
Speaking during the tour, King Mswati III commended Botswana for putting citizens in charge of operations in the diamond cutting and polishing industry. He lauded Botswana for hosting diamond cutting and polishing companies in the country, thereby creating employment for citizens.
He said the move allows citizens to learn skills required in diamond cutting and sorting. He said Botswana has structured the diamond business well by adopting open market policies so as to appeal to international buyers. Minister Molefhi said the king’s tour was a learning process as Swaziland also has diamonds. He said King Mswati III’s words gave Botswana the assurance that it was doing things right.
He said the relocation of De Beers from London to Gaborone has made Botswana a global diamond hub.
Mr Molefhi said although diamond sorting companies in the country may not be citizen-owned, some Batswana were shareholders.
SAFDICO chief executive officer, Ms Rutang Moses said they work closely with the government in benchmarking on how international diamond hubs were run. She stated that the company started capacitating employees when it set up in Botswana in 2006.
Ms Moses highlighted that they benchmarked on successful models in the world that have matured in the business. She said their work was very globally competitive.
She said the company has generated employment in courier companies and brokers. Ms Moses said international buyers were now coming to Botswana to purchase rough diamonds, which she said indicates growth in the diamond sector. The King and his wife were awarded Botswana flag lapel pins made from real diamonds and a book on Botswana’s diamonds, courtesy of SAFDICO.