Botswana has threatened to cut ties with diamond giant De Beers unless the United Kingdom-based firm agrees to a favourable review of a 2011 agreement governing the marketing of the precious stones produced in the southern African country.Addressing ruling Botswana Democratic Party supporters late Sunday, President Mokgweetsi Masisi said his government is seeking a win-win outcome during ongoing negotiations with De Beers for a review of the sales agreement.
“If we don’t achieve a win-win situation each party will have to pack its bags and go,” Masisi said.
The agreement governs the marketing of diamonds produced by Debswana – a 50-50 joint venture between the government and De Beers.
Under the 2011 agreement – which was set to end in 2021 but was extended to June 2023 – De Beers owned and sold 90 percent of diamonds while Botswana auctioned only 10 percent through its Okavango Diamond Company. Botswana’s share was later raised to 25 percent in 2020.
Masisi said Botswana realised that it has been getting a raw deal after getting an “glimpse into how the diamond market works”.
“We are upping the stakes because we want a larger share from our diamonds. It can’t be business as usual,” he said.
Botswana is Africa’s leading diamond producer.