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Batswana need skills for new diamond value chain sectors

20 Mar 2023

Batswana need to acquire soft skills in the midstream and downstream sectors of the diamond value chain, says Minister of Minerals and Energy, Mr Lefoko Moagi.

Launching the Stargems Diamond Training Center in Gaborone recently, Mr Moagi  said the country had for the longest time concentrated on the upstream side of the industry which was the mining and processing of rough diamonds.

 It was now time to move into the midstream and downstream sectors of the diamond industry and even the retail sector, said Mr Moagi.

According to the minister,  the midstream included the cutting and polishing of diamonds. The centre, he said, offered advanced polishing and cutting training in which many young Batswana had enrolled to acquire the soft skills.

He noted that clean and polished diamonds were up to six times more expensive than rough diamonds.

Minister Moagi said Batswana should also be involved in diamond jewellery making as well as the retail side. 

He revealed that negotiations were underway with top jewellery companies to impart skills to locals.

Mr Moagi said other soft skills that were needed included pricing, valuation and marketing at the top end of the diamond industry. 

The minister said the Mines and Minerals Act was being reviewed so that all the developments could be fused into a legislative framework that would benefit the country.

On digitisation, Mr Moagi stressed the importance of technology said in acquiring  technologies, government would also ensure that local universities and strategic partners developed home-based equipment that would have intellectual property rights.

Speaking on behalf of the centre, its managing director, Mr Vishal Shah said it would provide modules in theory and practice on rough diamond evaluation, polishing and grading. 

The training was for eight weeks at no cost to young Batswana, he said. 

He  said  the centre’s   internationally recognised certificate was offered in partnership with the Harry Oppenheimer Diamond Training School and gave Batswana opportunities to access both local and international diamond markets.

He disclosed plans to absorb trainees after they completed training.

The centre currently has  117 young Batswana in its employ and intends growing the number to 600 this year.

 He said there were countless opportunities in the diamond value chain. ENDS

Source : BOPA

Author : Marvin Motlhabane

Location : Gaborone

Event : Meeting

Date : 20 Mar 2023