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Botswana Diamond of Africa

26 Feb 2024

The transformational journey of Botswana from one of the poorest in the region sustained by aid during its formative years to its current economic status of middle-upper income, will never be divorced from the diamond industry. 

Produced by Penresa, an independent consultancy agency currently producing a series of reports called, “Africa Undiscovered,” as part of a collection to be published for Forbes Africa, has as part of the project in collaboration with the Government of Botswana and CNBC Africa, a documentary called Botswana: The Diamond of Africa, was premiered for the first time on Wednesday at Masa Hotel in Gaborone.

The storyline of the documentary digs deep into the remarkable strides made by the country as it emerges as a nation of modernisation, success and potential. The documentary narrates how Botswana, through its natural resources mainly diamond and tourism as well as its informative legislative and dedicated leadership, rose to a giant that it is today, celebrated worldwide as a beacon of democracy and good governance. 

The documentary relates how President Mokgweetsi Masisi has since resuming power in 2018 led a mandate of sustainable growth, tackling climatic challenges; accelerating the nation’s digital transformation drive with the view of transforming the country from upper middle-income to a high-income by 2036 and by so doing enhancing a peaceful, tolerant and prosperous society. 

Giving an overview of the documentary, Penresa Country Director, Rania Elena, said the documentary offers an insightful exploration of Botswana’s rich cultural heritage, economic development and future prospects. Elena said Botswana has a story to tell to the world and it will take its people to share it fully.

 She said President Masisi has been at the forefront of telling and encouraging the citizens to use their knowledge to tell the world the beautiful stories of Botswana that were primarily driven by its diamond industry. She said throughout the entire journey of making the documentary, everything about the country has made her feel at home, testament to the integral positive culture of the nation. 

“It is my honour to showcase to the world the country that has become so close to my heart,” she said adding that the documentary was packed with enough details to make its viewers wherever they were, to feel welcome to Botswana. 

Elena said following the launch of the documentary, the company will also publish a follow-up report highlighting the country’s administrative successes of the past five years as well as efforts that were being made to propel the country forward from a middle-income to high-income economy. 

President Masisi is among the storytellers in the documentary, giving a well-articulated piece of the country’s transformational journey towards prosperity for all. 

He said a desert, desolate and undeveloped country has emerged and rose to greater heights aided by the natural resources, which its people managed the way they wanted and will continue to do so. “Botswana will always glitter, shine bright and be seen from afar,” he said.

The President said Botswana was made what it was today by its people. He said the people promoted dialogue in decision-making towards peaceful co-existence, social harmony and non-discrimination and non-racial. 

He said being a Motswana meant one was a embodiment of a certain compendium of values, committed to peace and harmony, democracy, consultative dialogue making sure that they look out for one another.

The Minister of Trade and Industry, Mmusi Kgafela, said CNBC Africa has provided the country with a platform to share its success story with the whole world. Kgafela said there was a poetic eulogy given about Botswana by President Masisi titled, “Botswana: A cradle of humankind,” giving an invitation to the whole world to come and feel the warmth of the culture and the promise of endless opportunities. 

He said the uniqueness that was Botswana was what it was because of progressive conservation policies and home to the 100 UNESCO heritage sites among them the incredible Okavango Delta. Kgafela said the documentary gave Botswana to own up her story, tell it the way she wanted it to be heard. 

He said Botswana was not only home to the biggest diamond mine by value in the world but was also positioning herself as the investment and tourism destination of choice in the world. 

He said it was an open secret that the country has achieved so much in the past 58 years, a journey to greatness which started after attaining independence. 

He said the country has sustained economic success, political stability and good governance. Kgafela said the mineral revenue has created wealth for the nation and desired transformation. Kgafela said the media plays a pivotal role in the development of a country. 

Therefore, he said, Botswana could not afford not to use such a powerful tool to sensitise, reach out to the locals and the world. He said the more the documentary was aired the more people will get to know about Botswana. 

The chairperson of Botswana Screen Society, Otlaadisa Johnson, was equally excited by the beautiful, well done and well told story about Botswana. Johnson said as he was told to come and watch a documentary about the country that was done by a company from outside, he was a bit sceptical as a result of the negative past experiences. He recollects working with a company, which came under the impression that they were here to collect and tell the beautiful story that Botswana was to tell world and how it was able to transform because of its diamonds industry, only for the film maker to tell a different and negative story. Johnson said it was refreshing to come across a film that tells the positive that the country has achieved. 

Johnson urged companies such as Penresa that whenever they were given an opportunity to do work in Botswana, they must prioritise the engagement of locals into the production of such works. 

He said such opportunities were rare but powerful in propelling the local talent in the industry, building their capacity and helping such talent grow, be seen by the relevant people and penetrate the world market. Ends

Source : BOPA

Author : Moshe Galeragwe

Location : GABORONE

Event : Interview

Date : 26 Feb 2024