Gaborone, Botswana – (African Boulevard News) – With the government of Botswana inching closer towards finalizing a new diamond agreement with De Beers and wrapping up a partnership deal with HB Antwerp, President Mokgweetsi Masisi’s administration is facing criticism for stifling debate on the renegotiations.
According to reports, President Masisi has been accused of suppressing opposition to the diamond deal, with some sources claiming that his government has limited public participation in discussions on the subject.
This lack of transparency has raised eyebrows within the diamond industry, with many experts concerned that the Botswana government’s negotiation tactics with De Beers and HB Antwerp may not be in the best interest of the country’s diamond sector.
“It’s troubling that there appears to be a lack of transparency and a suppression of dialogue on this subject,” said one industry expert who wished to remain anonymous. “Diamonds are a vital part of Botswana’s economy, and it’s important that the government ensures that any deal struck is in the best interest of its citizens and the industry as a whole.”
Under the current agreement, De Beers has been mining diamonds in Botswana for over 50 years, with Botswana receiving a percentage of the profits in return. However, this new agreement, which is set to be signed soon, will reportedly include a larger percentage of the profits for Botswana, as well as a commitment from De Beers to invest more in the country’s diamond industry.
Meanwhile, HB Antwerp’s partnership deal with the Botswana government will see the Belgian trader set up a diamond cutting and polishing plant in the country, creating jobs and boosting local industry.
Despite these potential benefits, President Masisi’s government has been criticized for not allowing for open debate on the subject, which could leave the country’s diamond industry vulnerable to exploitation and manipulation.
As Botswana continues to negotiate these deals, it remains to be seen whether the government will take steps to address concerns around transparency and public participation in the diamond industry.
In the meantime, industry experts are urging the government to ensure that any agreements struck are in the best interest of the country and its citizens, rather than being driven solely by the interests of large diamond companies.