Welcome Readers! You are reading the final edition of 2023. As we close the year 2023, we reflect on some of the major developments and achievements that have shaped our nation and our industry.
In this edition of The Projects Magazine, we feature Okavango Diamond Company (ODC) on our cover, a state-owned diamond marketer that has marked its 10th anniversary this year.
We had an exclusive interview with ODC Managing Director Mr. Mmetla Masire, who shared with us the company’s journey, challenges, and aspirations.
ODC has proven to be a successful and profitable entity, despite the doubts that surrounded its establishment. It has also contributed significantly to the government’s revenue through dividends and taxes. It is also about to play a major role in Botswana’s diamond dream in the next 10 years.
The year 2023 was also marked by the end of the COVID-19 pandemic, as declared by the World Health Organization (WHO). This was a welcome relief for the economy, which had suffered greatly from the lockdowns and restrictions imposed by the health crisis.
All key sectors of the economy recovered, albeit at different rates. The diamond sector, however, faced a downturn in 2023, due to weak global demand and oversupply.
One of the highlights of 2023 was the new sales agreement between Botswana and De Beers Group for Debswana run-of-mine. The negotiations were tense and prolonged, ending on the last day of the deadline, June 30, 2023.
There was uncertainty and anxiety during the talks, as President Mokgweetsi Masisi threatened to pull out of the partnership if the government’s demands were not met.
Botswana wanted to increase the share of the diamonds sold through ODC to 50 % with De Beers also allocated 50% share of Debswana production, to reflect the 50/50 partnership at Debswana.
There was also a view that De Beers had reservations about ODC’s capacity and expertise to handle such a large volume of diamonds.
Ultimately, a compromise was reached, and the two parties agreed terms on a new sales agreement. As part of the deal, ODC will get 30% allocation of the diamonds, with the number rising to 50% by the end of the 10-year agreement.
The agreement also included a Diamonds for Development Fund, a commitment of P1 billion from De Beers to fund business ventures in Botswana as part of helping the country diversify its economy.
This was a positive outcome for both parties, as it demonstrated the mutual trust and respect that underpin the long-standing relationship between Botswana and De Beers.
Another notable achievement for Botswana was hosting several big conferences in line with its MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conferences, and Exhibitions) strategy.
Some of the events that took place in the country were the U.S – Africa Business Summit, the Africa Tourism Leadership Forum, and the International Associations of Gambling Regulators Conference.
These events showcased Botswana’s potential as a destination for business and tourism, as well as its ability to organize and host such events. However, more needs to be done to invest in the right infrastructure and facilities to attract more visitors and investors.
We also saw the Mmamabula P28 billion power plant taking off, a 300 megawatts plant that will supply power to Botswana Power Corporation (BPC), following a signed Power-Purchase Agreement (PPA). It is the biggest FDI in the history of Botswana.
Other PPA projects also took off, a sign that Botswana’s energy security future is secure. There is also an effort to get the energy mix right, with some PPAs involving solar powered plants.
Botswana Oil Limited is also at work with projects aimed at improving fuel security with several projects taking shape under the National Oil Company such as the P1 billion Ghanzi fuel storage project that was kick started on the 16th of December 2023.
The aim is to improve the country’s fuel storage to ultimately cover 90 days, as recommended by International Energy Agency (IEA).
We would like to thank our partners, clients, and readers for their support and feedback throughout the year.
We hope you enjoy reading this edition of The Projects Magazine, and we look forward to bringing you more insightful and informative stories in the next year. We wish you a safe and happy festive holidays, and a prosperous new year.
Enjoy your read!