THE strength of consumer demand for polished diamonds in China directly benefits Botswana, as it helps drive demand for rough diamonds explored in the southern African country, said De Beers Group Thursday.
Some of the most recognisable diamond jewellery retailers in China are rough diamond customers of De Beers Group, said Kesego Oki, the group’s external communications manager, when responding to a Xinhua questionnaire.
De Beers Group, which has a 50/50 mining joint venture, called Debswana, with Botswana government, sells rough diamonds discovered in Botswana through its Global Sightholder Sales business to leading international diamond dealers who in turn cut and polish those diamonds for ultimate sale to consumers in markets such as China.
‘China is a very important country in the global diamond sector, as it is already the world’s second largest consumer market for diamond jewellery sales and it is also seeing significant growth, with further growth potential in the coming years,’ said Oki, stressing China is viewed as a very valuable component of the global diamond industry by De Beers and Botswana.
During the three months ending March 31, shipments into China via the Shanghai Diamond Exchange (SDE) grew by 393 percent year on year to $722 million while the import volume jumped 394 percent to 699,500 carats, the institution reported recently.
According to Oki, continued positive demand from key consumer markets such as China would have a positive impact on the potential for Botswana’s diamond sector in the long term.
She said the revenue generated by these rough diamond sales contributes immensely to the gross domestic product (GDP) of Botswana and has seen the country become a middle-income economy thanks to having one of the world’s fastest GDP growth rates over the last 50 years.
Some of the development examples and highlights of the contribution that diamonds have made to the Botswana economy are in the areas of education, health, skills transfer and development, employment and infrastructure, she said.
In 2020, the Chinese economy bounced back much quicker from Covid-19 than many other economies and demand for polished diamonds followed soon afterwards, a development that supported ongoing demand for rough diamonds at a time when demand had decreased in other key markets.