According to statistics published by the Bank of Botswana yesterday, the value of exports from the major diamond mines in Botswana fell to $2.4 billion (P28.5 billion) in 2015 from $3.9 billion (P45.6 billion) the previous year.
The figures however do not include diamonds that De Beers brings in the country for aggregation before re-exportation.
Botswana diamond exports were last recorded lower during the 2009 global financial crisis when the country’s mines exported $1.8 billion worth of stones.
The country’s exports are largely dominated by Debswana Diamond Company’s four mines while Lucara’s Karowe Mine is the only other significant producer in the country having had dug up about an estimated 400,000 carats in 2015.
The slowdown in exports has also seen government mineral revenues falling 15 percent to P18.2 billion in 2015 while economic growth forecast were also slashed to one percent from 3.2 percent.
“The continued slowdown of growth in the global economy, particularly in the major markets for our diamonds, has had profound impact on the domestic economy,” the Minister of finance and development planning, Kenneth Matambo said last week in his 2016 budget speech. The decline in exports mirrors a 16 percent drop in production at Debswana where 20.4 million carats were dug up in 2015 from 23.3 million carats the previous year.
Analysts at Econsult say despite the immediate economic outlook remaining poor there is, however, some room for optimism.