Botswana’s Diamond Exports Extend Decline

Rough DiamondsGaborone: Botswana’s rough diamond exports continued a retreat in August, underlining the country’s need to diversify its economy as it celebrates 50 years of independence.

Outbound shipments fell 5 percent to $399.7 million, according to data from the Bank of Botswana. Orders slipped 1.8 percent in the first half of the year even as exports in July were significantly higher because of the effect of a low base a year ago.

Botswana’s diamond industry can no longer enjoy “business as usual” because growth would be zero even if production held firm, economists at Gaborone-based Econsult wrote in a report last month.

“We need to reach out to other sectors of growth, including other minerals such as copper, iron ore, and uranium, which we must exploit to the full,” Botswana’s president Ian Khama was cited as saying in South Africa’s The Daily Maverick in June.