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04/03/2024

Botswana’s Subtle Revolution | PART 3

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The G7, consisting of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the United States, unleashed sanctions to cripple Russia’s ability to fund its war machine. Diamonds took centre stage in this punitive act, exposing the delayed and ambiguous stance on Russia’s diamond supply, a decision conveniently postponed for nearly two years since the commencement of the Ukraine war in 2022. Initially targeting Russia’s oil, gas, and banking sectors, the sanctions subtly addressed diamonds, acknowledging their contribution to Russia’s government revenue. | Botswana’s Subtle Revolution

By Omologo Bonjo, Communications Manager at HB Genesis Botswana

 

The European Commission emphasized the goal of reducing Russia’s diamond revenue, a financial lifeline for its war efforts. The proposed solution? Creating a digital twin of rough diamonds and issuing certificates of origin, a move with unclear implications – will it be a physical printout or a digital record? The certification process is set to happen in Belgium, a decision met with disdain. The lack of local capability is cited as the reason, adding insult to injury, mind you we are talking about an industry that battled and continues to battle the “blood diamonds” stigma. This move, seemingly reactionary and disregarding other stakeholders, risks tarnishing the image of diamonds globally.

Instead of a nuanced message promoting ethical diamond sourcing from countries like Botswana or other jurisdictions who source ethically, the directive is a simplistic “don’t buy Russian diamonds.” Botswana and its counterparts are left as collateral damage in this geopolitical chess game. Surprisingly, Canada, the only producer among the G7 nations, may have the option to certify its own production. However, the specifics of implementing new import requirements remain unclear, with a hasty “we will figure it out as we go” attitude, set to be implemented by September.

 

Make no mistake, I am all in for slapping strong sanctions on those warmongering, human rights-trampling nations. But let us call a spade a spade: the big players are also using this as an opportunity to serve their own interests in this game, and, more often than not, African countries are treated like an afterthought. It is like they’re just casually thrown in there with absolutely zero consideration. This whole ordeal is nothing short of a global power play, and it is about time we address the blatant disregard for the well-being of African nations. Time to ditch the indifference and start acknowledging the blatant oversight in these decisions.

In the complex interplay of geopolitics and brand positioning, the focus should transition from merely proving innocence to firmly establishing unique provenance – a frequently neglected and often overlooked but crucial in the symphony of global narratives. While disentangling from a Russian connection may appear straightforward, strategically redirecting the narrative towards proving a specific country of origin is the necessary finesse. This shift not only denies allegations but accentuates positive associations, capitalizing on the human tendency to seek affirmation rather than negation. It taps into the allure of a product’s origin, weaving a compelling story of regional pride and cultural identity that captivates both markets and minds. Politically, this approach transforms a reactive situation into a proactive assertion of identity, projecting strength and independence on the public stage. In the theatre of public perception, it’s not just about disclaiming; it’s about masterfully declaring roots.

 

Research by Harvard highlights that as economies grow, they naturally change their comparative advantage. The desire to acquire new product capabilities and diversify becomes imperative. However, this pursuit is hindered by the frustrating resistance of those who, when advocating for internal capacities, are met with doltish decisions of comply or suffer! Let me put it into context, the BIDPA (2013) ‘Minerals and Energy Revenue Projection 2012-2027’ underscores the impending fiscal challenge for Botswana, predicting a ‘fiscal cliff’ around 2027 as diamond revenues decline. To avert this, building internal capabilities and a strong focus on provenance are critical. Diversifying exports and becoming globally competitive are essential recommendations to navigate the post-diamond era.

Botswana's Subtle Revolution - HB Botswana - HB Capsule
Botswana’s Subtle Revolution | HB Capsule

To sidestep this fiscal abyss, a paradigm shift is essential. Building internal capacities and homing in on provenance are not just suggested – they are imperative. Forget the compliant or suffer nonsense. Diversifying exports and locking horns in the global arena aren’t mere options; they are survival strategies in the post-diamond era. Now, back to diamonds. Instead of murmuring about a ripple effect, let’s shout about the core of luxury – provenance. Why is it even up for debate? Botswana, with its responsibly sourced diamonds, has the golden ticket. These aren’t just rocks; they are beacons of ethical custodianship. A tale of provenance that doesn’t just dazzle in the mining sector but reverberates across industries, birthing economic diversification.

And diamonds aren’t just rocks; they are cultural touchstones. Think Luxury products. Think Champagne. Think wine. The world salivates over the story, the soil, the hands that crafted the elixir in those bottles. Why should diamonds be any different? The commitment to flaunting the provenance of diamonds isn’t just a strategy; it’s a statement. It’s about luring in tourists seeking authentic experiences, drawn to destinations with stories as unique as the gems themselves. This isn’t just about gems; it’s about the audacity to create a sustainable economic ecosystem, immune to geopolitical whims. Botswana isn’t tiptoeing; it’s strutting as the vanguard of responsible resource management. In an era where the world craves ethically sourced and transparent products, Botswana’s unapologetic pursuit of more isn’t just a desire – it’s a bold and admirable mission for a future that isn’t just prosperous but sustainable.

 

Want more?

Read Part 1 Here

Read Part 2 Here

Read Part 4 Here

About HB

Founded in 2020, HB is pioneering a mineral infrastructure that redefines the way minerals are sourced, transformed, and distributed. HB’s closed-loop ecosystem introduces a comprehensive digital trail across the complete value chain, from raw minerals to finished results, ensuring verifiable and immutable data.