HB Antwerp Hosts Botswana President, Belgium Deputy Prime Minister, and Microsoft Vice President for Discussion on Leveraging Innovation and Tech for Economic Transformation
On 21 September, HB Antwerp hosted an intimate conversation on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly High-level Week to discuss how diamond and other natural resource-rich economies can be transformed across Africa and beyond through supply chain innovation, artificial intelligence, and blockchain technology. The event featured keynote remarks from His Excellency Mogkweetsi E.K. Masisi, President of Botswana, and included participation from Vincent Van Quickenborne, Deputy Prime Minister of Belgium, and Teresa Hutson, Microsoft’s Vice President of Tech and Corporate Responsibility.
The discussion highlighted how HB Antwerp is partnering with the Botswanan government, Microsoft, and other key stakeholders to elevate the “mine to finger” process with its unique ecosystem and commitment to investing in the countries in which it operates.
“HB Antwerp is excited to be bringing new and innovative partners from outside the industry into our work. By reaching beyond the usual suspects, we are creating real disruption. We’re especially grateful to Botswana for their leadership and to Microsoft for sharing in our dream and supporting this endeavor,” said Rafael Papismedov, Co-Founder and Managing Partner, HB Antwerp.
“We believe there is enormous scalable potential for the profit-sharing model that Botswana and HB Antwerp are pioneering. The way that extractive industries interact with African governments has to fundamentally change, and Botswana is excited to be working with HB Antwerp to realize a more transparent and sustainable way of working for the global diamond supply chain,” said H.E. Mogkweetsi E.K. Masisi, President of Botswana. “We believe that this collaboration can pave the way for greater shared economic development across the African continent.”
“Microsoft is proud of our partnership with HB Antwerp and the role that technology can play to help realize a bold vision to verifiably trace diamonds,” said Teresa Hutson, Vice President of Tech and Corporate Responsibility, Microsoft. “This story is one of political leadership, shared values and partnership, and we believe it will lead to greater inclusive economic development and advance the delivery of the Sustainable Development Goals.”
“At HB Antwerp, our aim is to create a product that is entirely distinct from anything else on the market today. We’re taking the proprietary technology and unique infrastructure that we’ve built with its dozens of points of differentiation and presenting it to the consumer. We’re forging a ‘moment of truth’ for Botswanan diamonds, but in reality, it’s just the first of many such moments that we aim to create,” said Shai de Toledo, Co-Founder and Managing Partner, HB Antwerp.
The event featured the recently launched HB Capsule, a first-of-its-kind IoT device that uses blockchain technology and data analytics to track every stage of a natural diamond’s journey from the moment it is unearthed at the mine through the entire production process. The HB Capsule is just one aspect of HB Antwerp’s fundamental commitment to utilize cutting-edge technology to place transparency at the center of the diamond business and maximize the value that flows back into local communities.