Botswana rejects G7 calls for changes in diamond protocols

Feb 06, 2024

In a recent diplomatic standoff, the Botswana government firmly rejected demands from the G7 nations—comprising the United Kingdom, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, the United States of America, and the European Union to alter its diamond trade practices. Delegates from these influential countries visited Botswana last week, urging transparency in the diamond industry and seeking assurances that Russian diamonds are not being illicitly sold through alternative channels.

The G7 nations, currently focused on tightening sanctions against Russia, have proposed the certification of diamonds in Antwerp, Belgium, to ensure accountability. However, media has learned that discussions between the nations proved tense, with Botswana expressing concerns that such a move would undermine the established Kimberly Process, a multilateral trade regime founded in 2003.

Minister of Minerals, Energy, and Water Resources, Lefoko Moagi, who led the Botswana delegation, strongly voiced his opposition, stating that the suggested shift to Antwerp would jeopardize the Kimberly Certification Process Scheme (KCPS). Moagi emphasized that this move could result in delayed processing of diamonds and increased costs for Botswana, as goods would need to be certified in Antwerp rather than in the diamond-producing countries themselves.

Highlighting the significance of diamonds to Botswana’s economy, Minister Moagi warned that the proposed changes would not merely be a trade issue but an assault on democracy and sovereignty. He affirmed that Botswana’s diamond processing industry operates transparently, with robust measures in place to prevent the infiltration of smuggled diamonds.

“We have shown them our processes from Mine to Finger, so as to assure them how we have been tracking and tracing our diamonds. We expect that they will go back and reconsider this single node from Antwerp as we have made it abundantly clear that we are opposed to it,” Minister Moagi asserted.

The minister indicated that there would be further discussions in subsequent progress meetings once the G7 delegation members have reported back to their respective principals.

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