Gaborone — The beneficiation of diamonds and other minerals to add value, generate jobs and increase revenue, is the next point of growth for Botswana and other African countries’ economies.
President Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi said this when delivering his keynote address at the US-Africa Business Summit held at the Royal Aria Convention Centre in Tlokweng.
He said value addition to the mineral sector through innovation, technology and knowledge systems would boost African countries’ economies. Botswana was determined to see this happen.
“As the world’s largest producer of gem diamonds by value, it is imperative that we develop value chains for raw materials to allow for greater value addition, spur innovation and growth, adapt to climate change, build sustainability, deepen economic diversification and create opportunities for exploitation of global supply chains,” he said. The President added the desire to see this happen inspired government’s Reset Agenda, whose key priorities included harnessing new and evolving technologies brought about by the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR).
Deliberating on the High Level Dialogue on Enhancing Africa’s Value in Minerals on the margins of the Summit, Zambia’s Minister of Commerce, Trade and Industry, Mr Chipoka Mulenga echoed President’s Masisi’s sentiments, saying Zambia and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), as neighbouring states endowed with critical mineral resources, had partnered to explore setting up joint value addition industries.
That, he said, would halt capital flight and exportation of jobs. Mr Mulenga said African states should stop seeing each other as competitors, but rather evaluate each country’s comparative advantage, then complement each other through intra-African trade and exporting of value added products to the rest of the world.
“Africa needs collaboration between governments and the private sector on the development of critical skills and a stable regulatory environment,” he said. For his part US Development Finance Corporation CEO Mr Scott Nathan, said having an enabling environment, which included good regulatory framework, infrastructure and access to finance was necessary in attracting investment in mineral value addition.