Okavango Diamond Co. launched as Botswana enters rough distribution

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Toby Frears

Toby Frears

Okavango Diamond Company (ODC), the rough diamond distribution company owned by Botswana government has been officially launched. ODC’s launch follows a successful pilot sale held in July where $US 20 million was raised and it is a signal that the company has formally opened its doors to the global diamond market.

When launching the company, President Ian Khama said ODC’s establishment will allow the country to share the best of Botswana to the many international business men and women who will arrive here to buy Botswana’s rough diamonds.

“We also recognise the immeasurable benefits diamonds bring to Botswana and we therefore take every decision relating to diamonds and diamond policy in the most considered and deliberate manner. A manner which attempts to balance the needs of international business and the imperatives of building a vibrant economy of a developing country,” Khama added.

ODC is a rough diamond distribution company that is wholly owned by the government of Botswana. The company was established in 2012 to market a portion of Debswana’s rough diamond production.

Under the contractual agreements governing the sale of Debswana’s diamonds, ODC is entitled to purchase and sell 12% of Debswana’s total production in 2013, rising to 15% by 2016. ODC’s sales are expected to be in excess of US$400 million each year, making it a scale supplier of rough diamonds to the industry and the largest source of uniquely Botswana diamonds in the market.

Debswana is Botswana’s largest diamond producer and is a joint venture between the Botswana government and De Beers.

“We believe the time has come for Botswana to play a more meaningful role in the international diamond sector. We will strive to set standards which are amongst the best in the world in order to earn our rightful place as a leading world diamond centre,” said Khama.

ODC says it will provide the global diamond industry with access to scale supply of a full range of Botswana’s diamonds at market determined prices. The company will hold regular sales via its customised online auction platform following viewings of its diamonds at its purpose built facility in Gaborone. Recognising the value to customers of committed and predictable supply, ODC also plans to introduce fixed term supply contracts in 2014.

ODC’s Board Chairman, Jacob Thamage said the company’s establishment will help transform Botswana into a leading rough diamond sourcing destination.

“We are proud to be opening our doors and we look forward to welcoming customers from across the world to participate in our sales,” Thamage said.

ODC’s inaugural sale will start on 23rd September with viewings running for a two week period, culminating in an online auction to be held on 9th October. “Any company that is involved in the diamond supply chain and wishes to become a customer of ODC is invited to visit the ODC website www.odc.co.bw, where full details of the registration process are provided.”

In the last 8 years since Botswana government made a decision to get value from its diamonds, there has been growth in the diamond manufacturing sector with 21 factories setting up and creating over 3, 300 jobs.

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