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A US$260k boost for tomorrow’s African leaders

Botswana’s Top Achievers programme has been given a US$130,000 boost by the Diamond Empowerment Fund (D.E.F.), backed by De Beers.

Ban Ki-moon (second left) presents the cheque with (from left) Charles Ntwaagae; Raven Carey-James, Nancy Orem Lyman and Nicola Breytenbach Steiner from D.E.F.; and Yoo Soon-taek (wife of Ban Ki-moon) and Elizabeth Ntwaagae.

The programme, administered through Botswana’s Ministry of Education and Skills Development, supports Batswana young people through access to higher education so they can contribute to the country’s development and diversification.

The donation on 4 October takes the total D.E.F. has given the programme since 2011 to US$600,000.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon made the cheque presentation at a reception in New York, hosted by Charles Ntwaagae, Botswana’s Ambassador to the UN, to celebrate Botswana’s 50th year of independence.

Mr Ntwaagae thanked D.E.F., saying: “While we are blessed with diamonds as one of our natural resources, our truly most important resource is our youth.”

Ban Ki-moon congratulated Botswana on its successful efforts to promote peace, stability, leadership and human rights and urged the country to continue to lead the African continent by example.

Botswana’s remarkable economic growth since independence has, in part, been underpinned by its partnership with De Beers. Read more about the partnership between De Beers and the Government of the Republic of Botswana in ‘Turning Finite Resources into Enduring Opportunity’, available here.

A week earlier, another cheque for US$130,000 was presented by D.E.F., this time to the African Leadership Academy (ALA), bringing the fund’s total support so far for the ALA to US$750,000.

The ALA, whose aim is to help educate the next generation of leaders in Africa, cultivates outstanding young students through a two-year programme to prepare them for colleges.

It stresses leadership, entrepreneurship and African studies. Students return to their home countries after college graduation to apply what they’ve learned to building and improving their own communities.

David Prager, D.E.F. board member and Global Head of Corporate Affairs at De Beers, said: “These two cheques, totalling US$260,000, are part of D.E.F.’s mission to empower communities through education. The funds will provide clear educational routes to help young people realise their potential. Both D.E.F. and De Beers are intent on enabling diamond communities to become strong, stable and sustainable.”

D.E.F., founded in 2007 with support from De Beers, is an international non-profit organisation supporting education initiatives in diamond producing countries. In just eight years, it has aided more than 2,000 students through financial donations.

Its support is made possible through efforts such as the annual Diamonds Do Good Awards Gala, held in June in Las Vegas alongside the JCK international jewellery trade show.

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