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FOREWORD

As a relatively small nation, Botswana’s economic development may not be familiar to many people around the globe. But, as this entrepreneurial southern African nation has been one of the world’s leading diamond producing countries over the past few decades, the chances are that many of you or your family members will own a piece of its history.

For millions of couples across the world, a diamond symbolises enduring partnership. And for Botswana and De Beers, they signify exactly the same.

When De Beers’ geologists first discovered diamonds in Botswana in 1967 – only a year after the country gained its independence – few could have imagined the wealth hidden below ground. Fewer still could have imagined that these hidden treasures would transform the country so dramatically and that it would, as a consequence, experience one of the world’s longest periods of economic growth.

Partnerships between the public and private sectors are not uncommon, but ones that endure for almost 50 years certainly are. At the heart of the Partnership between the Government of Botswana and De Beers is a single factor: commitment – to ensuring that each and every diamond produced creates value at each and every stage of the pipeline.

Successful partnerships can only work with the full commitment of each partner. While Botswana committed itself to De Beers by becoming a shareholder, De Beers could not have made a bigger commitment to Botswana than by relocating its multi-billion dollar international sales function from London to Gaborone. Together with our continued investment in exploration, mine development and rough diamond sales to the domestic cutting and polishing sector, this ensures our long-term futures are interlinked.

We look at how the Partnership has helped take Botswana from being one of the poorest countries in Africa to being one of its biggest modern economic success stories. We look at how both Partners’ commitments have taken Botswana from being a country with no diamond sector to one that occupies every stage of the diamond pipeline and is now home to the modern diamond industry. And we look, ultimately, at how diamonds have enabled Botswana to build a more prosperous nation.

De Beers’ partnership with Botswana is a remarkable story of careful stewardship, wise investment and shared prosperity. We are proud to have played a role in its success story so far – and look forward to helping shape its future too.

I hope that, through this report, you will enjoy learning more about the Partnership. And I hope that next time you see an engagement ring on someone’s finger, you have a greater sense of how that diamond may have supported one of the world’s great modern economic success stories.

PHILIPPE MELLIER
CEO, DE BEERS GROUP

Philippe Mellier