Report: Tiffany to Open a Diamond Facility in Botswana

A Botswanan businessman told a newspaper that he has partnered with Tiffany & Co. to open a diamond cutting and polishing facility in the diamond-rich country.

Mclean Letshwiti told the Mmegi newspaper of Botswana that the new company will be operational by March, 2007. He told the paper that he is currently involved in this new business venture on his own but will be inviting others in the country to join him.

Letshwiti urged the government to be supportive in making sure that all diamond and sorting companies get the right quality of diamonds, reports the newspaper, which bills itself as “the only daily independent newspaper in Botswana.”

After the government successfully negotiated with DeBeers for the Diamond Trading Company to relocate to Botswana, it started awarding licenses to foreign companies interested in diamond cutting and sorting, the newspaper reports. Tiffany was one of the companies awarded a license and Letshwiti told the newspaper all the necessary staff recruitment, factory renovation, and machinery has been finalized.

Last week Botswana president Festus Mogae and his delegation visited a Tiffany retail store in New York, the newspaper reports s they can see how the retailer operates.

Letshwiti reportedly said that the factory is going to be housed in a warehouse that belongs to BEDIA in Mogoditshane and will house other diamond cutting and polishing companies. He reportedly said that Tiffany would move to a privately owned facility depending on the success of the project and availability of suitable land.

Letshwiti advised Batswana to get involved in the diamond industry because it has many opportunities. He said they should not expect the government to do everything for them, but they should approach foreign companies coming to invest in the country to see how they can be involved at ownership level.