With the diamond industry pilloried in the press over “conflict diamonds,” the government of Botswana wants the world to know that diamonds can also help Africa.
Governmental officials are giving interviews to the international media about how diamond mining has made their country one of the most prosperous in Africa and are considering hiring a public relations and lobbying firm to press their case in the media and U.S. Congress.
The campaign has already met with some success. A recent Associated Press article was entitled “Diamonds are a Poor African Country’s Best Friend”-a change from months of headlines calling diamonds “a war lord’s” or “guerilla’s” best friend.
“In many parts of Africa, diamonds fuel brutal conflicts,” the article said. “In Botswana, they have been nothing but a salvation since they were discovered 33 years ago. Average salaries have risen from the depths of poverty to livable standards. The education and health care systems have become the envy of the developing world.”