Botswana Promotes Its ‘Clean’ Diamonds

The government of Botswana is getting more aggressive in promoting its message that not all diamonds are conflict stones.

“The story everyone is writing about is that diamonds are funding all these horrible atrocities [in West Africa],” Alfred Dube, Botswana’s ambassador to the United States, told trade editors during a recent luncheon.

“But the country I come from offers a different picture. It is a story of hope, a story of success. We have harnessed our resources to build an accountable democracy and a country ruled by law.”

Dube noted that, before Botswana discovered diamonds, it was one of the poorest countries on Earth.

“Now there’s been an unimaginable social transformation. We have a countrywide network of highways and railway systems and one of the best public health systems in all of Africa. Education is no longer a privilege, but a right. There’s this stereotype of Africa as hopeless. The calamity is better known than the success story.”

When the diamond industry was being tarnished by the controversy over conflict diamonds, Botswana asked its public relations firm, Hill and Knowlton, to promote the “good things” diamonds do. The campaign launched a Web site, Hill and Knowlton officials did not respond to JCK‘s request for more information about the campaign.