De Beers Botswana CEO: “This Relationship Will Endure”

Sheila Khama is currently transitioning from CEO of De Beers Botswana to the company’s “Diamonds for Good” ambassador. She spoke with JCK after her “Diamonds and Development” talk at the Initiatives in Art and Culture’s “Diamonds” conference April 10 in NYC. JCK: ?What is the state of Bot­swana’s cutting and polishing industry?Sheila Khama: It has done better during the [economic] crisis than most cutting centers. At the start of the crisis, the Bot­swana industry had 15 factories. One was impacted to the point of closing. Within six months, another company had acquired its assets. When the crisis started, we had 3,000 workers in the industry. At its worst, it fell to 2,300. It’s now back to 2,500 jobs. That is a measure of the commitment the sightholders have to Botswana. They understand that the level of activity in Botswana is related to the level of supply.

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