Dubai plans to become re-export hub for Botswana diamonds

Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry encourages Botswana to use the emirate as a hub for re-exports of diamonds and other products
Diamonds made up around 60 per cent of Botswana’s exports at the end of 2015 and almost a quarter of its GDP.
Diamonds made up around 60 per cent of Botswana’s exports at the end of 2015 and almost a quarter of its GDP.

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The Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry proposed to Botswana this week that it use the emirate as a transhipment hub for the re-exports of diamonds and other products.

The suggestion was made during a meeting of officials from the two countries, during which plans were made to deepen non-oil bilateral trade links.

Diamonds made up around 60 per cent of Botswana’s exports at the end of 2015 and almost a quarter of its GDP, and diamond trading links between Dubai and the southern African country are already well established.

 “As one of the world’s largest producers and exporters of diamonds, Botswana can greatly benefit from strengthening its partnership with the UAE, which has become a major re-export hub for diamonds,” said Hassan Al Hashemi, vice-president of international relations at Dubai Chamber.

Last September, the largest diamond found in more than a century – the 1,109-carat Lesedi La Rona gem – was sold by Vancouver-based Lucara Diamond to Dubai-based rough-diamond trading company Graff Diamonds.

The diamond, discovered in the Karowe mine in Botswana, sold for US $53-million.

It is the trade in goods such as these in which Dubai wants to have more involvement. Dubai re-exported $10 billion worth of diamonds in the first half of 2017, accounting for 12 per cent of the country’s total re-exports, according to Al Hashemi.

In addition, non-oil trade between Dubai and Botswana nearly tripled to exceed $1bn by the end of the first nine months of 2017.

Al Hashemi said there is therefore “huge potential” to expand bilateral trade and investment to other key sectors, such as diamonds, but also including tourism, agriculture, healthcare, manufacturing and ICT.

“Dubai is an ideal platform for Botswana to use as a re-export hub, with strong links across the Middle East, Asia and Europe,” Al Hashemi said.

“The Emirate offers plenty of advantages such as a world-class infrastructure, business-friendly environment and attractive free zones,” he added.

At the same time, Botswana offers the UAE numerous trade and investment opportunities, with its fast-growing middle class and proactive approach to diversifying its economy away from commodities, he said.

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