Lieutenant General Mompati S. Merafhe, Minister of Foreign Affairs for Botswana, addressed the United Nations General Assembly, describing the Kimberly Process as “one of the best examples of global cooperation.”
Botswana celebrates its 40th year of independence this year and enjoys the highest average economic growth rate in the world; averaging about 9% annually from 1966 to 1999. Diamond mining is the foundation of this growth, which has been bolstered by prudent internal and cautious foreign policies. According to international watchdog, Transparency International, Botswana is rated the least corrupt country in Africa.
From Merafhe’s address: “Botswana has been blessed with one of Africa’s major natural resources: Diamonds. It must be stated that 65 percent of the world's diamonds, worth $8.3 billion US dollars per year, are sourced from African countries. I am pleased to state that diamonds have and continue to do good in Botswana. The diamond industry in Botswana has been at the cutting edge of human development and transforming lives for the better, in all fields of human endeavor. We continue to prudently manage the revenue from the sale of diamonds and to effectively use such revenue to educate our people, provide potable water, healthcare and build a network of infrastructure such as roads, telephones and rural electricity. This is the good that diamonds have and continue to do.
“As a participant in the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme and current Chairman, Botswana is strongly committed to working alongside other participant countries to maintain the credibility of the scheme and the legitimate diamond trade. The Kimberley Process Certification Scheme is one of the best examples of global cooperation. The Scheme is the embodiment of global consensus, unrelenting political will and determination of members to do the right thing underpinned by strong support and resolutions of the Security Council. This is important because about 10 million people globally are either directly or indirectly supported by the diamond industry. In Southern Africa more than 28,000 people are employed by this industry.”