A new partnership between HB Antwerp and the Botswana International University of Science and Technology (BIUST) is expected to benefit youths in the diamond sector in Botswana.

The five-year partnership, Development Diaries understands, aims to drive innovative projects backed by digital supply chains, skills development, technological advancement and sustainable economic growth.

Diamonds account for 41 percent of government revenue, and 70 percent of total export earnings, figures from the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) show.

However, despite Botswana’s impressive economic gains, youth unemployment stands as a major challenge, according to the African Development Bank (AfDB).

World Bank data for 2019 also puts youth unemployment in the southern African country at 35.6 percent.

Also, the Botswana Diamond Workers Union (BDWU), in 2020, said that the diamond sector was plagued by low wages with no job security for workers.

‘HB Antwerp is delighted to collaborate with BIUST and build on our efforts to provide training and job placement for local talent in the communities where we operate’, Cofounder of HB Antwerp, Rafael Papismedov, said in a statement to Development Diaries.

‘Young people in Africa have incredible potential, but often do not have access to meaningful opportunities.

‘We believe in the power of diamonds to catalyse positive change and look forward to leveraging this partnership to deliver on that potential for Botswana’.

For his part, the Vice Chancellor of BIUST, Otlogetswe Totolo, said that it was only natural for the university to embrace a partnership that directly speaks to skills development, technological advancement and job creation.

‘BIUST is always open to partnerships that provide opportunities for young Botswanans to develop both their common and transferable skills needed for industrial and manufacturing advancement of our economy’, Totolo said.

‘It is my believe that the partnership will greatly contribute to the human capital development of our country through new technological and innovative ideas that we expect to harness from this collaboration’.

According to HB Antwerp – a diamond company – it is committed to driving sustainable economic development in Botswana and throughout Africa; while the university, it is understood, supports the long-standing principle of the government of Botswana that says that diamonds are for national development.

Photo source: Botswana Youth

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