In a major mutually beneficial agreement, The Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry together with the African country Botswana will use the emirate as a hub for re-exports of diamonds and other products. The two countries pledged to deepen non-oil bilateral trade links across various sectors.
The UAE has increased trade relationships with many African countries in recent years, expanding its presence to four international offices on the continent, in Namibia, Ghana, Mozambique and Kenya, and growing the number of African companies registered in Dubai to around 17,000.
One of the world’s largest producers and exporters of diamonds, Botswana is poised to greatly benefit from strengthening its partnership with the UAE, which has become a major re-export hub for diamonds. In 2015 diamonds made up around 60 per cent of Botswana’s exports and almost a quarter of its GDP. Also diamond trading links between Dubai and the southern African country are already well established.
The biggest diamond found in more than a century – the 1,109-carat Lesedi La Rona gem found in the Karowe mine in Botswana was recently, sold by Vancouver-based Lucara Diamond for $53 million, or $47,777 a carat, to Dubai-based rough-diamond trading company Graff Diamonds.
$10 billion worth of diamonds in the first half of 2017 were reexported by Dubai, accounting for 12 per cent of the UAE's total re-exports. And, non-oil trade between Dubai and Botswana nearly tripled to exceed $1bn by the end of the first nine months of 2017.
Preceding machinery and electrical equipment, and transport services, bilateral non-oil trade is dominated by precious and semi-precious metals and stones.
Industry experts in both countries see great potential to expand bilateral trade and investment to other key sectors, including tourism, agriculture, healthcare, manufacturing and ICT.
Botswana as a country looks to further develop the tourism sector and increase the number of visitors from 2 million in 2016, especially high-growth areas of co-operation.
Dubai positions itself as an ideal platform for Botswana to use as a re-export hub, with strong links across the Middle East, Asia and Europe. The Emirate offers a world-class infrastructure, business-friendly environment and attractive free zones which are key to Botswana's trade potential.
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
“The UAE’s growth in Africa is visible in key sectors such as oil and gas, tourism, aviation and logistics with several national companies including Enoc, DP World, Air Arabia and Fly Dubai established in key regional markets,” Abdullah Bin Ahmed Al Saleh, the undersecretary for foreign trade affairs at the Ministry of Economy, told the conference. This further boosts the importance of building a strategic partnership between Botswana and the UAE.