From the Botswana Ministry of Trade and Industry
GABORONE: JUNE 13: The Assistant Minister of trade and Industry Hon. Vincent Seretse today undertook a tour of the Southern African Diamond Corporation (SAFDICO), an entity licenced in January 2006 as diamond cutting and polishing company.
According to the Chief Executive of SAFDICO, Ms Rutang Moses the organisation led by its visionary Group Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Brian Gutkin, is a blue chip diamond company and Diamond Trading Company Sight holder with facilities in Botswana, South Africa, Mauritius, Geneva, New York, London, Antwerp and Israel. Safdico Botswana facility began to be operational in September 2007.
The company which boasts of the staff of 120 employees, only 11 of which are expatriates who have been trimmed from 18, specialises in cutting and polishing top-end diamonds. A subsidiary of Safdico, the world class Diamond Technology Park (DTP) which was launched in January 2009, the CEO says, houses diamond and jewellery manufacturers, mining companies and those servicing the diamond industry like the Diamond Hub, banks, brokers, the GIA, Courier services and Botswana Police Satellite. DTP is a private initiative funded by Safdico.
She, says the company invested in Botswana to establish world class diamond cutting and polishing facility and leveraged off its group business model to build competency, technology and skills to polish stones from +2cts to -100cts.
A Botswana Training Authority (BOTA) accredited and the International Standard Organisation (ISO) 9001:2008 registered company, Safdico conducts its own in-house training for local staff, and the graduates of its this initiative are the ones now polishing Triple Excellent GIA certified large diamonds- +10cts value > U$ 800,000 as well as having invested in market leading technology solutions.
The company future plans include further investing on the remaining 14,000m² of DTP. Currently expanding DTP with the state-of-the art diamond trading facility, Safdico, will be equipping the facility with technology, skills and equipment to operate diamond tenders to move Botswana further. Its major goal is to attract local, other African and international producers to tender goods in Botswana, at DTP facility creating vibrant secondary marketplace. This facility is expected to be operational end of 2011.
Operated independently by a third party, the DTP sustainability requires Government support. It is Safdico believe that the development of the Trading facility is in line with the Botswana Minerals Policy objective of “encouraging linkages with the rest of the economy by expanding value addition activities (beneficiation)”. With the commitment of all stakeholders including Government, mining companies and others the trading facility can be sustainable.
Otherwise Safdico, for its part remains committed to further investment in the country. Its ambition is to be part of the transformation of Botswana into fully integrated diamond centre and to helping stakeholders move to “the next stage”. “Safdico has capability, financial strength and commitment to deliver the diamond trading platform,” Ms. Moses asserts that through visionary Safdico Group CEO, Brian Gutkin the company identifies needs of local industry and tries to deliver the industry solution, and hence it needs supports to be successful.
The organization, policy is to give back to communities where it operates. As a result it has invested in the construction of Graff Leadership Centre in Mochudi centre and Safdico will invest over three years. The centre will focus on developing youth for future leadership roles. This will be achieved by way offering an after-school programme, with priority focus on training and mentorship for orphaned and vulnerable youth aged between 12 to 18 years. According to the CEO, the institution is expected to reach over 600 children and impact on 6500 families. Now complete, the centre will be officially launched in September 2011.
Without coming clearly that it is the company retention strategy to pay competitive salaries, Ms. Moses says their salaries compare to non in the landscape of the country, hence they do not fear their employees could be poached easily by its competitors.
Appreciating for having been accorded the opportunity to visit the facility, Assistant Minister assured that the government will where possible render its support to ensure that the company achieves its endeavours.