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Ministry of Minerals, Energy and Water Resources (MMEWR)
Interim Board and Managing Director of Okavango Diamond Comp...
Interim Board and Managing Director of Okavango Diamond Company (ODC)Announced  

“We are at the start of an exciting journey and it is the Board’s commitment to build a dynamic, successful diamond business which we can all be proud of.” Mr. J.A.R.Thamage, Chairman of ODC.

Gaborone, 13th August 2012:- Okavango Diamond Company (ODC), the new diamond trading enterprise owned by the Botswana Government, today announced its interim Board, including the appointment of its first Managing Director.

ODC’s interim Board was appointed by His Honour, the Vice President and Minister of Minerals, Energy and Water Resources, Dr. Ponatshego Kedikilwe, and comprises of individuals who, collectively, possess a deep knowledge of the diamond industry and of the economic landscape of Botswana.  The Board comprises Botswana’s Diamond Hub Co-ordinator, Mr. Jacob Thamage, who will serve as the company’s Chairman, Ms. Banny Molosiwa, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Trade & Industry, Mr. Bashi Moesi, the Deputy Attorney General and Mr. Cornelius Dekop, Secretary for Development and Budget in the Ministry of Finance & Development Planning.

Also joining the Board is Mr. Toby Frears, who has been appointed as ODC’s first Managing Director. Mr. Frears, a veteran of the diamond industry with 22 years experience, was Head of Sales at Diamond Trading Company Botswana (DTCB) for three years from 2008, during which time he established and led the company’s sales activities, before running DTCB’s diamond sorting and valuing operations. 

Commenting on today’s announcement, ODC’s Chairman, Mr. Thamage, said: “We are at the start of an exciting journey and it is the Board’s commitment to build a dynamic, successful diamond business which we can all be proud of”.

“The Board has approved an aggressive establishment plan that encompasses all the complexities of setting up a company of this nature and will see ODC commence trading from Gaborone in the second quarter of 2013. The appointment of Mr. Frears as ODC’s Managing Director is an important milestone.  Supported by the Board, he will lead the new company’s development and operations until a Motswana is suitably prepared for the role.”

Commenting on his appointment as ODC’s Managing Director, Toby Frears said: “I feel privileged to have been offered this position and excited about the opportunity to build a commercially driven company that will contribute to the further development of Botswana’s expanding downstream diamond industry”.

“ODC’s commercial strategy will be to deliver a market leading value proposition, which will encourage diamantaires from Botswana and across the world to acquire their rough diamonds from ODC at globally competitive, market determined prices,” continued Frears.  “Over the coming months, we will be focusing on a number of priorities including; developing and implementing ODC’s launch plan, putting together a world class team, including the appointment of a deputy MD, developing the company strategy and operating plan, defining the sales model and identifying and equipping suitable premises for the start of trading activities in the second quarter of 2013.”

Over the coming months, ODC will be recruiting appropriately experienced personnel to fill key roles within the new organisation.  These posts will be advertised, qualifying applicants will be interviewed and the best candidates selected.

In closing, says Mr.Thamage, “While ODC will employ a relatively small number of individuals with specialised skills; we intend that our activities will stimulate the development of additional business opportunities in Botswana, as well as encouraging international companies to invest in the country.”

“One of the most important aspects of ODC is that we will be an open and transparent business and this characteristic will be evident in everything we do.  As the company builds towards its trading launch in the second quarter of 2013, we will share information on our high level plans and strategy as they become available.”

About Okavango Diamond Company

ODC has been created to provide Botswana with its own sustainable, commercial diamond sales channel.  It will provide government with greater insight into diamond market trends and, as part of the Government’s broader strategy, will help to cement the country’s growing position and reputation as a leading centre for the production, sale and manufacture of diamonds.  The company was established following the renewal of the Debswana Sales Agreement between the Botswana Government and De Beers. The Agreement provides for Government to purchase and sell a proportion of Debswana production, which rises to 15% by 2016.

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