De Beers, a company I once worked for, in a move akin to Brexit negotiations is extending its decade-long sales agreement with Botswana for another year to give the sides more time to hammer out a new deal.
Bloomberg reports that the accord was due to end this year, but the two parties said logistical challenges from the coronavirus pandemic mean they need more time to negotiate its replacement.
The agreement between the world’s top diamond producer and Botswana has in the past been a source of contention. It took years to negotiate the last deal, which led to De Beers moving all its diamond selling and sorting staff to Botswana from London.
De Beers operates in Botswana under a joint venture with the government called Debswana, and then has exclusive rights to sell them. Much like the EU and UK, both Botswana and De Beers need each other. Botswana accounts for more than two-thirds of De Beers’ output, while Botswana relies on diamonds for 90% of its exports.
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