THE Namibian prime-minister, Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila has called for increased value addition of Namibian diamonds to bring about more resilience to the Namibian economy.
The prime-minister made these remarks on her first visit to the Namib Desert Diamonds (PTY) Ltd (NAMDIA) state owned enterprise.
“It is very important that our country ensures optimal value for its natural resources, and diamonds are the most valuable mineral resources that Namibia has. We have to ensure we contributes not only higher income earned by the country, but to higher growth and higher employment created to reduce poverty and improve welfare conditions for Namibians. What are those other things NAMDIA can do. NAMDIA was established to discover the true value of Namibian diamonds, however the next question is what is next after we’ve discovered the true value of our diamonds,” Kuugongelwa-Amadhila said.
The prime-minister further said that government has taken note of efforts made towards development of human resources, not only at NAMDIA, but also in support efforts of government in the country.
“As a country that produces top quality diamonds, we must develop the capacity to mine it and process it. Eventually we should be able to import diamonds and process it. We have countries that do not produce diamonds but they are wealthy because they are able to buy our resources in raw form for next to nothing, and sell these products at exorbitant prices. I was happy to hear that the capacity available here at NAMDIA is available to government to use in order to ensure that we are able to administer and formulate policies that regulate these resources in a manner that would optimize benefits for us, including re-looking at the agreements that we have with some of our partners as we see others are doing around the world, to ensure that we are able to use lessons to get better returns for our resources,” Kuugongelwa-Amadhila said.
She further added that when Namibia is able to process its own diamonds and produce products from them, it will not be reliant on the prices of rough diamonds in the global market as has been the case.
“I am also Happy to note, that price discovery is not an end in itself, but should indeed translate to better returns for our diamonds by whomever they are mined, both in terms of what we fetch when we sell raw diamonds, and also in terms of the whole value chains development for the diamonds in the country so Namibians outside of the sector can benefit significantly. It should also help us through value addition to improve the resilience of the Namibian economy.” Kuugongelwa-Amadhila said.
Also speaking at the event, the Minister of Mines and Energy, Tom Alweendo said that the prime-minister’s visit to NAMDIA comes at a time where there is a question in Namibian society on how much they are really getting for their natural resources, and whether they can get more of it.
VIDEO: Some scenes from the Prime-Ministers visit to Namdia. Video: Zorena Jantze.