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First-half sales down 16 % at Botswana’s Diamond Company

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Sales at Botswana’s state-owned Okavango Diamond Company (ODC) fell 16 percent in the first half of 2018 to $260 million, its managing director said, citing a high comparison base against last year’s record growth.

Marcus ter Haar said the company sold 1.778 million carats in the first half of 2018 compared with 1.808 million carats in the same period last year.

“A favourable rough diamond market over this period has meant ODC has generated healthy sales for the first half of 2018 despite not being able to offer larger volumes to our customers compared to the same period in 2017,” he said.

Ter Haar said customers from the United States and Far East largely drove demand in the six months through June.

Read Also: Tanzania, Uganda deepen economic ties with deal for supply of gas

Looking ahead, he said sales for the remainder of 2018 were unlikely to be as strong as in the first half due to an anticipated cyclical downturn in the market.

“Current indications suggest that a seasonal slowdown in the diamond market has now begun which will have somewhat of a dampening effect on the promising first half,” he said.

ODC, which holds ten sales auctions each year, sells 15 percent of Debswana’s production as Botswana develops its own price book through the independent window outside of De Beers’ channels to gauge the market.

Debswana, a joint venture between Anglo American’s De Beers and Botswana, recorded a 9 percent jump in production in the first half of 2018 to 12.08 million carats.

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Nigerien President, Mohamed Bazoum wants employment quotas for African immigrants

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Niger’s President Mohamed Bazoum wants employment quotas for African immigrants tailored to job needs from European countries.

President Bazoum made the position in an interview with an Italian newspaper, La Repubblica. on Friday.

The president’s argument is that the quota will address European countries’ needs for its labour market and could help resolve the problem of illegal migration and human trafficking.

“In France, Spain, and Italy you have many jobs in sectors of employment where Africans can work,” Bazoum said.

“These numbers need to be established, country by country, and then the consulates entrusted with the responsibility of enforcing them.”

Surveys of African migrants in or heading toward Europe reveal that the majority were either employed or in school at the time of their departure. Yet, they felt despair over their economic prospects.

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IMF Chief, Ceyla Pazarbasioglu, to visit China over Africa’s growing debt profile

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As the debt profile of many African countries continues to rise, the International Monetary Fund strategy chief, Ceyla Pazarbasioglu will travel to China next week for another high-level meeting.

Her travel is part of efforts to press the world’s largest sovereign creditor for quicker progress on debt restructurings for countries in need.

The IMF chief had called for debt restructuring arrangements for Zambia and Chad to be completed shortly.

Pazarbasioglu said it was critical to move forward and that “outreach to China next week is very important, at the highest levels.”

“It’s moving – very slowly, but it’s moving,” Pazarbasioglu said, noting that the participation of mining company Glencore Plc in the Chad treatment was also “a very good sign” that “even the most difficult private sector participants” were participating.

She said the Paris Club of official bilateral creditors had taken years to hammer out their debt relief processes, and China was learning, although she noted that the debt issues facing borrowing countries now were acute.

“The problem we have is that we don’t have that time right now because these countries are very fragile and dealing with debt vulnerabilities,” she said. “What we need is speed.”

Pazarbasioglu said the IMF would continue to press for changes to the Common Framework, including a freeze in debt payments when countries apply for a debt treatment, as well as clearer procedures and timelines for action, and ensuring comparable treatment for private creditors.

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