(IDEX Online News) – Okavango Diamond Company (ODC), the new diamond trading enterprise owned by the Botswana government, today (Monday) announced its interim board with Toby Frears as its first managing director.
A press release from the new entity says the board, which was appointed by the vice president and minister of Minerals, Energy and Water Resources, Dr. Ponatshego Kedikilwe, comprises of individuals who, collectively, possess a deep knowledge of the diamond industry and of the economic landscape of Botswana. They are Botswana’s Diamond Hub co-ordinator, Jacob Thamage, who will serve as chairman; Banny Molosiwa, permanent secretary in the Ministry of Trade & Industry, Bashi Moesi, the deputy attorney general and Cornelius Dekop, secretary for Development and Budget in the Ministry of Finance & Development Planning.
Frears, a 22-year veteran of the diamond industry, 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.
ODC’s chairman said Frears would lead the new company’s development and operations until a Motswana is “suitably prepared” for the role.
“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,” said Thamage.
“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.”
“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,” said Frears.
Commenting on his appointment as MD, 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.”
Thamage added that while the number of staff ODC employs would be relatively small, he foresees the company’s activities stimulating additional business opportunities in the country as well as encouraging overseas investment.