Gaborone, Botswana — 30 April 2012 – The move of the De Beers Diamond Trading Company from London to Gaborone in Botswana is expected to result in one of the biggest ever transfers of economic activity in the history of Africa.

Miningmx reports from here that the first auction for sight-holders will be held only at the end of the year as a test run for the US$6 billion-a-year business, but in January 2013 the first full-scale auction will take place.

“We believe it will be a great catalyst for Botswana and Southern Africa – much bigger than anything that has ever happened before in Africa,” said Varda Shina, CEO of the diamond trading company in Botswana.

“It will lead to a massive inflow of expertise, technology, people and business sense. Some of the world’s top experts from China, India, Europe and Israel will be coming here, because it will become an extremely important hub,” she added.

De Beers has already made great progress with the building operations and the transport of equipment from London to Botswana. At the same time, the financial services sectors associated with the diamond industry have started establishing themselves in Botswana.

Two major European banks, ABN and ABB, which have in the past been the most important role players in sight-holder auctions, have already opened offices in Gaborone. Two large Indian banks also recently obtained licences to start business in Gaborone.

Several other banks from Israel and India are expected to make an appearance soon too – an indication that other financial services, like insurers and security companies, will soon open up there as well.

De Beers has a group of 75 sight-holders – wholesale buyers of uncut diamonds – which are the company’s primary channel for supplying diamonds to almost 40% of the world market.

“This is a group of international business people who will visit the region 10 times a year in future. They will naturally travel through South Africa, though there will presumably be direct flights to Botswana in due course.

Source: Miningmx. For more information, click here.