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U.S. Backs Funding for Botswana Diamond Trade

Jul 26, 2016 3:45 AM   By Rapaport News
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RAPAPORT... The U.S. government has agreed to guarantee a $125 million loan to Botswana’s diamond manufacturing industry to promote local job creation and strengthen the nation’s economic growth.

The loan, provided by Barclays Bank of Botswana, will help keep activities such as diamond sorting, marketing and manufacturing processes within Botswana, according to the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), the U.S. government’s development finance institution.

The $125 million is the first tranche of a broader $250 million OPIC loan-guarantee program for Botswana’s diamond industry. Barclays Bank of Botswana, a subsidiary of Barclays Africa Group, is the first lender and additional lenders may join the program in the future, OPIC said.

OPIC signed the loan guarantee July 25 with Barclays together with New York-based diamond manufacturer Lazare Kaplan International through its subsidiary Botswana Finance. The agreement will establish a revolving facility in which OPIC will share the credit risk.

“This project will provide critical support to an industry that is central to Botswana’s economy and a key source of job creation,” said James Polan, OPIC’s vice-president of small and medium-sized enterprise finance (pictured). “Bringing the larger supply chain into Botswana will have a huge impact in local communities across the country.”

The project also aims to facilitate further lending to diamond manufacturing and polishing companies with operations in Botswana, giving them access to long-term financing and developing the nation’s financial sector.
Tags: Banks, Barclays, Barclays Bank, Barclays Bank of Botswana, Botswana, Botswana Finance, finance, Lazare kaplan, Lazare Kaplan International, lending, Manufacturing, opic, Overseas Private Investment Corporation, Rapaport News
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