De Beers Group and its joint ventures invested N$2.8 billion in purchasing goods and services in Namibia in 2016, according to the company’s latest Report to Society, published this week.
The spending on Namibian-based businesses covered a diverse range of suppliers for Namdeb and Debmarine Namibia during one of the most significant years in the company’s history in the country, it said.
“De Beers Group and its joint ventures also invested N$86 million in community development initiatives in Namibia over the course of last year,” the company further said in a statement.
“This included launching a N$10 million partnership with the University of Namibia’s southern campus to support underprivileged students – of whom at least 50 percent will be female – with their studies.”
Funding from the company and its joint ventures also helped to establish a new art school in Oranjemund, provide clothing and food to disadvantaged people across a number of communities and donate IT equipment to local schools.
Globally, De Beers Group and its joint ventures returned US$5 billion to stakeholders in 2016 – a 26 percent rise on 2015 – through taxes, payments and dividends, emphasising the importance of the relationships with stakeholders, including governments, communities, suppliers and joint venture partners.
The investment came in the same year that the company signed its longest ever sales and marketing agreement with the Namibian government – with whom it owns in equal share (50 percent each) Namdeb.
“The new 10-year agreement means that more of Namibia’s diamonds will be sold in-country for the purpose of supporting the domestic cutting and polishing sector, and provides a platform for greater sustainability in the local industry,” De Beers said.
The report also highlights that in Namibia, De Beers Group and its joint ventures spent more than N$56 million on training for employees and signed a partnership agreement for a new wind farm that will be capable of generating around 17 percent of Namdeb’s total electricity use.
De Beers CEO Bruce Cleaver, who doubles as chairman of Namdeb Holdings, said: “I am proud that we were able to put the Namibian supply chain to work last year by procuring goods and services with local companies. Aside from the revenues generated by the investment, this would have helped to secure jobs and provided additional support to smaller businesses, which are the unsung heroes of Namibia’s economy.”
“More broadly, the country’s diamonds, already a major contributor to socio-economic development, now have the opportunity to play an ever more important role in shaping Namibia’s future and that of its people as a result of the new sales agreement.
“This year, we look forward to further business and community investments that will help both Namibia and De Beers Group achieve mutual success in a safe and sustainable way.”