The managing director of Lazare Kaplan Botswana, Alfred Dube, has been invited by the U.S. Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, to participate as Botswana’s representative at a high-level gathering of officials and business leaders in Washington D.C. this week. The invitation for this “Global Business Conference” came in recognition of Dube’s standing within the Botswana business community, following lengthy diplomatic service as Ambassador to the United Nations and, among other countries, the U.K. and China; as well as a stint as Botswana’s Special Envoy for Diamonds.
The invitation also reflects Lazare Kaplan’s role in pioneering U.S. investment in Botswana, dating back more than two decades, when Lazare Kaplan opened the first large-scale diamond beneficiation venture in the country independent of De Beers. Lazare Kaplan’s record of innovation has been ongoing, most recently encompassing a public-private financing project with the U.S. government’s Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) that is scheduled for rollout in 2012. At a G-20 Summit, President Barack Obama referred specifically to Botswana and emphasized the importance of trade-finance programs such as the one Lazare Kaplan is working on with OPIC and the Botswana government in an effort to contribute to job creation and diversification of the economy.
The Global Business Conference, on February 21 and 22, brings together one business representative from each participating country to meet with Clinton, President Obama’s National Security Advisor and senior officials from U.S. agencies such as OPIC, the Export-Import Bank and the Department of Commerce. The goal of this innovative meeting is to develop stronger ties between the U.S. private sector, U.S. business support organizations, the government, and the domestic business communities of participating nations. Dube’s contribution will focus on areas identified by Botswana for potential breakout development, including diamond beneficiation and diversification into financial and other services, all building on the country’s sustained, exemplary record of economic management.