Contribution will support vaccine roll-out in Botswana and Namibia, and diamond industry response efforts in India
De Beers Group on June 8 announced that together with its joint ventures pledged US$6.8 million to support the national vaccine procurement and roll-out programmes of its government partners in Botswana and Namibia, as well as US$270,000 to support Covid-19 response efforts for India’s gem and jewellery industry, as the country battles the devastating second wave of the virus.
The pledge builds on the more than US$10 million De Beers Group and its joint ventures have already contributed in both financial and in-kind support to assist the company’s diamond producing partner countries of Botswana, Canada, Namibia and South Africa respond to the pandemic.
The additional pledge will see De Beers Group, in partnership with its joint ventures, contribute 55 million Botswana Pula (US$5 million) to Botswana and 26 million Namibian Dollars (US$1.8 million) to Namibia to support each country’s national Covid-19 vaccine programmes. The share of the pledge to be contributed by De Beers Group forms part of Anglo American’s global commitment to supporting national vaccine programmes in the countries in which it operates. De Beers Group and its joint ventures will continue to work with the respective governments and consider the best ways for financial contributions to assist in procuring vaccines for the benefit of each country’s population.
In-kind support will assist with the delivery of the vaccine rollout, including making available the companies’ existing hospitals and medical personnel and equipment at their operations. De Beers Group is committed to the fair and equitable distribution of vaccines and supports the priority approaches as identified by its government partners.
In addition, De Beers Group and the Anglo American Foundation will pledge 20 million Indian Rupees (US$270,000) to support India’s gems and jewellery industry as it responds to the current wave of the virus. The contribution will be shared with INR15 million pledged to the Gem & Jewellery National Relief Foundation (GJNRC), established by the Gem and Jewellery Export Promotion Council (GJEPC), and INR5 million pledged to the All India Gem and Jewellery Domestic Council (GJC) Covid-19 Relief Fund to support industry artisans. In light of the current challenges in India, the GJNRC and GJC Relief Fund are focused on procuring and mobilizing oxygen concentrators and ventilators and securing medicines for hospitals and medical centres.
Bruce Cleaver, CEO, De Beers Group, said: “From the outset of Covid-19 we have been committed to supporting our diamond producing partner countries in responding to and recovering from the impacts of the pandemic. The delivery of successful national vaccine programmes is a critical part of the recovery phase and we are committed to working with our government partners to ensure we support their national vaccination strategies in the best way possible. Partnering for thriving communities is a key pillar of our sustainability work, and the health infrastructure we have built up in Botswana and Namibia over the decades will offer vital support for the administration of the vaccine, while our financial contribution can play an important role in supporting national vaccine procurement.
“As the global heart of the diamond manufacturing sector, the situation in India affects us all in the diamond industry and our thoughts are with everyone in India as the country faces its greatest challenge yet with regards to Covid-19. It’s heartening to see the GJEPC and GJC playing such a vital role in helping those in the Indian diamond sector affected by the virus and we are proud to support their critical work. This is a global issue that requires a shared solution and we must all pull together to fight this pandemic.”
De Beers Group’s Covid-19 support strategy in its diamond producing partner countries has comprised three separate phases – helping communities prepare for the pandemic, supporting the emergency response and the current phase, partnering in economic recovery. Throughout each phase, De Beers Group has provided wide-ranging support, spanning the provision of health and hygiene products and infrastructure, supporting public health education, donating medical equipment and supplies including Covid-19 PCR testing machines, repurposing facilities for use in the emergency response, and providing support for social services and shelters in response to the growing challenges related to gender-based violence.