Exports also included diamonds that were brought in to the country by De Beers for sorting, said that information released by the country’s Central Statistics Office (CSO).

Among these, export of rough diamonds increased by 20.7% to nearly $3.9bn in 2012, whereas polished diamond exports increased 11% to $692m.

In December 2012, Botswana exported $139.5m worth of rough and polished diamonds, down from $228m of exports recorded for the corresponding quarter in 2011.

Diamond imports, meanwhile, rose from $721.1m in 2011 to $2.02bn in 2012 with the increase attributed to the transfer of the Diamond Trading Company’s (DTC) sorting operations.

The DTC, which is a De Beers rough gemstones distribution unit, transferred a percentage of its production to Botswana as part of its transfer of operations and expected to be completed by the end of 2013.

Diamond exports contribute towards 63% of Botswana’s total exports and play a key role in its economy.