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Actively Contributing to Investment
& generation of employment in Angola

In an exclusive with Sandeep Kothari, Managing Director, KGK Group, The New Jeweller Bureau gets an insight on the group's activities and beneficiation programs in Angola and a peek into the rich legacy taken forward by KGK Group to strengthen the global Diamond supply pipeline. Excerpts:

Diamond Industry has witnessed a rough patch in the last couple of months, especially the PANDEMIC that has led to the slowdown. What according to you is the future? Do you see a turnaround in terms of consumer buying in the near future that can trigger the Diamond sector back into profitable business?

The industry was however enduring a slowdown prior to the pandemic; the players were aiming to achieve realistic objectives instead of anticipating robust growth in 2020. Before the industry could resurrect its initial form in 2020, the wave of COVID-19 hit the world leaving businesses in a vulnerable state. Like any other industry, the diamond sector was not an exception as it also witnessed an adverse fall in trade, stress on supply chains, lesser discretionary spending, and reduced customer activity. In addition, there has been a notable change in the purchasing behaviour of the customers as expensive items are replaced by cost-effective & pocketfriendly items for e.g., customers are opting for 1 carat and 1 carat by ½ instead of 2 carat diamond. Hence, we expect a considerable surge in the demand for lighter and affordable jewellery. Besides, as the digital world has taken a lead in the recent past, we witness a sudden shift where customers are open to spending more time with their digital purchases.

At KGK, we are working proactively towards increasing resilience and safeguarding productivity with a holistic approach. We have successfully created online platforms to break the streak. Beneath this shift is the greater need to attain organisational agility and connectivity with customers in these unprecedented times.

Angola is poised to become the ‘Future Destination for Rough and polished diamond Business’ with the development of Angolan Diamond Hub housing the Angolan Diamond Exchange. What is your opinion on a viable business partnership with Angola?

The diamond industry in Africa has witnessed numerous challenges over the last decade principally due to the declining workforce and a lack of new entrants. Youth entrepreneurial activities are nominal within the diamond industry due to inadequate knowledge about diamond operations. But now the industry is seeing a new light with Angola becoming a promising hub for diamond production. Angola has great economic potential since the country has one of the largest and most diversified diamond mining. It is also the third-largest producer of diamonds. The region is currently witnessing a paradigm shift realising the progressive vision of the country's President. KGK’s initiative is also aligned with the same, actively contributing to investments and employment opportunities thereby adding value to the regional economy. In addition, KGK’s core principle of nurturing aptitude further supports the drive-by pouring investment into fostering jobrelevant entrepreneurial and innovation skills, addressing the ever-burgeoning talent essentials in the diamond sector.

KGK GROUP has been successful in leading the Rough Procurement and Diamond production for over 10 decades. Tell us some of the important factors behind the success story of the company?

It was in the year 1905 when KGK started its journey with the trading of gemstones. Since then it has grown manifold, following a path of natural progression. Its consistent & multi-dimensional growth has not only led to attentive expansion across 16 countries benefitting the gems and jewellery industry at large but has also endowed KGK with a vertically integrated standing of mines-to-brands.

We believe our success is delivered and sustained through our people and their expertise. Along with sharing the lasting bond with industry leaders like Alrosa, De Beers and Rio Tinto, we work rigorously to create sustainable livelihoods with our beneficiation initiatives and training programs. Nurturing the local residents as diamond artisans and contributing to the development of regions is amongst the key objective of the group. In South Africa, such faith has inspired the company to partner with the State Diamond Trader for its Entrepreneur Development Programme (EDP). This was done to train the region’s youth and equip them with skills that will serve as their ticket to the diamond industry. To date, over 5000 personnel benefitted from EDP, as well as from other in-factory training initiatives. As the leading global jewellery enterprise, KGK today has achieved significant successes with operations & offices active in Asia, North & South America, Europe, and Africa.

Tell us something about the CSR activities of the KGK GROUP?

At KGK, CSR has been an integral part of business. The company is committed to innovation, affordability and access to healthcare. In line with this commitment and as a socially responsible organization, KGK has, over the last 10 years, invested significantly in various CSR programs aimed at making a difference in the lives of marginalized communities. We also are increasingly addressing gender equality and diversity as part of our healthy business practices. Our concentrated effort, across the globe, ensures that all initiatives are inclusive, transparent and thus sustainable. Wholly funded by the activities of the KGK Group, Bhagwan Mahaveer Cancer Hospital & Research Centre in Jaipur is the only super specialty cancer treatment hospital in North India. The group is also a key supporter of the non-profit SS Jain Subodh Shiksha Samiti, which established in 1918 with a class of just four girls. Today this respected name in education has 19 institutions under its auspices, including playgroups, colleges, postgraduate colleges, a teachers’ training college as well as professional institutions such as an MBA institute, MCA institute and a law college.

In addition, KGK group has been instrumental in the restoration of the magnificent Jal Mahal (the Water Palace), a Mughal-era royal palace in Jaipur. The remarkable restoration, which started in 2005, has involved numerous international experts, traditional master craftsmen, architects, historians and authorities on art, culture, and design. Today the iconic Jal Mahal is an oasis of peace by day and a shining inspiration at night.