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Africa diamond-producing countries receive US$8.1b from 2018 global sales



Publishing Date : 18 November, 2019

Author : LAWRENCE PAGANGA

Diamond-producing countries in Africa, including Botswana, in 2018 received a total of US$8.1 billion translating to 9.5 percent of the total global revenue of US$85.9 billion generated from the sale of diamond jewellery.




This was announced by the World Diamond Council (WDC) president, Stephane Fischler ahead of the 2019 Kimberley Process plenary meeting, which will be held in New Delhi, India next week.

He said although some countries in Africa had considered the amount they received as insufficient, the economic potential of the diamond resource whose value increased by five as it travelled from the mine to the retail jeweler, was indisputable.




"Diamond deposits hold the promise of a better future for all African producing countries, and more specifically for the communities living in areas where they are located," Fischler said.

He added; "To realise this promise, those mining the product need to receive fair value for their labour and capital investment, and an appropriate proportion of revenues generated must be used to create sustainable economic and social opportunities at the grassroots level.


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Fischler said the long-term developmental for the potential of the product to be realised, diamonds must continue to be an aspirational purchase for buyers.

"Because they can live without diamonds, they will only buy them if they want to.  There were 10 million Africans whose income depended on continuing demand for diamond jewellery in consuming countries.  Reputation, therefore, is a key element, and defending that reputation is of paramount importance.


If the integrity of the diamond is undermined, so is the economic potential of the product," he said.

Turning to the 2019 Kimberley Process plenary meeting to be held next week in India, Fischer stressed on the importance of progress being made in strengthening the scope of the Kimberly Process certification scheme, as part of the three-year review and reform cycle that was ending this month.

"More specifically, we are talking about amending the definition of conflict diamonds so that it better enables us to provide an assurance that the trade in rough diamonds cannot fund the types of systemic violence being seen in certain diamond-mining areas today," he said.




The WDC president also announced that the WDC was rolling out a new System of Warranties (SOW), which "has scope that goes significantly beyond that of the Kimberly Process."

"The new system will require members of the industry to include on all invoices and memo documents that they adhere to the WDC guidelines.  The guidelines include reference to international conventions relating to human and labour rights, anti-corruption and anti-money laundering," he said.

Organisers involved in to the build-up to the KP plenary meeting said they were experiencing 'whirlwind days' ahead of the event.


The meeting will start on November 18 and end on November 22.  With a range of critical issues yet to be resolved, delegates to the plenary meeting are currently sharing and promoting last minute positions during bilateral meetings in different parts of the world and strategically scheduled conferences, attended by many of the key players in the diamond industry.  Some of the meetings held to date include the Russia-Africa Summit which took place in Sochi, Russia last month and the diamond conference held in Gaborone early this month.



"The final minutes are on the clock for the Kimberley Process's three-year review and reform cycle, which began in 2016 and will end at the plenary meeting under chairmanship of India.  Some tough discussions will take place, as difficult decisions need to be made - none more so than whether the scope of the Kimberley Process certification scheme will be strengthened," the WDC said in a statement released this week.
"At the heart of the debate is the definition of what constitutes a 'conflict diamond'. 


Currently, it is unchanged from the launch of the Kimberley Process certification scheme in 2003.  This means that only diamonds whose proceeds are fuelling civil war against legitimate Governments are targeted.  Recognising the outdated definition, the WDC, together with the civil society and many Government representatives, are insisting that it should be amended to include instances of unacceptable violence in the supply chain during peacetime as well," WDC said.

Other proposals submitted by Botswana and Russia are on the table.  




The Kimberley Process plenary meetings bring together under its umbrella, industry, human rights activists and Governments from both the developed and developing world.  It has succeeded in enforcing tough policies in the past.

"But will it be able to rise to the occasion once again, or will it be hamstrung by the Kimberley Process members' short-term political interests?  While we are active on all committees and subcommittees, when the time comes to vote, only Government members have the right to do so," noted the WDC.




"While we do not have the final say on the future scope of the Kimberley Process certification scheme, we most definitely are able to set responsible industry standards for the goods reaching the market.  This goes beyond the Kimberley Process' currently limited 'conflict diamonds' definition, expressly referencing international conventions relating to human and labour rights 

"The question is whether, after New Delhi, all participants in the tripartite coalition will be travelling together and at the same speed.  One way or another, the 2019 Kimberly Process plenary will represent a watershed moment for the industry," said WDC.

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