By Andreas Thomas
Windhoek – The fact that Africa dominate diamond production is an indication that the continent has the potential to capitalise on these natural resources, says Namibian mines and energy minister Tom Alweendo on Tuesday.
Information by the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme indicates that African countries such as Botswana, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Angola, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Namibia and Sierra Leone is in the top ten of diamond producing countries in volume and value globally.
In addition, the most expensive diamonds are produced by Cameroon, Namibia, Sierra Leone, South Africa and Lesotho, with a value ranging from US$300 to more than US$500 per carat, in comparison to the global average value of US$315 per carat.
This Minister Alweendo said it “indicates that Africa has the opportunity and potential to capitalise on its diamond resources if exploited in a responsible and sustainable manner.
That way, we will ensure that diamond generated income is channelled towards the building of educational and health institutions, improving road and network infrastructure and meeting other pressing social-economic needs”.
Alweendo was speaking during the 6th Ordinary Meeting of the African Diamond-Producing Countries Association Council of Ministers in Windhoek. The annual session started on Monday with the meeting of senior officials for countries.
The two-day meeting hosted by the Namibian mines and energy ministry deliberated and formulated policies for the functioning of the African Diamond-Producing Countries Association (ADPA), approve its organic structures and internal regulations as well as approve and direct the work of the executive secretariat.
Namibia also took over the rotational chair of the association from Guinea. ADPA comprised of 18 members countries of which 12 are the effective members, while six are observers. The effective members are the diamond producing nations, while the observer countries are those that have the geological potential of diamonds
The Association of the Diamond Producing Countries was then established in accordance with the Luanda Declaration of 2006 and the ADPA Statute
Since its establishment, Angola, South Africa, and Guinea have chaired the ADPA’s Council of Ministers meeting, with Namibia taking over the Chairmanship for the year 2019.
“ADPA has played a significant role particularly in consolidating views of African producing countries. For example, ADPA has been instrumental in the restoration of the Republic of Zimbabwe back into the Kimberly Process after economic sanctions were imposed against their exportation of rough diamonds. The same support has been extended to the Central African Republic and is ongoing,” Minister Alweendo said.
In June 2018, ADPA concluded a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Antwerp World Diamond Center, which Alweendo said will benefit ADPA member states throughout the entire diamond value chain, by the provision of necessary support towards ADPA’s implementation of its strategies and work plan just to mention a few.
This MoU is due for adoption and implementation.
He said ADPA has also formulated the concept document on the ‘Establishment of the Diamond Bourse’ to serve as a centre of rough diamond trading and to assist Alluvial Artisanal and Small-Scale miners in getting fair value for their produce, which is currently undervalued.
The Namibian stressed that most of the minerals in Africa is exported in raw form as concentrated ore without significant value-addition.
“It is therefore important for ADPA member states to explore ways to add value to minerals that are economically viable including diamonds, in order to industrialise their economies,” he said.
The minister also commended the African Union for formulating the Africa Mining Vision, a policy framework calling for the promotion of downstream value addition, with a view to establishing beneficiation industries that could provide stock for local manufacturing and industrialisation.
“This is to promote more fiscal space and responsive taxation to allow countries to better capture revenue gains and encourage the use of revenues for value addition and linkages,” he said.
Therefore, he challenged ADPA to drive the beneficiation “agenda by developing the diamond downstream industry through the exchange of relevant information and expertise in the area of beneficiation and mainstreaming of alluvial artisanal and small-scale miners into the formal economies to mention a few”.