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The African Diamond Producers Association (ADPA) formed

 

WINDHOEK--Twelve African states that gathered in Luanda, Angola, over the weekend expect to harness profits derived from diamonds to develop the continent and to help stem the trade in so-called “conflict diamonds”.

 

On Sunday, the countries placed their signatures to the formation of the African Diamond Producers Association (ADPA), whose objectives, among others are to increase cooperation among diamond producing countries and coordinate diamond mining in the continent and trade policies to ensure that profit generated from gem sales is channelled towards creating better living conditions for the African population.

 

The illicit sale of diamonds has been blamed for helping finance devastating civil conflicts in several African countries.

 

"Countries on the continent are among the five biggest producers of this natural resource, but Africa has never been able to make its voice heard," Manuel Africano, Angolan minister of geology and mines, was quoted by Reuters as saying after the launch of ADPA. "Africa is today creating an organ which will motivate member countries to cooperate in their strategies on prospecting, exploration, polishing and marketing of diamonds."

 

ADPA includes 12 full member African diamond-producing countries - Angola, Botswana (the world’s largest diamond producer by value), Ghana, Guinea, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Sierra-Leone, Tanzania, Togo, the Central African Republic and the South African Republic.

 

Another seven countries – Algeria, Gabon, Cote D’Ivoire, Liberia, Mauritania, Mali and the Republic of Congo – are observers in the organization.

 

According to the ADPA’s founder and chief architect, André A. D. Jackson, Angola will head the association’s interim executive secretariat.

 

This group of observers includes both producers, non-producers of diamonds and countries that have huge mining potentials.

 

Africano was also quoted as saying Africa's diamond industry - producing about 1.9 billion carats worth $158 billion a year - had helped improve the lives of millions of people and significantly contributed to the economies of several countries.

 

He said, in Angola, almost 20,000 people were employed directly the diamond industry – an industry which also generated 40 percent of Namibia’s annual export revenues and 33 percent of Botswana's GDP.

 

Africano said, after tightening control over illegal mining and smuggling, the share of so-called “conflict diamonds” reduced to one percent in the total.

 

It was hoped that through ADPA, Africa would reap the benefits of good governance, sound macroeconomic policies and peace, with diamond trade resulting in more significant development.

 

Despite having an abundance of natural resources, Africa remains the world’s poorest continent.

 

Meanwhile, the international meeting on diamonds opened in Gaborone, Botswana, Monday, as producer countries seek for ways of preventing the flow of so-called “conflict diamonds” into the legitimate trade.

 

The meeting, which has attracted 300 delegates from is 71 countries, NGOs, and the US-based World Diamond Council, will review progress made in diamond certification through the Kimberley Process and give the players in the diamond industry an opportunity to plan ahead of Kimberley Process presentations to be made at the UN General Assembly next month.

 

The Kimberley Process is an initiative by diamond-producing nations, the industry and civic groups aimed at certifying diamonds and end trade in so called “conflict diamonds”.

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