African Countries Urged to Harmonise Diamond Laws

The 9th African Diamond Producers Association (ADPA) ordinary meeting of…

The 9th African Diamond Producers Association (ADPA) ordinary meeting of the Council of Ministers began here yesterday amid calls for member States to harmonise diamond policies and enhance sharing of ideas to realise value from the natural resource.

The high-level conference is being attended by members and observers and will end tomorrow when President Mnangagwa is expected to officiate.

It is a platform for discussion on rough diamonds beneficiation and value addition. At least 60 percent of world diamonds come from Africa, yet the continent has limited cutting and polishing services.

Mines and Mining Development Minister, Zhemu Soda, who chairs ADPA on behalf of Zimbabwe, said major challenges such as lack of access to financing and enablers and infrastructure and regulatory bottlenecks, have been identified as focus areas for discussion as they impact on value addition.

“We are here in Victoria Falls until March 14 for the 9th ordinary session of the Council of Ministers meeting as ADPA.

“It started with a session on beneficiation and focusing on sharing of information, ideas and strategies on how to realise value from natural diamonds,” said Minister Soda. “There were presentations on benchmarking frameworks and industry perspectives and we had various perspectives that have been presented, especially on opportunities.

“We will continue with presentations but so far, some challenges have been indicated and most of them are common. Most of the common challenges are on financing issues where beneficiation requires a lot of funding, especially for procurement of raw materials and processes involved hence there is a need for working capital in the process of value addition and beatification.”

Minister Soda added that infrastructure and enablers such as electricity are some of the forces that could affect the beneficiation of diamonds.

“There was also focus on regulatory frameworks where there is need to align our legislation to speak to the new agenda for beneficiation. There has been a call for review of the various legislative requirements and provisions of various countries and harmonisation of diamond policies to speak with one voice,” he said.

As ADPA chair, said Minister Soda, Zimbabwe has achieved some milestones including fostering unity among member States.

When the country took over the chair from Tanzania, there were some policies that needed to be clarified with ADPA members.