Story by Josephine Mugiyo, Diplomatic Correspondent
ACTING President General Retired Dr Constantino Chiwenga says African countries should play a leading role in the governance of the diamond sector given that the continent supplies about 75 per cent of rough diamonds on the global market.
He was speaking at the official opening of the ongoing Kimberly Process Inter-Sessional Meeting in Victoria Falls.
Players in the diamond mining sector are in Victoria Falls for the Kimberly Process Inter-Sessional Meeting.
Officially opening the meeting this Wednesday, Acting President General Retired Dr Constantino Chiwenga underscored the need for African countries to have a say in the governance of diamonds.
“It is pleasing to note the significant impacts that the Kimberly process has made to stem the flow of conflict diamonds into the global supply chain. It shows that a united front from progressive humanity can indeed, result in long-term solutions to global challenges,” Acting President General (Retired) Dr Constantino Chiwenga noted.
“For Africa, we should, therefore strengthen our resolve to consolidate the gains that have been registered so far, particularly for diamond producers. If is commonly known that African states supply the majority of global rough diamonds to the market it therefore, becomes imperative that Africans also play a leading role in the governance of the sector benefits from the resources,” said the Acting President.
The Acting President also took the opportunity to disclose that Zimbabwe’s diamond sector is growing in a positive trajectory.
“I am glad that the challenges that the diamond sector faced in years gone by are now a thing of the past. The government as witnessed by the symbiotic relationship prevailing in our diamond sector,” he added.
The issue of co-existence between diamond mining companies and local communities was also cited as key to sustainable mining operations.
“The government of Zimbabwe commit ye to continually ensure that a harmonious relationship exists between mining companies and communities they operate in,” he also said.
Acting President Chiwenga also implored players in the diamond mining sector to ensure they undertake sustainable development projects in the areas they operate in.
He told delegates that Zimbabwe has put in place policies that ensure beneficiation and value addition of minerals to ensure maximum benefits for the country.
“Government crafted the Zimbabwe diamond policy as part of measures that we derive maximum benefits from our diamonds resources. To that end, ten per cent of rough diamonds are set aside for the local cutting and polishing factories,” he also noted.
“This quarter’s policy has resulted in the growth of the sector. The construction of the gemology centre in Mutare is expected to further increase our local diamond cutting and polishing capacity,” he went on.
With the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals strongly interlinked with the mining sector, Vice President Chiwenga called on members of the Kimberly Process to embrace sustainable mining practices that will contribute to the attainment of these goals.
Diamonds are expected to contribute US$1 billion towards the US$12 billion mining economy by the end of this year.