The Central Africa Republic (CAR) will resume diamond exports three years after they were judged to be financing armed groups in an inter-religious conflict and placed under embargo, according to the country's mines minister Leopold Mboli Fatrane. After successful elections aimed at drawing a line under the violence, new President Faustin-Archange Touadera is seeking to revive the shattered economy. Mboli Fatrane said on state-owned radio that the partial lifting of the export ban would initially apply to the southern region of Berberati, according to a Reuters report.
"Very quickly we'll be working on other zones. As you know, we must follow certain conditions imposed by the Kimberley Process," he said. "We must separate the so-called 'blood diamonds' from those that aren't." Last year, the KP agreed to allow the government to resume rough diamond exports on the condition that it implemented a program to ensure the traceability of its stones. In September, a U.N. panel of experts said the illicit trade in diamonds was still funding major players in Central African Republic's conflict and increasingly involved neighboring countries such as Cameroon and Chad. "As you know, today security has returned to Berberati. The government is today able to ensure traceability there," Mboli Fatrane said.
According to KP data, CAR officially exported 371,917 carats of diamonds, worth over $62 million, in 2012, the year before the ban was put in place. The first diamonds to be shipped from the country following the resumption of exports comprise 3,703 carats of stocks that must be examined and approved by the government's diamond inspection office.