The Kimberley Process (KP) has declared three new ‘compliant zones’ in the Central African Republic, meaning diamond exports from those regions can resume after a suspension of more than two years, writes Rapaport News following a statement by the KP. The KP’s monitoring team approved shipments from the sub-prefectures of Boda, Carnot and Nola in the west of the country on September 19, the KP announced. KP Chair Ahmed Bin Sulayem has communicated the decision to all KP participants and observers. CAR's KP Focal Point has been invited to bring this decision to the attention of customs officials, diamond traders and other relevant stakeholders in the CAR, Bin Sulayem said in a statement.
“This latest good news for CAR," says Bin Sulayem in a KP press release included in annex, "comes just five months after the UAE Intersessional meeting, held in Dubai in May, where the KP took a unanimous decision to allow resumption of exports from the sub-prefecture of Berberati. To date, two shipments have been exported from Berberati successfully. Good progress has been made and hopefully we can move forward to a further normalization of the situation in the Western Zone of the CAR.” Diamond exports from CAR had been banned for three years after they were judged to be financing armed groups in an inter-religious conflict, and were placed under embargo. 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.
The announcement comes in parallel with Bin Sulayem's visit to the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) where he met with ministers and senior industry figures in the to talk through the country’s position on the KP and to discuss various initiatives and programs to further its stature as a major diamond producer. There Bin Sulayem said, “It is important to understand not only the government's position and policy on the continued mining and export of rough diamonds, as it relates to KP mandates, but also to experience the operation from a senior public servant’s point of view, should the political landscape of the country change in the upcoming November elections.” DRC is the world’s third biggest diamond producer by volume, and is responsible for approximately 13% of global output, including industrial diamonds.