The Central African Republic (CAR) has made an appeal to members of the Kimberley Process (KP), whose Plenary meeting commences in Brussels today, to engage with the country to increase its rough-diamond exports. The CAR government has asked the KP family to approve the compliance of nine additional mining zones in the Western part of the country - in addition to the five areas already approved in 2015 - and to formallize the decision taken at the KP Intersessional last June to reduce the approval period for rough-diamond exports to seven days.
The Bureau d'Évaluation et de Contrôle de Diamant et d'Or (BECDOR) in the Central African Republic, which oversees the country’s production and trade of diamond and gold, maintains a database and assesses the value of diamond parcels that are to be exported from the country, has just set up a new price list - defining mineral prices between government and traders. The new price list for these mineral resources is designed to enable the State to have enough financial resources to meet its obligations, reports APA News (Agence de Presse Africaine).
“‘A Game of Stones’ documents these facts not to harm the diamond trade in CAR, but to ensure they are confronted rather than ignored. It acknowledges - and tentatively welcomes - the efforts of the Kimberley Process and the government of CAR, but warns of risks that must be acknowledged and dealt with if genuine reform is to be achieved. It seeks to expose those who view the country’s current troubles as a business opportunity, while urging greater support for those seeking to mend them, including from international diamond companies."
The World Diamond Council (WDC), an industry group focused on preventing conflict diamonds from entering the global supply chain and protecting the value of natural diamonds, reaffirmed in a press release today its commitment to the Central African Republic (CAR). The statement reads: The WDC supports the efforts in preventing the trade of conflict diamonds originating from CAR and stresses the collaboration of intergovernmental organizations and civil society groups to monitor the situation on the ground.
The Ministry of Mines, Energy and Hydraulics of the Central African Republic (CAR) has issued a press release categorically rejecting the allegations contained in Global Witness' report, "Game of Stones", which detailed the NGO's investigation into diamond smuggling from CAR.
A new investigative report by Global Witness shows how smugglers are using social media platforms such as Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp to get diamonds linked to the ongoing conflict in the Central African Republic (CAR) out of the country and into international markets. Representatives went undercover by creating a social media profile for a fictitious diamond buyer that claimed to be based in Antwerp but operates internationally. They managed to speak to several dealers who promised easy access to CAR’s diamonds.
The Administrative Decision [AD] on the Central African Republic [Temporary Suspension] of May 23, 2013 was modified by the 2015 AD of July 17, 2015 concerning the defining conditions for Central African Republic’s (CAR) resumption of trade in rough diamonds from “compliant zones”. Under the supervision of the Kimberley Process Monitoring Team, a forensic audit needs to be conducted of the rough diamond stockpiles held in the CAR per the criteria set forth in the KP's Operational Framework Agreement.
We endorse the need for an ‘on-the-ground’ approach in countries which have been subject to sanctions.
Cameroon is allowing conflict diamonds from the Central African Republic to cross over its borders and into the legal supply chain due to poor controls, smuggling and corruption, Partnership Africa Canada said in a report published today.
As the 2016 Kimberley Process Plenary comes to a close, the World Diamond Council (WDC) and its president Andrey Polyakov applaud the positive steps taken in 2016, the initiatives undertaken by KP Chair UAE during the plenary itself, and look forward to the continued success of the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme under the leadership of the new KP Chair, Australia.
The 2016 KP Plenary kicked off yesterday in Dubai as KP Chair Ahmed Bin Sulayem welcomed representatives of 81 governments and industry organizations. First day activities included a third diamond valution forum addressing the elusive question of how to provide fair value for diamonds from Africa and achieve a formalized approach to valuing diamond resources.
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.
Kimberley Process Chair Ahmed Bin Sulayem has visited the Central African Republic (CAR) where he met President Faustin-Archange Touadera and Mines Minister Leopold Mboli Fratran. CAR resumed exports of rough diamonds earlier this month after a three-year ban when an internecine war broke out with both sides accused of using diamonds to fund their activities. Mining was is due to resume once other zones in the western part of the country are declared compliant.
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.
The 2016 Kimberley Process (KP) Chair issued a communication dated 14 April informing all KP Participants and Observers that the Central African Republic region of Berberati in the southwest of the country has been declared a "Compliant Zone" as per the requirements of the Administrative Decision and Operational Framework for Resumption of Exports of Rough Diamonds from the Central African Republic (CAR). The KP Monitoring Team for CAR is currently in the process of agreeing with the country's KP Authority on a schedule for the team's monthly inspections of export shipments from Berberati.
News director of JCK Rob Bates outlines how a report in UAE newpaper The National, based on comments by Kimberley Process chair Ahmed bin Sulayem, wrongfully reported that diamond exports from the Central African Republic will soon resume thanks to, it claims, a deal brokered by Ahmed bin Sulayem.
Pending a positive recommendation by the Kimberley Process (KP) monitoring team - consisting of representatives of the various KP working groups and civil society - after consideration of the results of their review visit to the Central African Republic (CAR), the resumption of rough diamond exports from CAR is looking increasingly possible.
The former Prime Minister of the diamond-rich Central African Republic, Faustin-Archange Touadera, has taken an initial lead in early results from the presidential election vote count which is now in its fifth day. Touadera, who headed the government from 2008 to 2013, is ahead in the CAR’s three biggest cities, according to a Bloomberg tally from Sunday’s vote results announced by the electoral commission. Results from several cities in the north of the country are yet to be announced, and it’s not clear when the commission will publish the final results.
The UAE is also making efforts to have Partnership Africa Canada rejoin the process after civil society groups withdrew from the KP in protest at the UAE's election as 2016 Chair, Dubai Diamond Exchange Chairman Peter Meeus tells IDEX Online. "Their non-participation in the Kimberley Process in 2016 under UAE’s chairmanship is a source of deep regret. We have now reached the point where the World Diamond Council (WDC) has agreed to mediate the matter between the two sides.
Kimberley Process Chair Ahmed Bin Sulayem has warned of the ongoing difficulties facing the global diamond industry and expressed the UAE's commitment to act responsibly to overcome challenges. “2016 will be a challenging year for our industry with continuing oversupply, low commodity prices and tightening liquidity," said Bin Sulayem. "The social impact of these combining factors is likely to be severe and felt across large parts of the world's diamond producing regions.”
After nearly three years of a state of lawlessness in the diamond-rich Central African Republic, voters went to the polls on Wednesday to vote in presidential and legislative elections that had been postponed from Sunday. The elections were delayed because ballots hadn’t been distributed, following two earlier deadlines this year to hold the votes. Sectarian conflict has torn the Central African Republic apart, with the country mired in violence since a 2013 coup that toppled then-President Francois Bozize and enabled armed groups to seize control of the countryside.
The World Diamond Council (WDC) has issued a press release following the Kimberley Process (KP) Plenary Meeting held in Luanda, Angola last week, reasserting the importance of the tripartite foundation of the KP and reiterating that no conflict diamonds should, under any circumstances, enter the legitimate diamond trade.
In a recently released report the International Monetary Fund (IMF) details the request by Central African Republic authorities for additional IMF funds under the Rapid Credit Facility (RCF). In addition to various policy recommendations, the report mentions (Box 2, page 9) the CAR government is looking at measures to enable the local diamond industry to benefit the economy.
In a press release, Sodiam C.A.R. - a diamond buying company registered in the Central African Republic - has responded to Amnesty International's report of September 29, "Chains of Abuse", which uses CAR as a case study to examine the diamond supply chain. The report includes criticisms of Sodiam C.A.R.'s activities since the suspension of the Kimberley Process in the CAR, alleging that the company failed to ensure that all the diamonds it purchased were acquired from lawful sources, and that there is a "high risk" that they purchased diamonds that have funded armed groups.
World Diamond Council President Edward Asscher has rejected a report by London-based Amnesty International last month that said diamond trafficking was helping to fuel violence in the Central African Republic. The Kimberley Process has removed “more than 99 percent” of so-called conflict diamonds from the market, Asscher said in an interview with Bloomberg Business. "The diamond council [WDC] gladly re-invites Amnesty to participate and join us and the civil society coalition looking into aspects of CAR and the whole Kimberley Process," he said.
Despite a visit by an Amnesty International team to the Antwerp World Diamond Centre (AWDC), including the Antwerp Diamond Office which supervises all imports and exports of diamonds to and from Antwerp, and was able to witness how the strict controls on imports of rough are conducted in Antwerp, the AWDC said it "cannot but conclude the report contains factual errors in this regard." The report ignores the fact the Antwerp Diamond Office implements a 100% strict control mechanism for each import or export of diamonds, which led to the interception and seizure of two shipments, containing r
KP Chair Bernardo Campos said that Angola managed to put an end to the ban on of the diamonds from Central Africa Republic, settled the KP vice chair issue between Australia and the United Arab Emirates, and bring Venezuela back into the organization after an absence of six years.
Antwerp World Diamond Centre has issued a newsflash citing clarifying information published by the Kimberley Process (KP), which states that the Central African Republic (CAR) is still under KP suspension, making it illegal to import diamonds from the country. The statement reads, "Because the situation in certain parts of the country has seen considerable progress, it was decided in June 2015 during the KP Intersessional to grant CAR the opportunity to eventually start exporting rough diamonds from certain still to-be-determined areas.
In an open letter responding to the Time Magazine article "Blood Diamonds", the Diamond Empowerment Fund (DEF) says the article, claiming that despite the industry's efforts to ban conflict diamonds the mining industry is still "tainted by conflict and misery", paints in inaccurate picture of the situation in producing countries such as the DRC and CAR.
In a confidential report, a UN Security Council expert panel says conflict diamonds continue to fuel conflict in the Central African Republic, as diamonds from areas that are under direct or indirect control of armed groups, including Amada Gaza region, are smuggled out of the country via neighbouring country Cameroon. The reports cites various cases of diamond trafficking through Cameroon border towns Gbiti, Kenzou and Yaounde.
The United Nations Security Council blacklisted on Thursday 21 August the Belgian branch of Central African Republic's diamond trading company and three people linked to the country's more than three-year-old conflict. The blacklisted diamond trading house is Kardiam, which U.N. sanctions experts say is the Antwerp, Belgium-based operation of the Central African Republic's diamond-trading company Badica. Under UN sanctions, the firm's assets are to be frozen and business with it will be illegal.
Based upon progress made to date by the Central African Republic, KP Participants and Observers reached an understanding that the CAR may commence exports of rough diamonds upon full implementation of an “Operational Framework” and pending completion of the KP Review Mission report. The announcement states that, "The 'Administrative Decision on the Central African Republic [Temporary Suspension]' of May 23, 2013 is amended to allow for resumption of trade in rough diamonds from 'compliant zones' that are to be established under conditions set forth by this AD."
European timber companies have helped fund the war in the Central African Republic through lucrative deals with rebel militia groups accused of war crimes, campaign group Global Witness alleges in a new report. It accuses the EU of failing to stop imports of illegal timber to Europe. Timber companies from France, Lebanon and China paid more than $4m (£2.5m) to rebels in 2013 alone, mainly for protection services, the report says.
Yelena Levina writes at Rough&Polished that despite having KP sanctions lifted, diamonds from Zimbabwe, Angola and now possibly rough exports from the Central African Republic carry "reputational risks" that leads to them being available at heavily discounted prices - up to 50% - and suggests that this could be a contributing factor to the current stagnation of polished diamonds prices. "By and large, diamond cutters in Surat cannot be blamed for their willingness to support their own business. The problem rather lies in the lack of regulation.
The Kimberley Process Certification Scheme (KPCS) has developed a work plan to resume rough diamond exports from the Central African Republic (CAR), which would partially end the sanctions of the country’s diamond production. Bernado Campos, Angola’s chairman of the KP, explained that KP participants and observers reached an understanding that CAR may commence exporting rough diamonds upon full implementation of a proposed operational framework and pending completion of a proposed KP review mission to the country.
Radio France International reports that at the intersessional meeting of the Kimberley Process in Luanda, the organization that regulates the diamond trade, the decision was made on Friday 26 to partially lift the embargo on the Central African Republic for two years. The diamonds mined in the "green zone", that is to say in the west of the country, will be exported and the Central African Republic will be able to receive the tax revenue.
The Central African Republic (CAR) says it will engage the African Union chair President Robert Mugabe to seek solutions following strong objections to its Kimberley Process Certification Scheme (KPCS) registration bid by civil society at the ongoing intercessional meeting in Luanda, Angola. Civil society says that diamond revenue can be used to finance civil conflict in CAR. Kazungui maintains that civil society is pushing a western agenda and wants to avoid greater African participation in formulating decisions that inform diamond trade.
During the KP Intersessional in Luanda, Angola, KP Chair Bernardo Campos gave an overview of the first six months of the Angolan KP Chairmanship, in particular the projects providing technical assistance extended to Central Africa Republic, the leading role in the retrieval of the exports of diamonds from Cote d'Ivoire, as well as the clarification of some matters concerning Venzuela. Campos expressed the KPCS's hope that work can continue to enable the Central Africa Republic to resume its exports of diamond the earliest and Venezuela to overcome its self-suspension.
Rough diamond are the biggest source of export revenue for the Central African Republic (CAR) even though it has been suspended from the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme since May 2013, says the Enough Project, which placed a value of $39 million for its diamond trade in 2014 and almost $13 million for the January-April of this year.
In a special report, Agence France Press tells the story of artisan diamond diggers at a mining site near Boda in the south of the strife-torn Central African Republic. Despite the Kimberley Process ban, the illegal trade in diamonds, channelled through neighbouring Cameroon, Chad, DR Congo and Sudan, is thriving. French and UN peacekeeping troops have tried to wrest control of the mines from the armed groups so the legal trade in diamonds can restart, vital to putting the shattered economy back on its feet.