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An African Look At Blood Diamonds!!!

The Film Blood Diamonds Featuring Leonardo DiCaprio highlighted one of the downsides of the Diamond trade.

Blood Diamonds are basically diamonds that are used to Fund Conflicts & wars.

These diamonds mainly come from African Countries like the DRC, Sierra Leone and Mali. The Rebel groups opposed to the Governments in the Diamond producing countries use this precious resource to buy weapons, food and medicine to further their cause.

The Kimberley Process which is a certification process was set implemented in November of 2003 to curb the trade in illicit Diamonds. It was set up by players in the Diamond industry and NGOs' who lobbied for Diamond producing countries to join it.

Has the process worked thus far, mostly yes!! There is still a flourishing Industry in Blood Diamonds with Countries like Sierra Leone reporting up to 20% of their Diamonds are smuggled out of their country. Diamonds are small & have extremely high value making it easier for Greedy dealers to use gaps in the system & abuse it.

The main issue has been that the industry has been unable to police itself very effectively. In Africa, there are issues of Corruption & coercion between dealers and government officials that aid in smuggling.

Now this is where I introduce a new train of thought!!!

Diamonds like Gold & platinum are not only a natural resource but commodities as well. This is despite the fact that they are not openly traded on an Exchange e.g. the London Metal Exchange (LME)in the case of Gold & Platinum.

The small scale miners in the Diamond producing countries rely on these Diamonds as an essential source of income.

These same countries can NOT stop them from mining as the miners could even own the land the Diamonds are on. In fact, most countries encourage the mining as a means of creating wealth among the masses.

Problem is, most of the African Diamond producing countries don't have the Resource & some the Will to regulate these small scale miners.

These miners are not very worried about who buys their stones. As it is, they get ripped of during the sale as they normally don't have a good idea about the world markets. So unscrupulous diamond traders buy from them & smuggle them out.

Whom do you put the blame on?

I personally think it's unfair to punish the small miner as he is trying to make a living & as much as you'd blame the dealers, they are in the Diamond business to make money. Just as there are muggers in the streets who will take your money without pity, there are business people who have no ethics!!

The solution?

From my point of view, I propose that the Diamond producing countries with help from the International Diamond Council should add the "small" people to the Diamond Pipeline & make sure they get fair prices for their stones....sort of like what the Fresh produce industry did with Fair-Trade.

This will seal off quite a few of the holes in the Conflict Diamond industry.

Submitted by:

Anthony Chege

I love Diamonds!! Yes, in as much as there is so much controversy surrounding them, they are Gods gifts to us. Its our responsibility to make sure we all benefit from them. At http://www.diamond-rings-info.com/; i try to de-mystify and simplify Diamonds & Diamond Rings so that everyone can own one!!


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