Home » G7’s Diamond Crackdown on Russia Could Backfire on Africa

G7’s Diamond Crackdown on Russia Could Backfire on Africa

African diamond producers oppose the G7 proposal to restrict the trade of Russian diamonds, saying it would violate the Kimberley Process and hurt their economy.

by Motoni Olodun

The G7 nations have agreed to implement a new mechanism to track and trace Russian diamonds in order to prevent them from entering the global market and funding the war in Ukraine. However, this plan has been met with strong opposition from the African Diamond Producers Association (ADPA), which represents 19 countries that account for 60% of the world’s diamond output.

The ADPA argues that the G7 proposal would harm the African diamond industry, which relies on exports to generate income and development. The association claims that the plan would create supply chain disruptions, increase costs and bureaucracy, and favour the Antwerp diamond hub, which would act as a “gatekeeper” for verifying the origin of diamonds.

The ADPA also accuses the G7 of excluding African countries from the discussions and imposing unilateral measures that violate the Kimberley Process (KP), an international certification scheme that aims to eliminate trade in conflict diamonds. The KP, which was established in 2003 with the support of the United Nations, unites 85 countries, including Russia and all the G7 members, as well as civil society and industry groups.

The KP defines conflict diamonds as “rough diamonds used to finance wars against governments” and requires that every diamond export be accompanied by a KP certificate that guarantees its conflict-free status. The ADPA says that the KP is the only legitimate and effective framework for regulating the diamond trade and ensuring its contribution to peace and development.

The G7, however, contends that the KP is insufficient and outdated, as it does not address other human rights and environmental issues related to diamond mining, such as labour exploitation, corruption, smuggling, and ecological damage. The G7 also claims that Russia has been circumventing the KP sanctions by laundering its diamonds through third countries and selling them as polished stones, which are not covered by the KP.

The G7 proposal, which is expected to be formally adopted at the upcoming summit in Hiroshima, Japan, would introduce a special tracking system that would include physical checks of packages containing diamonds and compulsory traceability data for diamond producers and traders. The proposal would also ban direct imports of rough diamonds from Russia and restrict indirect imports of Russian-origin diamonds.

The G7 hopes that this plan will cut off the revenue stream that fuels Russia’s aggression in Ukraine, where more than 13,000 people have been killed since 2014. The G7 also aims to promote ethical and sustainable practices in the diamond industry, which has been plagued by scandals and controversies for decades.

However, the ADPA warns that the G7 plan would have negative consequences for the African diamond sector, which employs millions of people and supports various social and economic programs. The ADPA calls for dialogue and cooperation among all the stakeholders and urges the G7 to respect the sovereignty and interests of the African diamond-producing countries.

The ADPA also appeals to the international community to support the development and diversification of the African diamond industry, which has the potential to create more value and benefits for the continent. The ADPA says that Africa has the largest diamond reserves in the world and that its diamonds are of high quality and suitable for jewellery.

The ADPA expresses its commitment to the KP and its principles and reaffirms its determination to combat the trade in conflict diamonds and to promote peace and security in Africa and beyond.

Source: Big News Network

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