A Precious Gift of Nature
Diamonds make the world a better place – the example of Africa
Next to consumer awareness of conflict diamonds and the solution to the issue, the Kimberley Process, people tend to forget about the positive effects of diamonds on local communities and diamond exporting countries in general: The demand for nature´s most precious gift creates jobs and supports education and by doing so empowers the poor.
Here is what African leaders think:
„The diamond industry is vital to the southern African economy.“ (1999)
Nelson Mandela, first black president of South Africa„We know that diamonds are a valued source of employment, foreign exchange, tax revenue, new investments and play a positive role in enhancing the overall economic well-being of countries and local communities.“ (2004)
Thabo Mbeki, South African president from 1999 to 2008“For our people every diamond purchase represents food on the table, better living conditions, better healthcare, safe drinking water, more roads to connect our remote communities and much more.“ (2006)
Festus Mogae, President of Botswana from 1998 to 2008
Here are the facts:
- More than half (52% in terms of carat weight and 58% in terms of value) of all diamonds produced in 2014 came from Africa..
- About $ 8.5 billion worth of diamonds a year come from Africa.
- Diamond revenues enable every child in Botswana to receive free education up to the age of 13.
- The revenues of diamonds are important in the fight against HIV/AIDS.
- Revenues from diamonds help fund the construction of hospitals and medical centers ensuring that more than 5 million people have access to appropriate healthcare globally.
- In Botswana diamonds account for more than 70% of all exports. The mineral industry provides about 40% of all government revenues, diamonds worth a total of $3.65 billion were produced in 2014.
- In Namibia diamonds account for about 45% of the country´s export revenue. In 2012 the mining industry contributed a total of 11.8% to the Namibia´s GDP which makes it the most important economic sector in the country. What´s really interesting about Namibia is the high quality of diamonds found: 98% are of jewelry quality and the average carat price in 2014 was $ 600. In comparison: Canadian diamonds yielded $ 166, Russian diamonds about $ 97 and Australian diamonds about $ 32 per carat. The finest diamonds are found in Namibia.
- South Africa produces about $ 1.2 billion worth of diamonds a year (2014). The impact of mining operations including diamonds on a country can be enormous. South Africa´s so called Mineral Revolution is a terms used by historians to describe the rapid economic transition of the country from an agrarian state to an industrial nation due to its rich mineral resources. The famous De Beers Fund provides support to a variety of community-based projects in South Africa. Millions were and are spend to fund educational initiatives, tourism development as well as crime and malaria prevention programs. Another interesting fact: Many diamond mines are also tourist sights and attract many visitors from all around the world which again creates more job opportunities for the local communities.
- Many different projects exist to protect the environment: Williamson diamond mine has planted over 80.000 trees in a reforestation project, “Food and Trees for Africa” has been planting fruit trees and engages in other support activities. Surrounding schools and communites directly benefit from the Williamson diamond mine: The Upendo Nursery School receives free electricity and water. Also, there are projects to establish new technolgies like biogas plants. Other initiatives by Petra Diamonds help the local work force with education to ensure employment by offering carpentry training. Last but not least the wildlife benefits from the vast nature reserves at the Cullinan mine.
- Empowerment: Many African states partner with diamond companies or diamond producers. Debswana Diamond Company Ltd. is a company operating four diamond mines and is owned 50% by De Beers and 50% by the government of Botswana. More so, Botswana holds a 15% stake in the entire De Beers Group of companies. In Namibia De Beers has a 50-50 joint venture with the Namibian government which is called Namdeb. In South Africa De Beers operations are owned to 26% by the black economic empowerment partner Ponahalo Investments. In Angola diamond mines Catoca, Fucauma and Luarica are owned by the state mining company Endiama with shares of 32.8%, 40% and 38%, respectively. International companies as well as the local communities have realized that it is in everybody´s interest to work together and act in concert for a better future.
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