Association of African Diamond Producing Countries officially launched in Luanda

6 November 2006

Luanda, Angola, 06 Nov – The African Diamond Producing Countries Association (ADPA) was officially set up Saturday at a ceremony held in Luanda involving 19 countries, 12 of which are full members of the organization, which represents around 75 percent of world diamond production.

The Luanda Declaration states that the creation of this association is the result of a “need for concerted policy on a variety of issues related to diamond resources,” from prospecting to trading, as well as mining and cutting.

The declaration also says that the association, “may be a privileged platform, capable of bringing together and harmonizing policies, with the aim of better defending common strategic interests in terms of defining the main world policies for the sector.”

The APDA’s full members are Angola, South Africa, Algeria, Botswana, Ghana, Ghana, Guinea Conakry, Namibia, the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Sierra Leone, Tanzania, Togo and Zimbabwe and the following countries were granted observer status: Algeria, the Republic of Congo, the Ivory Coast, Gabon, Liberia, Mali and Mauritania.

The observers are African countries with potential diamond resources that may become diamond producers, as well as African countries that already produce diamonds, but are as yet not compliant with the requirements of the Kimberley Process which regulates diamond certification on the world stage.

Angola will head the provisional Executive Secretariat of the ADPA, which is the permanent organ responsible for coordinating and implementing the policies and strategies adopted by the association’s Council of Ministers.

Angola, which led the process of creating the organization, will also head the Council of Ministers, whose presidency will be held on a rotational basis by the various member states.

Meanwhile, in a statement issued last week in Johannesburg, the De Beers group said the world should have a “zero tolerance,” attitude to illegal diamond trading, particularly to diamonds originating from war zones.

The world diamond giant warned sellers and buyers of the need to strictly respect the Kimberley Process, adopted by over 70 signatories and the United Nations (UN), keeping constantly alert to those who attempt to traffick the gemstones outside of the legal boundaries.

Referring to the meeting of the signatories of the Kimberley Process, due to take place in Gaborone, the capital of Botswana this week, the president of De Beers, Nicky Oppenheimer, called on governments to be more pro-active in complying with the rules and regulations controlling diamond trading.

Oppenheimer also asked governments to work together with the industry and non-governmental organizations in order to “eradicate the last traces of diamond trafficking.” (macauhub)