Wednesday, July 10, 2024

G7 Diamond Tracking System Faces Backlash from African Diamond Producers

Johannesburg, South Africa – [Date] – The Group of Seven (G7) nations’ proposal for a centralized diamond tracking system in Antwerp, Belgium, has sparked outrage and condemnation across African diamond-producing countries.

The proposed system, intended to restrict the flow of Russian diamonds into G7 markets, would require all diamonds, regardless of origin, to be verified in Antwerp. This has drawn sharp criticism from African nations, who currently certify their own diamonds and view the G7 initiative as an infringement on their sovereignty and a threat to their economic well-being.

The African Diamond Producers Association (ADPA) has denounced the proposal, warning of dire economic consequences for the entire diamond supply chain. Botswana’s Minister of Mineral Resources, Lefoko Moagi, expressed concerns about logistical nightmares, processing delays, and increased costs for producer countries.

Zimbabwe’s President Emmerson Mnangagwa has also voiced his disapproval, demanding respect for African autonomy and criticizing the lack of consultation with African nations before proposing such restrictions.

Criticism has also come from industry giants like De Beers, other diamond producers, and the Kimberley Process, the international body responsible for certifying conflict-free diamonds. Additionally, 27 diamond bourses worldwide have expressed concerns about the potential harm the system could inflict on the non-Russian diamond industry.

Despite the widespread backlash, the G7 has yet to publicly respond. However, Antwerp customs and the diamond office have unilaterally begun enforcing restrictions, causing delays and frustration for diamond traders.

In response, the presidents of Angola, Namibia, and Botswana have sent letters to President Biden and other G7 leaders expressing their concerns. This action seems to be gaining traction, with reports suggesting waning support for the single-node system among G7 member nations.

Industry insiders believe that continued pressure from African leaders could result in Africa retaining the right to certify its own diamonds.
This situation highlights the crucial role of African nations in the global diamond industry and their determination to protect their economic interests and sovereignty.

It remains to be seen how the G7 will respond to this mounting pressure and whether they will reconsider their proposed diamond tracking system.

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