Alweendo issues ADPA clarion call

By Hilary Mare

MINE and Energy Minister, Tom Alweendo has bemoaned the challenges facing the diamond industry urging the Association of the Diamond Producing Countries (ADPA) to drive the beneficiation agenda by developing the diamond downstream industry through exchange of relevant information and expertise.

Addressing delegates at the 6th ordinary meeting of the ADPA Council of Ministers where Namibia assumed chairmanship of the association, Alweendo highlighted that in order to achieve an effective role, ADPA needs to have adequate and appropriate resources, assist member states whose diamond production depends on under developed alluvial artisanal and small-scale sectors to put in place and harmonise appropriate legislations, as well as, replicate best practices among member states.

“The future role of ADPA should aim at driving the beneficiation agenda by developing the diamond downstream industry through exchange of relevant information and expertise in the area of beneficiation and mainstreaming of alluvial artisanal and small-scale miners into the formal economies to mention a few. ADPA has a long journey ahead. It is critical that we all pull together to unlock the potentials we have towards the success of ADPA and its people.

“I therefore call upon ADPA member states to fulfil our obligations so that ADPA can be an institution that brings about change in our economies,” Alweendo said.

Despite Africa’s potential in optimising its benefits from its mineral resources, diamond production and diamond producing countries still face dynamic threats and challenges.

Some of these include; the introduction of synthetic diamonds into the market, which are competing with natural diamonds; increased mechanisation of mining processes that negatively impact employment and consequently the livelihood of mining dependent communities; inadequate management of diamond related revenue; weak regulatory and institutional frameworks in particular law enforcement, lack of sufficient technical capacity; lack of transparency and accountability to combat illicit activities.

In 2006, African diamond producing countries convened in Luanda, Angola having realised that diamond resources are one of the main contributors to their socio-economic development; and recognised the need to establish a forum to harmonise policies and legislations governing diamonds resources among others.

The Luanda meeting resolved to establish a permanent consultative forum to ensure the promotion of strategic interests on the global arena. ADPA was then established in accordance with the Luanda Declaration of 2006 and the ADPA Statute.

Since its establishment, the Ordinary meetings of ADPA’s Council of Ministers have been held under the Chairmanships of the Republic Angola, the Republic of South Africa and the Republic of Guinea, with the Republic of Namibia taking over the Chairmanship for the year 2019.

In June 2018, ADPA concluded a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Antwerp World Diamond Center, which will benefit ADPA member states throughout the entire diamond value chain, by provision of necessary support towards ADPA’s implementation of its strategies and work plan just to mention a few. This MoU is due for adoption and implementation.

ADPA has also formulated the concept document on the ‘Establishment of the Diamond Bourse’ to serve as a centre of rough diamond trading and to assist Alluvial Artisanal and Small Scale miners in getting fair value for their produce, which are currently undervalued.