Congo to set up a diamond certification system

Congo’s Vice-Minister for Mines Ambroise MBAKA and the Diamond High Council’s (HRD) Managing Director Peter MEEUS signed an agreement to set up a certification scheme for Congolese diamonds. Together with the restructuring of the internal diamond market it will allow the Government to get more grip on the diamond production.

This week 38 governments, diamond industry representatives, and NGO’s met in Brussels for a meeting of the Kimberley process.

Earlier this month, the new regime in Kinshasa liberated the diamond market in order to maximize tax income for the government, attract foreign currency for the local economy and fight against fraud.

Together with the implementation of a certification scheme, Kinshasa will restructure the internal diamond market and the controls on exports.

The agreement coincides with the closing of the Kimberley process meeting in Brussels on 25, 26, 27 April. The Kimberley-process is a government initiative that must result by the end of the year in a proposal for an international control system for the diamond trade.

”We actively support the Kimberley-process but the industry wants immediate results on the field. Therefore, we assisted last year the governments of Angola and Sierra Leone in setting up a certification scheme. As a result, the official exports of diamonds have increased in a significant way. This indicates the system works and illegal trade has become far more difficult.” MEEUS said.

The certification scheme is similar to the existing systems in Angola and Sierra Leone, containing a certificate of origin, import confirmation to the exporting country, electronic data exchange and digital photo’s of the goods. The United Nations and the World Diamond Council approved this system.

The D.R.C. is one of the most important diamond producing countries. The diamond business is a key industry in the recovery of the Congolese economy.

”Step by step we are closing the net for conflict diamonds,” MEEUS said. ”We hope the decision of the D.R.C. will encourage other diamond producing countries to follow. In the D.R.C. we have the unique opportunity to prove what the diamond industry means for the very large majority of the producing countries: a tool for prosperity.”