In a statement issued following its intersessional meeting in Antwerp, Belgium, the Kimberley Process (KP) welcomed the “progress” made by the diamond industry in the Central African Republic (CAR), the one country whose diamonds are currently banned for export by the certification scheme.
As a result, the Kimberley Process monitoring team for the Central African Republic has now agreed to a one-week clearance deadline for the supervised export of rough diamonds. The deadline was originally two weeks.
Illicit diamond sales have long been blamed for helping to fuel the ongoing unrest in the Central African Republic. In 2013, the Kimberley Process banned all diamond sales from the country. That ban remains largely in effect.
KP participants have since decided that allowing for monitored sales from government-controlled areas will help improve the stability of the country and alleviate the burden on the locals who depend on diamond sales for their livelihood.
In June 2016, the Kimberley Process agreed to allow monitored exports from Berbérati, a major diamond-producing area and CAR’s third largest city. Three months later, three more areas were deemed “compliant zones.”
Leopold Mboli Fatran, CAR minister of mines and geology, said in a statement that he was “very satisfied” with the meeting’s outcome.
“The discussions were fruitful and so were the solutions agreed upon,” he added, stressing that the Central African Republic was at a “deciding stage for reform of its diamond industry.”
Earlier in the month, in preparation for the KP meeting, CAR appointed industry veteran Peter Meeus as special adviser to the president and ministry of mines. Meeus is a founding member of the Kimberley Process and the former head of the KP monitoring team for the Central African Republic. He has also served as president of the Dubai Diamond Exchange as well as director general of the Antwerp World Diamond Centre. He resigned from the Dubai exchange in October 2017.
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