Diamonds are Mugabe’s best friend

Published on 25 June 2009 at 14:31

Six years after having begun the Kimberley process, an international initiative destined to prevent funding of wars in Africa by means of the diamond trade, The Independent is sounding alarm bells. Quoting Ian Smillie, the Canadian behind the process, the London daily reports that Kimberley control mechanisms “no longer works” and that diamond trafficking is “flourishing in Ivory Coast, Guinea, Venezuela and Lebanon”. Robert Mugabe’s Zimbabwe is the most cause for concern, where “hundreds of diamond miners were massacred by the army as the government effectively militarised a key mining area late last year.” While experts estimate that blood diamonds account for “a fraction of one per cent of the international trade in diamonds, compared to estimates of up to 15% in the 1990s”, there are fears that impending “collapse” of the government and industry “safety net” threatens this breakthrough.

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