Zim vies for diamond body chairmanship

Conrad Mwanawashe Business Reporter
ZIMBABWE is considering submitting a bid for the chairmanship of the Kimberly Process Certification Scheme which is currently held by Angola.

Mines and Minerals Development Minister Walter Chidhakwa said the issue of submitting a bid is being carefully considered. He said Zimbabwe is a proud member of the KPCS and has contributed immensely to the defence of the diamond body.

This qualifies Zimbabwe to vie for the leadership of the body.

“It is a matter that we need to carefully consider. It is not out of line for us to submit a bid. We are full members of the KPCS and a proud member,” said Minister Chidhakwa.

“We have done much more as a KPCS member, if your look at our structures, systems, contributions to the various contributions to the various sub-committees that we have participated in, the teams that we have sent out there to visit other countries in defence of the KPCs. We are fully and well established to put in a bid for the KPCS chairmanship,” he said.

He said there is an understanding in the KPCS that if the chairmanship is held by a diamond producing country then the vice chairmanship should be held by a consumer country.

Zimbabwe will only submit a bid for the leadership of the KPCS if there is no other diamond producing country at the helm.

“We also must look at who is chairing because we are a producer country. If there is a producer then it is improper for us to put a bid. We want to do it at an appropriate time. But definitely before 2018 we will submit a bid,” said Minister Chidhakwa.

Zimbabwe and other diamond producing countries recently repelled attempts by Western countries to discourage trade in Zimbabwean diamonds at the KPCS Intercessional Plenary held in Angola.

Western countries had plotted to sneak in a controversial report which accuses Zimbabwe of money laundering and indirectly funding terrorism by selling local diamonds in the United Arab Emirates.

The controversial report, which was partially discussed at the KPCS in China last year, featured during the Seminar on Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing but flop- ped.

Following the spirited attempts to railroad the KPCS and seize Zimbabwean diamonds at international markets, particularly Antwerp in Belgium, Zimbabwe has successfully conducted diamond auctions locally.

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