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Certification of diamonds

Diamond is a key resource for many poor countries where they are extracted. This wealth was coveted to finance horrific wars and arms trafficking. The UN Security Council imposed the sanctions on Sierra Leone and Angola with the obligation to issue a government certification for any sale of precious stones. As these mechanisms failed to stop the illicit sales of diamonds from Liberia and Guinea to Sierra Leone, another initiative led to the so-called Kimberley Process, which was established on 1 January 2003. The objective of this process was to install a single international certification system that would prevent blood diamonds from financing war conflicts. For the industry, a consensus was also needed to maintain the legitimacy of rough diamonds and to ensure the transparency of this type of trade.

In Sierra Leone, an export certificate must be approved by representatives of four ministries (Resources, Finances, GGDO/ Government Gold & Diamond Office and Central Bank) and the information will then be forwarded to the importers. The results of this effort to counter this illicit diamond trade are rather mixed. On the one hand, the “official” diamond production has been improved dramatically since the end of the war, from 26 million of US $  in 2001 to 41.7 million of US $ and 68.5 million in 2003. On the other side, several analyses are pessimistic about the guarantees of the process. It is still not possible to keep track of diamonds from their origin position to their sale in Europe.

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