Story by Josephine Mugiyo, Diplomatic Correspondent
PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa says the diamond mining and processing sectors should contribute to the sustainable economic growth of African economies.
He was speaking at the African Diamond Producers Association’s eighth Ordinary Council of African ministers in charge of mining portfolios and other key players in the diamond mining industry meeting in Victoria Falls this Thursday.
Discussions at the meeting which was officially opened by President Mnangagwa are focusing on the sustainable mining of diamonds.
President Mnangagwa said expectations are that the diamond mining industry will steer economic growth in Africa.
“It is our expectation that the diamond mining and processing sectors significantly contribute to the sustainable economic growth of our African economies. As the incoming chair of ADPA, Zimbabwe is determined to effectively coordinate and consolidate the work of the secretariat of this important organisation,” said the President.
The President also stressed the importance of Value addition in the diamond sector.
“Increasing the capabilities along the entire diamond value chain should be a key focus area. On your part as diamond-producing countries, you are challenged to prioritise and scale up value addition and beneficiation going into the future.”
As President Mnangagwa emphasised the need to empower the citizens in diamond-producing countries, he highlighted Zimbabwe’s strides in ensuring the sector is bolstered.
“The citizenry within African diamond-producing countries must be empowered and facilitated to play a greater role in the diamond value chain,” he said.
“To date, Zimbabwe is strengthening capabilities in the diamond sector with the recent establishment of a gemology centre. Our people especially the youth and women should not be mere spectators but active participants in aspects of this strategic mining sub-sector.”
He also emphasised the need to push for the growth of the African diamond sector at a time when Zimbabwe is targeting to achieve a US$12 billion mining industry by the end of the year.
“This is the time to push for the growth of the African diamond sector together as one. Let us, therefore, use the contribution of the diamond sub-sector towards the attainment of the aspirations set out in the African Union agenda 2063 and sustainable development goals,” said the President.
ADPA was formed in 2006 to create a framework and forum where member states discuss their common interests, among other issues.