Diamonds to add more lustre to India-Africa tiesMarch 23rd, 2009 - 9:47 pm ICT by IANS
New Delhi, March 23 (IANS) In a step that is set to add extra shine to bilateral ties and help the African diamond industry move up the value chain, India is planning to set up diamond cutting and polishing institutes to train Africans.
“As part of our philosophy of sharing our knowledge with others, and in pursuance of our policy to increase capacity building in Africa, my government has favorably considered the request of some African countries to set up diamond cutting and polishing institutes for training of their personnel in cutting and polishing skills,” External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee said here Monday.
Mukherjee was speaking at the India-Africa Project Conclave, organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry and EXIM Bank. Around 450 Africans, including businessmen, ministers and officials, as well as 300 Indians are participating in the conclave that aims at expanding business ties between India and Africa.
India is the world’s largest importer of rough diamonds and exporter of cut and polished diamonds, accounting for over 90 percent of the international market. India sources most of its raw diamonds from Africa.
The setting up of training institutes is part of India’s broader commitment to African countries to help them move up the value chain.
India has also offered its expertise in mining technologies to African diamond producing countries like Angola, Botswana, Namibia, South Africa and Congo.
India and Namibia are already discussing setting up a training facility to polish and cut diamonds - a step that could lead to direct imports of diamonds from Africa to India, cutting out middlemen along the way.
Most of the diamond trade in Africa is controlled by giant Western multinationals. India sees the Africanisation of the diamond processing industry not as a threat, but an opportunity.
India is one of the founder members of the Kimberley Certification Process Scheme (KPCS), a UN-sponsored international certification scheme that regulates trade in rough diamonds by preventing the flow of conflict diamonds.
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