Dubai- MENA Herald: As part of his Africa Initiative, the UAE Kimberley Process (KP) Chair Ahmed Bin Sulayem, met with the Prime Minister of Namibia, Dr.SaaraKuugongelwa-Amadhila in Windhoek, to discuss Kimberley Process related matters. These talks focused principally on initiatives regarding rough diamond valuation and the countries diversification strategy to foster economic growth through revenues generated from the sale of rough diamonds.
A Kimberley Process member since 2003, Namibia became the Vice-Chair in 2008, taking the KP Chair role in 2009.
In recent years, the country has been creating a business friendly environment along with the strategy of diversification away from a heavy reliance on extraction and processing of minerals for export.
“Natural resources have always been important to Namibia, especially diamonds, as they contribute a significant amount to our GDP. What is important about this is the funding that the diamond industry supplies to help Namibia diversify its economy. We cannot rely on diamonds forever, so this government is looking at ways to optimize benefits from diamonds to improve people’s lives while at the same time building a new economy for the future. Namibia is looking into growing several sectors that will employ people in a range of industries and services.
Regarding the Kimberley Process, we are delighted to have the KP Chair visit us – and we have high anticipation that being part of the KP family will assist Namibia to sustain its efforts to provide economic growth and improved welfare for its people,” said the Prime Minister, Dr SaaraKuugongelwa-Amadhila.
Namibia, with unique alluvial diamond fields has seen small increases in diamond production over the last five years with close to two million carats being exported in 2015. Production costs were initially relatively low, but they are rising as much more of its alluvial activity going offshore with a 60/40 split in favour of underwater extraction.
Mr. Bin Sulayem commented: “Namibia is an active member of the Kimberley Process and is embracing the country’s new business framework to provide more jobs in the mining sector and other parts of the economy. This aligns well with our rough diamond valuation initiative. Across the country, a robust infrastructure is in place, and business opportunities are emerging for the benefit of Namibia. With several airlines opening direct flights to Namibia, including Qatar Airways, I expect to see increased connectivity and trade with GCC and other countries going forward.”
Namibia has been mining diamonds since 1908 and currently its overall mining activity accounts for almost 8% of GDP being a major source of foreign exchange earnings.