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General News of Tuesday, 21 January 2014

Source: Cameroon Tribune

Beware of Blood Diamond

The temporary suspension of the Central African Republic from the Kimberly process for obvious reasons may have a spill over in Cameroon.

The reason is simple; actors in the sector in the war torn country may resort to clandestine extraction and export to Cameroon in order to use the resources therein to finance the ongoing war in the country. This, of course will out rightly violate the spirit of the Kimberly process; which completely discourages the use of money obtained through the sale of diamond to finance war.

The presence of members of the Kimberly process team in the East Region was quite timely. The fight against using diamond money to sponsor war should not only be at the source but equally at the peripheries. Diamond exploiters as they are called in the Central African Republic will surely find a way of discarding their produce in a bid to acquire arms that are necessary for the war in that country. In effect, the unfortunate event at the Central African Repuiblic can contaminate Cameroonian diamond operators increasing their appetite for more money.

The decision to organise a sensitisation campaign in the area where the mineral is most produced is to say the least praiseworthy. The campaign has one main objective, getting actors to understand the danger of dealing in blood diamond. Even though the war in C.A.R is likely to have ignited the zeal to get diamond producers abreast with the Kimberly process, there was need for this in that, Cameroon is still in its embryonic stage of the process and this can serve as safety valve to penetrate and adulterate its new status.

In order to pre-empt the situation, Kimberly process authorities mobilised staff in purchasing offices, diamond gatherers, and focal points among others. The confab equally served as opportunity for stakeholders to point out two main flaws in the sector. The first one has to do with impostors, many of them bureaucrats who sit in their offices and want to play leading roles in the whole process. The second difficulty concerns the training of artisan exploiters and the exact evaluation of diamond.

That said, the Kimberly process is expected to play an important role in bringing actors in diamond extraction together to work as a team to pre-empt any clandestine dealings in the the sector.