PAC Indicts Angola Diamond Industry

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(Rapaport…June 29, 2005) Partnership Africa Canada’s second Diamond Industry Annual Review of Angola has said the country’s diamond industry is not doing enough to rebuild the country.

The report contains investigations about the role diamonds play in Angola’s social development and correlated it with the investment pattern of the proceeds from a growing diamond industry.

According to the report, Angola is likely to produce diamonds worth close to $900 million in 2005, resulting in much greater government revenue. However, spending on social infrastructure, especially health, education and rural infrastructure, remains low.

The report quotes a prominent diamond dealer who challenged one of the NGOs campaigning against conflict diamonds. ‘All you will achieve,’ he said, ‘is to make it easier for corrupt governments to get a larger share of the diamond wealth. Your campaign will not help poor people at all.’

According to PAC research coordinator Ian Smillie, ‘none of the NGOs that campaigned against conflict diamonds supports a return to the days of secrecy, corruption and mismanagement in the diamond industries of Africa.’

However, the report does note some positive changes in the management of Angola’s diamond resources: a new investment code, new environmental protection laws, and efforts to improve the access of Angolans to diamond mining opportunities.

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