After 11 years of UN sanctions, Ivory Coast will resume diamond trade as political calm has returned to the country. The resumption will be facilitated by Belgium’s FPS Foreign Affairs and the Antwerp World Diamond Centre as they have trained three Ivorian officials to become diamond experts for eight weeks and to set up a monitoring system that would enable the country adhere to the strict conditions of the Kimberley Process and how to ensure adherence to them in everyday practice.
“In 2003, the UN imposed sanctions on Ivory Coast, forcing the country to stop trading diamonds,” says the spokeswoman for the AWDC, Margaux Donckier. “The sanctions were put in place because the risk of conflict diamonds entering the regular circuit would have been too great otherwise.”
Belgium is one of the driving forces behind the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme.
Experts believe Ivory Coast has the potential to produce 150 to 200,000 carats of rough diamonds annually in coming years worth $25 million. Ivory Coast will launch its new control panel on 1 January. The UN will follow developments closely and will publish an assessment report every six months.