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Zim international diamond forum called off

05 july 2012

The Zimbabwe International Diamond Forum, which was set to take place in Harare next week, has been called off.
Country Factor, which was organising the event said in a statement emailed to Rough & Polished that Zimbabwe’s Ministry of Mines and Development had decided that the event be postponed to a future date.
No reason(s) for the cancellation was given.
“We apologise wholeheartedly for the postponement of the event and for any inconvenience caused as a result of this…,” the organizer said.
The event was initially penciled for Victoria Falls’ Ellephant Hills Hotel before it was moved to Harare’s Meikles Hotel late last month.
No reason for this change of venue was given, but it served as a precursor of the challenges the event was facing.
Had it gone ahead as planned, the forum was set to be the first ever international diamond forum for Zimbabwe.
The southern African nation, which is home to Marange diamond fields, was the world’s 7th top producer of diamonds by volume in 2010, according to the Kimberley Process’ statistics.
However, diamonds from Marange remained dogged by allegations of human rights abuses and diversion of proceeds to fund the political machine of President Robert Mugabe’s party.
Mugabe’s party denied these claims, saying the West was jealous of its newly found diamond fields, which were set to undo the economic sanctions imposed on the country a decade ago.
The Kimberley ‎Process was unable to ensure that controversial rough diamonds finding their way into the market were not involved in human rights ‎abuses, as its current definition of conflict diamonds was limited to war zones.
Some analysts said that the fact that industry leaders from the World ‎Diamond Council (WDC) were set to attend the Zimbabwean event did little to alleviate concerns over Marange diamonds.

Mathew Nyaungwa, Editor in Chief of the African Bureau, Rough&Polished