President Bio wants diamonds to be cut and polished in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone Telegraph: 6 November 2018:

President Julius Maada Bio yesterday visited the Antwerp World Diamond Centre (AWDC) in Belgium, where he called for diamonds to be cut and polished in Sierra Leone.

Addressing board members and management of AWDC, diamond traders, miners, bankers and the Press, President Bio said that Sierra Leone is a major exporter of diamonds, but more focus should now be placed on value addition to diamonds in Sierra Leone.

President Bio said his new government wants a different relationship with Antwerp World Diamond Centre to support Sierra Leone with the infrastructure that will increase the value of diamonds in Sierra Leone before export.

He also said that Sierra Leone is a major exporter of diamonds but not many people in Sierra Leone have even seen a diamond.

He invited diamond companies, miners and traders to in invest in Sierra Leone, but stressed on the need for transparent and credible investment.

President Bio also said that while he recognises the strategic importance of diamonds, his new administration would like to use the revenue generated from diamonds export to invest in human capital development in the country.

He told the audience that his new administration has prioritized investment in human capital through the provision of free quality education.

Welcoming President Bio to the Antwerp World Diamond Centre, the Chief Executive Officer – Mr. Ari Epstein, said that President Bio’s visit demonstrated confidence in the AWDC.

He added that Antwerp has great expertise to support president Bio’s government. He also praised President Bio’s impressive leadership, stating: “With your commitment, it is necessary to have ethical sourcing”.

President Bio’s call for diamonds to be cut and polished in Sierra Leone is expected to create jobs and train Sierra Leoneans on the use of cutting-edge technology in diamond production.

President Bio is arguably the first Sierra Leonean to be elected as President of the country, who is a trained diamond valuator. He studied diamond valuation in South Africa.

President Bio was taken on a conducted tour of the Antwerp World Diamond Centre by the Chief Executive Officer to see cutting laboratories, as well as the process for polishing, grading and valuation of diamonds.

President Bio also visited two companies dealing in diamonds in Antwerp – Bonas and Diamcad.

9 Comments

  1. Dee, it is a good idea but he has to invest in Human Resources development by send Sierra Leoneans to go to acquire necessary skill set.

    Indians are the first people who started the art of diamond cutting. Half of the students of any class at the gemological institute of America, the premier global jeweller training school, are Indians.

    To introduce Sierra Leoneans to this business they must be trained as goldsmiths, diamond valuers and graders, and precious stone cutters.

    When Pa kabbah was the president he was always complaining of local journalists not being ethical. The few trained journalists in Freetown then were Nigerians. To change this situation Pa kabbah helped start a school of journalism at Fourah Bay College with the help of Nigerian government.

  2. I think it’s OK for the current government to look into the possibility of Sierra Leone getting into the diamond cutting and polishing business. Unfortunately, it is a truly demanding project for the policy makers at this time in Sierra Leone. They should, at the earliest possibility, talk to Botswana about their country’s governance system and experience in this area.

    The Sierra Leone government will, hopefully, be thinking of leaving the business to the private sector and simply trying to create the necessary environment for that private sector to succeed. Talking to Botswana will also help the Sierra Leone government to understand the fundamental problems that some other countries have faced in this area, namely, ‘high production costs’, ‘shortage of skilled workers’ the ‘need for credit facilities for the industry’ and the ‘need to address the challenge of synthetic diamonds’ in the modern day and age. The economic policy makers in Sierra Leone should have an interesting challenge.

  3. Did you really say demand? That is junta statements. Who is he to order businesses to do his biding? Be respectful to the business community or they will not respect you in return. Be very economical with the language my friend. Do you know how much it takes and cost to build the most basic of such institutions / laboratory infrastructure in Sierra Leone? Go and do your research and tailor your grammar in a more subtle manner.

    • Now you are acting like the president that is expected of you Mr president . This is a very good move. We should not be a country depending on aid but a major player in partnering with global developments. We have what it takes to be great again. We should make others follow.

    • Mr. P. Kamara, the elections are over and should in case you have nothing to contribute to this subject then try to be polite. We can not continue to be in the state of everlasting hate and pessimism regarding everything coming from our political opponents.

      Read the contribution of Dr. Johnson to this subject, which is of great help. I agree with Dr. Johnson for our government to also consult with other african countries having such an industry. Try to put Salone Fos and not our own personal ego, Sierra Leone needs each and everyone of us. Have a nice day!

    • Papanii, please let’s cool down the overheated rhetoric. And speaking of grammar, you also need to work on foundational concepts: consider correcting “ That is junta statements”; “ Who is he to order businesses to do his bid(d)ing?”; “Be ‘economical’ with your language my friend”—whatever that means.

      Thanks plenty Dr. Johnson for contributing meaningfully to this discourse. I share your perspective that the government needs to discuss the matter with Botswana; that for this effort to succeed, it might be preferable for the private sector to take leadership in that space.

  4. If this particular initiative program succeeds, it can improve the quality of lives of Sierra Leoneans at home and abroad.

    For the past several years our resources are going out of the country without it benefitting our people.

    Sierra Leone is one of the major diamond exporting countries in West Africa. But after 10 years of APC government misrule and mismanagement and corrupt practices, Sierra Leoneans have had no benefit from their natural resources.

    I think it is time Sierra Leone rises again and that we all benefit. Thanks.

    • Really, it won’t have any significant impact on anyone’s life. Most diamonds today are machine cut. This is another example when politicians says rubbish because of their ignorance of the subject matter.

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