CRRAE UEMOA, Abidjan, Ivory Coast
It is with great pleasure that I join the ceremony this morning, which is the conclusion of a process that began July 21 with the launch PRADD II.
I would like to take this opportunity to express to the Minister of Industry and Mines our gratitude for his involvement in the conduct and success of the event.
The PRADD II project, as you know, is the result of cooperation between Côte d’Ivoire and its partners – the United States and the European Union.
As part of this cooperation, the Gemological Institute of America has decided to support the PRADDA II program by training government agents and others in the assessment of rough diamonds. As a result, students from the Department of Customs, the SODEMI and cooperatives in the diamond sector have been trained on diamond grading, sorting, and valuation principles of rough diamonds.
With this training, Côte d’Ivoire is complying with a key commitment of its transition strategy to implement the Kimberley Process. So I would like to congratulate the Ivorian Government, the GIA, the PRDDA II project and the participants for making this training a success.
The valuation of rough diamonds is not a simple exercise. When a person wants to buy a diamond, they are faced with the reality that it is not only size that matters, but many other factors come into play including the famous 4C that the Gemological Institute of American invented: color, clarity, cut and carat.
However, the issue is much more important for Côte d’Ivoire and for mining producers and consumers. Indeed, by having experts with better evaluation knowledge of rough diamonds, the government of Côte d’Ivoire and artisanal miners have the opportunity to increase revenue from diamond mining. Thus, for artisan mining, this knowledge can be the difference between a piece of bread and a new home. For the government of Côte d’Ivoire, this knowledge can be translated into additional cents in tax revenue or millions to build roads and schools. This knowledge is also essential for the Kimberley Process, because assessing the correct value of a stone allows traceability and helps in the fight against manipulation of the value for money laundering used by transnational criminals.
They say in jewelry promotion commercials that a diamond is forever. For those who dig and trade diamonds, it is not that the diamonds are forever, but rather the knowledge, provided it is shared and used.
Ladies and gentlemen students, you now have the foundation of this important knowledge, and join other Ivorian experts who can and should share and explore these techniques to the well-being of your country. I encourage you to use this new knowledge to the development of mining communities and the development of Côte d’Ivoire.