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The diamond trade hasn’t exactly enjoyed a great reputation over the past years. Not least thanks to Hollywood movies like Blood Diamond, these gems are inextricably percieved as covered with the blood spilt in civil wars all over Africa.

But diamonds are also a key export of many poor African nations.

Despite some initial progress being achieved by the Kimberly Process certification scheme, diamonds’ persisting bloody reputation isn’t exactly undeserved. Many still find their way into the world market, dominated by De Beers, from appalling sources.

Groups like Amnesty International and One Sky have criticised the certification scheme as lacking impartial, obligatory monitoring. Global Witness, an NGO specialising on the link between natural resource exploitation and violence reported the scheme to be failing to address issues of non-compliance, smuggling, money laundering and human rights: “The clock is running out on Kimberley Process credibility.”

Other problems include that diamonds from conflict-ridden Zimbabwe are still considered legitimate under the Kimberly Process; and the mind boggles as to what real effects membership of countries like the Democratic Republic of Congo may have on the ground. Several civil wars currently rage within the Congo’s boundaries.

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The Book

Governance across borders: transnational fields and transversal themes. Leonhard Dobusch, Philip Mader and Sigrid Quack (eds.), 2013, epubli publishers.
November 2022

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