The Sunday News
Leonard Ncube, Victoria Falls Reporter
ZIMBABWE has officially handed over the chairmanship of the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme (KPCS) to United Arab Emirates (UAE) after a successful year at the apex of the world diamond body.
Zimbabwe assumed chairmanship in 2022 taking over from Africa’s biggest diamond producer, Botswana and was deputised by UAE. Zimbabwe’s former Minister of Mines and Mining Development Winston Chitando who chaired the KP plenary session which ran from Sunday and ended yesterday morning in Victoria Falls, officially handed over the chairmanship to his deputy at KP, Mr Ahmed Bin Sulayem who will be chair for the next one year.
The handover was done at the close of the weeklong meeting although the delegates failed to come up with conclusive resolutions after debating for the whole night. As a result, UAE’s deputy was not announced as a decision is yet to be made on the issue and other areas that are still sticking and will be discussed in a virtual meeting to be decided on. The proposal was for Belarus to be deputy but no final decision was made.
“At this stage let me adjourn the meeting but what is important is that we have a statement of proceedings and we will consult with relevant chairs of working groups and proceed. Let me formally hand over the chairmanship to UAE,” said Minister Chitando as the meeting ended at 5am.
Minister Chitando has since been moved to the Local Government and Public Works Ministry while the new Mines Minister Zhemu Soda also attended the meeting which was officially opened by Vice President Kembo Mohadi on Wednesday with more than 400 delegates from 59 KP member states attending. In an interview, Mr Sulayem said Dubai was bringing a lot of experience as a rising diamond giant.
“I accepted the invitation to take on the responsibility a year ago. I was KP chair in 2016 so I come with some experience. Firstly, I would like to congratulate Zimbabwe for steadfast leadership and for allowing us to hold both KP meetings in Victoria Falls.
Vice President Kembo Mohadi“What’s exciting about next year is that both meetings will be at the new hub of diamond world with the leading rough diamonds centre and soon to capture the polished diamonds. Dubai has an advantage to the market and so there are a lot of opportunities there to learn best practices. Most importantly we have the infrastructure and UAE is going to be hosting the COP28 meetings so I am excited about it and am looking forward to address some of the challenges we are facing today and open opportunities for those challenges,” said Mr Sulayem.
He said among his key result areas would be to address challenges some of which have affected member states for too long. He said he would make sure KP gets new members while also making sure priorities were addressed.
Also in attendance were observers including African Diamonds Producers Association, World Diamonds Council, civil society and traditional leaders.
Established in 2003, following the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1459, the KPCS regulates trade in rough diamonds to increase transparency and eliminate trade in conflict diamonds. The KPCS is open to all countries that are willing and able to implement its requirements.