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removal of targeted sanctions on ZMDC meaningless
Tererai Karimakwenda, SW Radio Africa
October 01, 2013
by the EU late last month to remove all targeted sanctions that
were still in place against the Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation
(ZMDC), is not likely to change much in terms of the way the country’s
diamonds are traded and accounted for, an economic expert has told
SW Radio Africa.
As of September
25th, cheaper rough diamonds from Zimbabwe will be allowed into
EU member countries, following the ZMDC’s removal from the
list of companies that were included when restrictive measures were
put in place against Robert Mugabe and his close allies in 2002.
to economist John Robertson, the move will not mean much in terms
of the transparency and accountability that Zimbabwean human rights
activists and ordinary citizens have been demanding. This is because
the Chinese appear to have a hold on them in deals already made
with the Mugabe regime.
so far appear to have mostly gone to China but it’s impossible
to know just what proportion has gone there and what proportion
of the gem quality stones have ended up in the Chinese market. And
it is very unlikely that the Chinese would want to now relinquish
them to any other country,” Robertson said.
He said the
delisting of the ZMDC might mean that some European countries can
now place direct orders with Mbada diamonds or any of the other
diamond mining companies, but there is no way of knowing whether
they will still have to go through Chinese connections to have their
Robertson, Zimbabwe’s diamond companies have not been properly
incorporated in a way that makes where they are and how they function
open to scrutiny, audits, taxation or bookkeeping regulations.
had predicted that lifting the restrictive measures will mean cheap
rough diamonds from Zimbabwe would now flood markets in countries
like India, which boasts the world’s largest diamond cutting
and polishing centre in Surat. This is turn would translate to a
One report quoted
Dinesh Navadia, president of the Surat Diamond Association, as saying:
“The big diamond mining companies would be compelled to reduce
their rough diamond prices as the cheap Zimbabwe goods have officially
entered the market.”
was not as optimistic. He said: “I could see no reason why
this change would make any difference whatever to the way in which
the diamonds are mined and exported. I think the people who are
receiving these diamonds currently are going to be very unwilling
to see a change that would be to the benefit of European or Indian
The EU imposed
restrictive measures against the ZMDC in 2002, following reports
that implicated the company in diverting diamond revenue to prop-up
the Mugabe regime and its human rights abuses and oppressive policies.
simply consisted of a travel ban and an assets freeze which have
now been lifted, but have been used as propaganda by Zanu-PF, who
have blamed them for all of Zimbabwe’s economic, political
and even environmental problems.
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