Sierra Leone-Extractive-Diamonds

President Bio wants S/Leone diamonds polished locally

APA-Freetown (Sierra Leone)

Sierra Leone’s President Julius Maada Bio has expressed his desire to see diamonds cut and polished in the country before they are exported.

The West African country is one of the highest producers and exporters of the precious stones, all of which are consumed abroad, mostly in European capitals.

President Bio, who is currently on an official visit to Belgium, visited the Antwerp World Diamond Centre (AWDC) earlier in the week.

He was taken on a conducted tour of the centre and visited various laboratories for cutting, polishing, grading and valuation of diamonds.

President Bio also visited two reputed companies dealing in diamonds in Antwerp – Bonas and Diamcad – according to the statement.

According to a release on Tuesday by the His office, he told board members and management of AWDC, diamond traders, miners, bankers and the press that more focus should now be placed on value addition to diamonds locally.

The president hopes a new relationship with the diamond industry will help the country build its infrastructure to increase the value of its gems before exporting them.

The government also hopes to create more jobs and train Sierra Leoneans using cutting-edge technology in diamond production.

President Bio said that while he recognized the strategic importance of diamonds, his new administration would like to use the resources from the sector to invest in human capital development, stressing his new administration’s prioritization of investment in human capital through the provision of free quality education.

The presidency said Bio is the first Sierra Leonean President who is a trained diamond valuator, having studied diamond valuation in South Africa.

Mr. Ari Epstein, Chief Executive Officer of AWDC, hopes to collaborate with the Bio administration to ensure ethical sourcing of the precious stones.


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