6th June, 2018
President João Lourenço of Angola says Angola will soon make changes to how its secretive diamond industry works in order to attract more investment, increase production and secure higher government revenue.
Lourenço made the announcement when he visited Antwerp, Belgium on Wednesday.
Africa’s second-largest crude producer is trying to open up and diversify its economy after suffering a dramatic slowdown, due to lower oil prices.
“We recognise that the policies for this sector, established by us, do not best serve the interests of the country, nor of the producers.
“We will soon announce the new framework for the diamond industry and we believe that with this, the big diamond mining companies will return to Angola,” Lourenço said.
He did not give any detail about the changes or when they would be implemented.
The president, who took over in September, 2017 after 38 years of rule by his predecessor Jose Eduardo dos Santos, said he wants to increase the flow of Angolan diamonds to Antwerp, a global trading centre also known for increased transparency.
Angola is the world’s fifth-largest producer of diamonds but miners have long complained that they are forced to sell their stones below international prices to politically connected middlemen, dragging on profits.
Much of the country remains under-explored, due to 27 years of civil war and a closed, difficult business environment since fighting ended in 2002.
Currently, Russia’s Alrosa is the only major diamond miner producing in Angola.
Angola currently exports 70 per cent of its diamonds to the United Arab Emirates.