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Belgian king evades Mbumba’s call to lift ban on Russian diamonds – News

King Philippe of Belgium is yet to respond to President Nangolo Mbumba’s displeasure with the G7 ban on the import of all non-industrial diamonds mined, processed and produced in Russia.

Russia launched a war against Ukraine in February 2022.

Belgium is responsible for implementing the ban.

Mbumba told the king on Tuesday that the ban would be detrimental to Namibia’s diamond trade and would have a negative economic impact on diamond-producing African countries such as Namibia, Botswana and Angola.

“This decision poses a serious risk and threat to our economies by increasing costs, in addition to restricting our countries’ freedom of trade,” he said.

Namibia, one of southern Africa’s top diamond miners, produced 2.3 million carats of rough diamonds last year, recording a 9% increase from the 2.1 million carats produced the previous year.

According to the latest figures released by De Beers, Namdeb’s terrestrial production increased by 14% to 468,000 carats, compared to 412,000 carats a year earlier during the period under review, while in the fourth quarter it recorded a production decline of 13%. %. up to 151,000 carats.

Meanwhile, Debmarine Namibia’s offshore production for 2023 increased 8% to 1.9 million carats from 1.7 million carats in 2022.

Mbumba wants the G7 to find a solution to the issue without affecting African supply chains.

The ban affects trade between all G7 countries, which in turn affects Namibia.

“In that sense, we have requested an urgent dialogue to find a mutually beneficial solution. We hope to have your support and the understanding of the Kingdom of Belgium,” said Mbumba.

The king did not respond to Mbumba’s sentiments, instead focusing on the possible green energy relationship between the two countries.

“These resources are shaping the just energy transition, which is high on your government’s agenda. The production of green hydrogen in Walvis Bay would reduce CO2 emissions on land and sea, making our planet a healthier place for its inhabitants,” he stated.

GUARANTEE OF ORIGIN

Russia can no longer export diamonds directly or indirectly to G7 members. The G7 is made up of seven member states: Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States.

Furthermore, the European Union is a “non-enumerated member.”

Last week, Namibia Diamond Trading Company (NDTC) director Brent Eiseb said that, in addition to other challenges, the industry has to deal with the impact of the introduction of G7 restrictive measures against Russian diamonds.

To solve this, the company has decided to allow end users to trace the journey of their polished diamond back to its origin.

“As you know, ensuring the provenance of diamonds is a rapidly growing priority that will affect all parts of the industry, especially now that G7 nations are set to implement new import restrictions on the industry.

“Provenance capture at De Beers and NDTC is handled by ‘Project Vector’, which is a group-wide initiative and a collaboration between technologies, diamond trading operations, information management and tracing,” Eiseb said during a NDTC business performance update.

He said TracrTM is a digital platform for tracing natural diamonds from their origin at scale, allowing you to explore the provenance, authenticity and unique journey a diamond has taken.

“This allows the industry to provide an immutable record of a diamond’s provenance, allowing all stakeholders to have confidence in its provenance,” he said.

‘NEOCOLONIALISM’

Political analyst Ndumba Kamwanyah says Namibia should be vigilant in its relations with Western countries.

“It is important that the king’s visit to Namibia responds to the broader interest of Europe and the global North, which is the demand for energy.

“The political strategies of the West, and those of Europe in particular, are driven by two motives: how to obtain GH2 at cheaper prices, but also sell GH2 infrastructure and expertise to the global South, including Namibia, where resources to produce fuel are abundant. of GH2. ,” he says.

Kamwanyah believes the green energy push involves neo-colonialism or ‘green colonialism’ for the West to continue plundering the resources of the global South, which would have economic and social implications for Namibia.

“Unfortunately, as we are desperate for development, we find ourselves surrendering to neocolonialism without questioning it.

“The elites, who would likely benefit from this partnership, are the ones who blindly accept the neocolonialism of the West. The GH2 partnership between the West and the global South is unequal and borders on the continuity of colonial domination,” she states.

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