02 March 2014, Kinshasa — The 17th Comesa Heads of State and Government Summit took a bold stand on Wednesday to stop raw mineral exports and demand beneficiation from foreign investors in the region.President Mugabe participated at the 19-member economic forum, which ended in Kinshasa, DRC.
On his arrival at Harare International Airport on Wednesday night, President Mugabe said his fellow leaders from East and Southern Africa overwhelmingly supported the need to curb raw mineral exports.
“The issue of natural resources was discussed there quite at length. I am glad the countries now realise we need to control our resources and many were saying we must control our natural resources, we must ensure that we derive wealth from them and this wealth must benefit our people. That is very important so that we are not exploited by Western powers and imperialists,” said President Mugabe.
“I expressed my sentiments there, that we need to re-organise the diamond industry so that we integrate production. We want to do in that sector what our neighbours have done, Botswana, Namibia and Angola, to have only one diamond company doing production, doing the cutting and processing and selling.
“You do not engage too many people in the diamond industry because you cannot control them, from a point of security and also from the part of your performance you are not able to do thorough work.”
The President said alluvial and conglomerate diamond mining should be consolidated to ensure maximum benefit.
“Now we are going to choose just one or two companies to work alongside Government, to consolidate ourselves into one big company, which will do production and refinery and add value to the diamonds.
“It is not really necessary to take our diamonds outside and sell them. We need to conduct auctions here. I said it even from the advice and thinking of those in mining that we have to do it, that we are free to sell our diamonds anywhere in the world,” said President Mugabe.
He added that Africa should expand its market to the East.
“We have held two sales in Belgium, the last which had about 950 000 carats and that gave us US$70 million. The previous one only gave us US$40 million. But we cannot sell to Antwerp alone, because sanctions have been hindering the sale of our diamonds,” he said.
– The Herald