By Michelle Graff

Dubai, United Arab Emirates--Kimberley Process Chair Ahmed Bin Sulayem recently paid an in-person visit to the Central African Republic, the nation that was just allowed to resume rough diamond exports.

During his trip, Bin Sulayem, who represents Dubai in the KP, visited the diamond-producing areas of Carnot (in the prefecture of Mambéré-Kadéï), Boda (in the prefecture of Lobaye) and Nola (in the prefecture of Sangha-Mbaéré), all located in the south of the country.

He also met with both CAR’s newly elected president, Faustin-Archange Touadéra, and Leopold Mboli Fratran, the country’s newly appointed minister of mines.

In a KP news release on the visit, Touadéra praised Bin Sulayem’s efforts as KP chair, noting that his visit “brings hope to our long-suffering diamond industry.”

He also said that the Central African Republic looks to fully reintegrate itself into the international diamond trade as soon as possible.

After a three-year hiatus due to rebel violence, the KP recently OK’ed the resumption of diamond exports from Berbérati, one area of the Central African Republic, which is among the poorest countries in the world and depends heavily on revenues from rough diamond sales. The first shipment totaled approximately 3,700 carats.

Exports from other areas of the country have not yet been given the green light, and the KP said in the release that they will resume only if those areas can be considered KP compliant, though Bin Sulayem noted that the effective resumption of exports from CAR is one of the “main priorities” of his KP chairmanship.

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