Media coverage

Because of media coverage, De Beers took a sudden change of course and started contributing to the mandate of the Kimberly process. De Beers’ created the concept of “branded diamonds” where the diamonds were engraved with the De Beers logo that signified that the stone was from a conflict-free source (ICIJ 5). De Beers also had taken steps to detach the company from blood diamonds by stopping the purchase of diamonds from previously warring countries unless the purchase guaranteed that no conflict diamonds would find its way to the system (ICIJ 5).

Additionally, by cooperating with the United Nations, De Beers actively raised awareness to eliminate the movement of conflict diamonds (ICIJ 9). Validity of the African leaders’ declaration of the diamonds’ key position in uplifting economic and social status can be reflected from several economic indicators. Of significant value for the evaluation of the economic and social status of Sierra Leone and South Africa are records on diamond production, contribution of diamond production to exports, Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and Human Development Index (HDI) (Globalis).

Diamond export, in the case of Sierra Leone and South Africa, is dependent on these countries’ diamond production, which in turn, is a function of the GDP. Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is an economic indicator where national income and output are measured. Generally, GDP indicates the standard of living of people based on the economy of the nation (Investopedia). On the other hand, the Human Development Index is a combined measure of three vital components of human development. These essential components include education level, health and standard of living (Globalis).

Benefits to national economies are manifested on the rankings of countries in the Human Development Index (Diamond Facts. Org, “Making a Difference”). Over all diamond production estimates in Sierra Leone are almost unattainable since no geological survey of alluvial sites in Sierra Leone has been conducted (Levin 6). However, since 2002, Sierra Leone’s diamond exports performed an increasing trend. Records show that in 2005, Sierra Leone’s diamond export reached more than $140 million. This figure is significantly better than 2004’s $126 million diamond export.

Diamond mining in the artisanal sector of Sierra Leona accounts for 90% of the total diamond export (Gberie, “Money Trail” 1). Of the total diamond export in 2004 and 2005, more than $112 million and $116 million is credited to legal artisanal diamonds respectively, as shown in Table 4 (Levin 20). Exceptional to South Africa are the sources of its diamonds. All three possible sources of diamonds are present in this country. Of the total South African diamond production, 90% came from kimberlite deposits, 9.

2% came from alluvial fields and 0. 8 % came from undersea mines (Hazleton 14). In 2002, South Africa’s estimated rough diamond production amounted to 11. 2 million carats. 10. 8 million carats of which is from kimberlite fields and the remaining 400,000 estimated carats came from small mines (Hazleton 14). Another unique situation in the diamond industry of South Africa is the role of De Beers. Almost 95% by value of all diamonds mined in South Africa belonged to De Beers (Hazleton 2). In 2000, about 10.

3 million carats covering 95. 4% of the total diamond production came from companies owned or co-owned by De Beers (Hazleton 15). Based on the report from the Rapaport International Diamond Conference of 2007, Africa contributes 65% of the world’s rough diamond production in 2006; of which South Africa ranked fourth and Sierra Leone ranked tenth with 11% and 1% of the market share respectively as shown in Table 1 (Rapaport Group 26).

In 2006, the market share percentage of African countries is $8.5 billion worth of diamonds per year with South Africa and other African countries including Sierra Leone translating to $1. 5 billion and $0. 6 billion respectively (Diamond Facts. Org, “Making a Difference”). Ranking of African countries based on 2005 GDP estimates showed that South Africa ranks first with $12,160 while Sierra Leone is among the lowest with $903 as shown in Figure 1 (Diamond Facts. Org, “Making a Difference”). South Africa demonstrated a progressive increase in its GDP per capita from 1975 to 2002.

In contrast, Sierra Leone showed progress in its GDP from 1975 to 1990 but took on a downward trend from 1990 to 2000. However, in 2002, Sierra Leone demonstrated an upward trend again with $520 as compared to 2000’s $470 GDP as shown in Table 2 (Globalis). Though South Africa demonstrated a progressive increase in GDP, the contribution of the diamond industry to GDP amounted to 0. 88% only. Nevertheless, due to high value of diamonds, the industry represented 8% of South Africa’s total value in exports (Hazleton 15).