In the United Nation’s 2005 Human Development Index, South Africa obtained the highest rank with 0. 658 points. On the other hand, Sierra Leone is among the lowest with 0. 298 points as shown in Figure 2 (Diamond Facts. Org, “Making a Difference”). Sierra Leone is consistently at the lowest ranking in HDI from 1991 to 2001 (Hazleton 20). The reason behind the poor performance was the violent civil war that descended upon Sierra Leone between those years.
Adding to Sierra Leone’s predicament was the banning of rough diamond imports from Sierra Leone by the United Nations Security Council (Diamond Facts. Org, “The Facts”). Diamonds are expected to contribute significantly to the economy by creating jobs. The global diamond industry directly or indirectly employed 10 million people worldwide (Diamond Facts. Org, “Making a Difference”). In South Africa, 28,000 people are employed in mining to jewelry fabrication and retailing of diamonds (Diamond Facts. Org, “Making a Difference”).
This figure represents 0. 10% of the formal labor sector of South Africa (Hazleton 15). Companies mining diamonds in Sierra Leone include Koidu Holdings and African Diamonds plc. Koidu Holdings pledged to share 20% of its profits with the national social safety net and the local community where it mines. The action of this company is a perfect example of a positive social impact (Diamond Facts. Org, “The Facts”).
Between March 2005 and March 2006, South Africa’s Namaqualand Diamond Fund Trust received $4.8 million for funding community development projects. The benefactor, Trans Hex Group, is a mining and exploration company that supports social development projects for social empowerment and sustainability (Diamond Facts. Org, “The Facts”). An estimated five million people had access to public health services globally due to revenues from diamonds. Governments and health organizations were able to improve current public health services and developed new ones for people who need those services.
In Africa, diamonds play a major role in dealing with the HIV/AIDS pandemic by providing counseling, education and testing programs, and providing homes and care for children orphaned by parents because of the disease (World Diamond Council, “The Facts”). More medical centers, hospices, and hospitals were also funded from diamond revenues to further ensure accessibility to healthcare services by more people (World Diamond Council, “The Facts”). In addition, some health projects funded through diamond revenues extended services outside of building health centers and hospitals.
In Sierra Leone, and South Africa, diamond revenues are utilized to build infrastructures, health services, and education systems. It is generally accepted that the key for the establishment of a sustainable future in South Africa and Sierra Leone depends on the development and efficient utilization of these countries’ natural resources. Perhaps the most promising resource in both these countries is the diamond. If properly managed, benefits to employment, healthcare, revenues, and education, are immense.
Unfortunately, because the resource became accessible to people with no regards for humanitarian reasons and driven by personal greed, the diamond was utilized for the wrong reasons. Consequently, much suffering for those people employed for the extraction of the resource came about. The establishment of the Kimberly Process gave new hope for the people of South Africa and Sierra Leone. So far, based on the data gathered, the Kimberly Process is gradually achieving its goal of eliminating the conflict diamonds from the diamond industry.
At present, only 1% of the world’s diamonds are conflict diamonds. But the Kimberly Process targets zero conflict diamonds in the global diamond industry. With the total cooperation of government agencies directly and indirectly connected with the diamond industry of Sierra Leone and South Africa, the United Nations, and influential companies like De Beers, The ultimate vision of the Kimberly Process is achievable.
”About Diamonds”. Diamond Facts. Org. 2000. World Diamond Council. http://www.diamondfacts.org/.