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Angolan diamonds shine again

Interview - February 28, 2012
Globus Vision discusses the diamond business and its role in the New Angola with Antonio Romero, Director General de Corpo de Segurança e Fiscalizaçao dos Diamantes
CORPO DE SEGURANÇA E FISCALIZAÇAO DOS DIAMANTES
ANTONIO ROMERO | DIRECTOR GENERAL DE CORPO DE SEGURANÇA E FISCALIZAÇAO DOS DIAMANTES

Romero we would like to introduce our interview by talking about the remarkable economical situation that Angola is facing now, nearly ten years after the Peace Treaty was signed. Could you please tell us what in your view have been the most important achievements during this period?

I believe that the key for this success was the achievement of peace in itself, because otherwise, every project to help the development in Angola could not take place. Also, an ally for this success was the reconciliation that the Angolans wanted to achieve and claimed for themselves after so many years of war when there had not been much hope for a better future.

What is your analysis of the mining sector in Angola in 2011?

The perspectives for the mining sector in Angola in 2011 are of an extreme importance. They have to follow the growth of the oil and gas sector, our main source for GDP. They will suffer a big hit due to the crisis, obviously, but I believe that with the rapid recuperation of some mining projects and explorations, they will come to see very important improvements which will allow His Excellency President Dos Santos to control and organize the plans for development he has for Angola.

What is your vision of the mining sector in relation to the creation of the New Angola?

As I said, the mining sector suffered very severely because of the crisis. To be able to strike back, every sector of the economy was slightly modified and so we had to redefine and reorganize the main objectives in the short, medium and long term. The policies taken by the Government to tackle the crisis have been very logical and consequent, in relation to the investments made and the expectations of the sector. Nevertheless it is true that the big decline in the price of the diamonds made many investors think twice, some of whom were at the very last phase of investing. The volatility of the price of the diamonds in the international markets is also very important. This is not only a problem in Angola – it is a problem that affects all of the diamond producers around the world. Meanwhile we have seen that interest in diamonds is growing continuously, and that the interest in that the price not only stays stable but continues to grow makes us very positive in our future recuperation of the sector. That is the reason for stressing national and international investors to take a chance with diamonds. There is a big interest in producing more diamonds contributing to create the New Angola that we all want to portray to the world. A bigger production will mean more investments in the sector, and a reduction in social and economical instability.

What is your opinion in the sustainability programs that are being implemented in the Angolan Market?

To answer this question I am going to focus in those implemented only in the diamond sector. These programs bring equilibrium to the exploration processes, the environment and it helps the local population amongst its basic necessities creating harmony and helping to restore peace and the tranquility and confidence that investors need. I am sure that with the implementation of these programs, in cooperation with all of the governmental policies, it will help the development of Angola.

What does the brand name ‘Diamonds of Angola’ mean to you?

The brand of the Angolan diamond refers to its particularities and originality. It differs from those of other countries due to its characteristics and qualities which then determine its price.

What would you say is the perception of the Angolan diamond sector abroad?

The difference between the international perception and the reality here in Angola is that the only channel of trade of diamonds is SODIAM-S.A.R.L., the only company whose objective is to trade diamonds abroad.

What would you say are nowadays the more important threats to the diamond industry?

It is not only one but a group of them. But in my opinion the most important are: to continue the production of diamonds, to reduce the costs of obtaining the diamonds, to increase the price of diamonds and to act upon social and corporate responsibility.

What has been the work done to promote the Angolan diamonds abroad?

The promotion of the Angolan diamonds abroad was done by national governmental entities created to promote national products and have attracted the interest of very important investors to the sector, in order to create partnerships with the main national mining projects. Furthermore, conferences have been had to attract international investors, along with participation in national and international fairs giving information and showing the quality of our diamonds.

Could you please tell us how the creation of the CSD in Angola was and how did it help in the attainment of national peace?

The creation of CSD is linked to the beginning of the national diamond exploration in Angola with the changes faced in every period of its history. From the start of the exploration of the mines there was a national body which gave security and control to the diamond activity.

How would you describe CSD?

Nowadays CSD provides the security to the diamond industry in relation to the efficient organization of the industrial security system, as a help to other security and with a close cooperation to the local and central administrative organs of the country.

Due to the rising illegal exploration of diamonds both by Angolans and foreigners, the Government passed some laws to help reinforce the part taken by the CSD in the control of the activity and the prevention of the mischief in order to control and execute actions to fight this illegal forms of mining extraction. Nevertheless the main objective of the CSD is to provide security to all of the process of the extraction of diamonds up until their sale.

What in your opinion in relation to the liberalization of the Angolan market?

The liberalization of the Angolan diamond market helped to create the surroundings for a competitive atmosphere in the sector providing more confidence to national and international investors. There are national laws to help the creation national and foreign companies in the production and trade of diamonds. The only requirement is to comply with the law.

Where would you like to see German investments in Angola and what are the improvements that Germans could bring to Angola and the sector?

Our country provides many opportunities to do business. In particular to the German community I would like to see this investment in areas such as the construction of channels of communication, agriculture, transportation, information technology, industry, etc. Not forgetting the diamond sector where the international crisis hit very hard and some mining projects had to be closed and so many Angolans lost their jobs.

Could you please comment on the opportunities that the line of credit of 2 billion US Dollars provided by the German Government to its nationals to invest in Angola could bring to the growth of the country?

I believe that this line of credit is going to raise the German spirits to come back and invest in Angola, helping the public investments and giving a chance to the Government to reach the objectives it promised to foreign investors in the creation of the new Angola. That line of credit is also going to help with the creation of many jobs which is a big thing in an economy that is starting to grow again.

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