February 10, 2005

Partnership to advance diamond production in Africa

Government has entered into a partnership with the private sector to advance diamond production and sales within the emerging markets in Africa. The Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) has entered into this partnership with government, Lazare Kaplan International Inc (LKI) and Nozala Diamonds. OPIC is an independent and self-sustaining company that supports economic development by promoting US private investment in developing countries, while LKI is engaged in the cutting, polishing and sales of ideally proportioned diamonds internationally.

Minerals and Energy Minister Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka remarked that the fund which anticipated an element of risk management was important because "it is not na´ve about the challenges people [in the mining industry] face along the way. On our side as government through regulation, training, support, provision of infrastructure we would want to be partners to make sure that we give optimum conditions for these initiatives. ... And I am sure I am speaking for my colleagues in the other countries to say that this is a first time in many of our countries to get a fund of this nature and we would want to make sure that it succeeds to bring more and more loads of money." (Bua News, Pretoria)

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