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Antwerp: President Bio calls for diamonds to be cut and polished in Sierra Leone

6 November 2018 at 23:15 | 1294 views

His Excellency President Julius Maada Bio has called for diamonds to be cut and polished in Sierra Leone during a recent visit to the Antwerp World Diamond Centre (AWDC) in Belgium.

Addressing board members and management of AWDC, diamond traders, miners, bankers and the press, President Bio said that Sierra Leone is a major exporter of diamonds but more focus should now be placed on value addition to diamonds in Sierra Leone.

President Bio said his new government wants a different relationship with Antwerp World Diamond Centre to support Sierra Leone with the infrastructure that will increase the value of diamonds in Sierra Leone before export. He also said that Sierra Leone is a major exporter of diamonds but not many people know about diamonds. He invited diamond companies, miners and traders to Sierra Leone for investment but stressed on the need for transparent and credible investment.

President Bio also said that while he recognized the strategic importance of diamonds, his new administration would like to use the resources from diamonds to invest in human capital development. He told the audience that his new administration has prioritized investment in human capital through the provision of free quality education.

Welcoming President Bio to the centre, the Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Ari Epstein, said that President Bio’s visit demonstrated confidence in AWDC adding that Antwerp has great expertise to support his new government. He also praised President Bio’s impressive leadership stating: “With your commitment, it is necessary to have ethical sourcing”.

The call by President Bio for diamonds to be cut and polished in Sierra Leone would also create jobs and train Sierra Leoneans using cutting-edge technology in diamond production. It must also be noted that President Bio is arguably the first Sierra Leonean to be elected as President who is a trained diamond valuator. He studied diamond valuation in South Africa.

Later, President Bio was taken on a conducted tour of the Centre by the Chief Executive Officer visiting various laboratories for cutting, polishing, grading and valuation of diamonds. President Bio also visited two reputed companies dealing in diamonds in Antwerp – Bonas and Diamcad.

Source: State House, Freetown

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