The Zimbabwe business delegation that is touring Europe received a hostile reception in London but was feted in Brussels where Antwerp’s diamantaires are hoping to do more business with Zimbabwe, now the world’s fourth largest producer of diamonds.
The diamantaires (diamond experts, craftsmen and traders), already have the largest producer, Russia’s Alrosa, in their pocket.
According to Africa Confidential, the business delegation led by Charles Msipa president of the Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries, was honoured with a celebratory lunch on 27 January in Brussels by the Chambre de Commerce Belgique-Luxembourg-ACP, the Netherlands African Business Council, and the Southern African Netherlands Chamber of Commerce.
“All three organisations are members of the European Business Council for Africa and the Mediterranean, which will be active in the European Union-Africa Business Forum, which takes place between 31 March and 1 April, just ahead of the EU-Africa summit, scheduled for 2-3 April in Brussels,” Africa Confidential said.
It said that the visit was strongly supported by the Antwerp-based diamond industry, which successfully lobbied for the lifting of the EU’s ban on imports of diamonds from the Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation parastatal and its partners Marange Resources, Canadile, Mbada, Kimberworth Investments and Diamond Mining Corporation last September.
The Antwerp World Diamond Centre said 2013 was its second best year ever. The total value of traded goods amounted to US$55 billion, slightly less than the record US$56.6 billion in 2011. AWDC reinforced its ties with major trading partners, such as the Russian mining giant Alrosa, the largest producer in volume worldwide. Sixty-five percent of its diamond production is traded in Antwerp.
It said it would intensify trade with Zimbabwe which will, according to experts, account for at least a quarter of the world production over the next decade.
The Zimbabwean government had already indicated that the first trial tender of Marange goods held in Antwerp in December provided valuable insights and demonstrated the potential of selling the Marange rough in Antwerp.
A second, larger tender including goods of higher quality, is scheduled for next month.