Like HowStuffWorks on Facebook!

How the African Diamond Trade Works


Conflict Free Diamonds

Even many harsh critics of the current state of the African diamond trade tend to agree that shutting out the diamond industry would have a negative effect on many innocent people in the peaceful nations of Africa that rely on diamond mines for their livelihood. Several previously war-torn nations, such as Sierra Leone and Liberia, are finally out from under the thumb of diamond warlords. In fact, 2005 saw a peaceful Sierra Leone export more than $142 million worth of diamonds [source: Allafrica.com]. However, at the very least, areas of the Ivory Coast and the eastern portion of the Democratic Republic of Congo continue to suffer at the hands of greedy diamond mongers.

Human rights groups such as Amnesty International and Global Witness are calling on federal governments to regulate Kimberley Process countries, to ensure that the diamonds being imported and exported are completely conflict-free. Currently, Kimberley Process regulation is done voluntarily by the diamond dealers in their midst, rather than being controlled by a third party. These groups also fear a resurgence of diamond conflict if adequate control is not taken to prevent blood diamonds from entering legitimate trade. According to Amnesty International, the Kimberley Process simply leaves too many holes through which diamonds can be smuggled illegally. Until the diamond industry can say with 100 percent certainty that these outlets have been effectively sealed, human rights groups will continue to push for stricter regulations.

­For more information on Africa, diamonds and related topics, see the next page.