The diamond industry in the Central African Republic (CAR) helped fund the rebellion that toppled the country’s government last week. France 24 takes a look at how instability is now threatening the lucrative business.
The diamond business has been good to Seleka rebels of the Central African Republic, whose successful coup last week was in part funded by the trade of the precious stones. But as the rebels now take over key government posts, uncertainty remains for merchants.
“We’ve suffered a lot,” Ismael, a diamond cutter in the country’s northeast, told FRANCE 24. “Since the war started, there have not been enough diamonds, nor is there money because people are scared to invest.”
Others are worried about security during yet another period of transition in the politically unstable nation. There was massive looting in the capital of Bangui last week after former president François Bozizé was ousted by the rebels.
“The whole area needs to be secure for us to move about,” said a manager of Badica, the leading diamond buying office in the Central African Republic. He added that it was in the new government’s best interest to help the industry, which pays 12 percent tax on diamonds exported outside country.
The Central African Republic produces 300,000 to 400,000 karats per year – all hand-made stones. Experts say this is less than one percent of the country’s mining potential.
Date created : 2013-04-01