THE MINISTRY OF PETROLEUM AND MINING IN PARTNERSHIP WITH THE ASSOCIATION OF WOMEN IN EXTRACTIVES IN KENYA
GEMS AFRICA 2021 VIRTUAL CONFERENCE
12 July 2021
8am – 6pm EAT
THEME: RESPONSIBLE SOURCING OF GEMSTONES AND GOLD FROM MINES TO MARKET
Globally, there is growing recognition of the importance of responsible supply chains associated with the trade of gold and colored gemstones. A conservative estimate was made in 2015 of the global market for rough gemstones to have been worth between USD 17 billion and USD 23 billion. The Gold and Coloured Gemstone sector is inherently linked to the international markets realm with supply countries predominantly in Africa and traders in Asia, the Americas and Europe. Sought for their beauty, Coloured Gemstones and gold have been used in jewellery, to adorn on wearable accessories and serve as vehicles of investment and wealth.
Africa is a prominent supplier of gemstones and their demand is fuelled by jewellers and investors. Most African coloured gemstones are moved undeclared through informal channels or are under-declared in official channels. Rough coloured gemstones in Africa are predominantly mined by artisanal and small-scale miners (ASM) who continue to be a vital source of gemstones for the international markets. ASM is an incredibly important driver of development in communities, where there are often few other opportunities available for generating income particularly in remote areas. The artisans are largely informal and use basic methods to produce the precious stones. Consequently, it is estimated that 80 per cent of small-scale miners are informal and 50 per cent of the ASM workforce in Africa are women. The informal nature of the coloured-gemstone trade, difficulty in valuing rough stones at the site of extraction, the extensive nature of illicit supply chains and the influence of criminal actors are significant obstacles to development efforts and outcomes and growth of gemstone and gold sectors in Africa.
The Ministry of Petroleum and Mining in collaboration with the Association of Women in Extractives in Kenya (AWEIK) seeks to bring together global stakeholders in the gemstone industry including governments, industry and artisanal miners themselves in a virtual conference that champions responsible sourcing of the gemstone and gold industries to underpin broad-based sustainable growth and socio-economic transformation. ASM can contribute positively to many of the Sustainable Development Goals, and with inclusive, comprehensive responsible sourcing, the global community can amply ASM’s positive impacts and mitigate negative ones. The Gems Africa 2021 Virtual Conference will help build understanding on the complexities around mainstreaming the gemstone and gold sectors in Africa, reveal ASM’s contributions to development in Africa and propel better understanding into the sources of the materials and products from mine to market, to support responsible sourcing and meaningful dialogue that scales up the sector through encouraging partnerships and technological innovations. The conference will also highlight the role that women can play to foster peace where colored stones and gold are mined and harness support for the women who, against all odds, are mining in hardship areas.