Finance Issues Top of the Agenda at WDC, Dubai

WFDB 2Antwerp: With the 37th World Diamond Congress, the biennial meeting of the World Federation of Diamond Bourses (WFDB) and the International Diamond Manufacturers Association (IDMA), set to start in just over three weeks, WFDB President Ernie Blom says the finance sessions of the Congress are set to provide critical information for the industry on the issue of liquidity and other financing matters.

The Congress, to take place in Dubai from May 16 to 19, will address industry financing on the morning of May 18, with leading figures from the global trade tackling the subject and taking part in a panel discussion in which members of the audience will beencouraged to participate.

Erik Jens, ABN Amro Bank’s Head of Diamond and Jewelry Clients, will speak on the issue of ‘Key opportunities in financing the diamond and jewellery industry’, and will be followed by Howard Davies, De Beers’ Head of Commercial Development, who will address the Congress on ‘Global financing options and requirements for the diamond industry’. They will then take part in a panel debate to be attended by the WFDB’s 30 bourse presidents and other exchange officials along with their counterparts from IDMA and more than 100 diamond industry representatives from across the diamond pipeline.

Amongst others joining Jens and Davies will be David Bouffard, President, Corporate Affairs at Signet Jewelers Ltd, Feriel Zerouki, Head of Government and Industry Relations at De Beers and other industry figures.

In addition, there will also be a Dubai Diamond Finance Seminar which will be the second of a series being held by the Dubai Diamond Exchange (DDE), aiming to raise awareness of diamond financing options and how Dubai’s trade infrastructure and financial institutions can further support the diamond trade. More details will be announced this week.

Ernie Blom said: “We believe that the speakers and panelists and the interactive discussion format during the Congress will provide a comprehensive review of the nature of the financing issues affecting the diamond business and how we can best deal with them. Our aim is to provide a roadmap for the industry to help take it forward during these challenging times.

“For too long, industry members and the banks have not been on the same wavelength. We aim to correct this for the good of both parties. This also fits in with the overall themes of the Congress: Transparency, Responsibility and Sustainability. We are moving ahead with a new era of way of working in all aspects and this will be clearly seen at the Congress,” Blom concluded.