Johannesburg: A new South African association has been launched to increase the involvement of young, mainly black entrepreneurs in processing and manufacturing rough diamonds.
The South African Young Diamond Beneficiators’ Guild, which was launched at the recently held first South African Diamond Indaba, aims to help start-ups led by mainly black entrepreneurs to cut and polish diamonds.
The creation of the organization is part of the government’s push to revitalize its manufacturing industry and to reduce unemployment, which stands at around 25 percent of the population.
According to Reuters, the South African diamond manufacturing industry employs just 200 workers, down from 4,500 two decades ago, with many jobs shifting to Botswana.
“South Africa has been muscled out of its status as the world diamond destination. We have to re-capture that legacy,” Dolly Mokgatle, chairperson of the diamond mining conference said, as reported by Reuters.
Speaking at the conference, World Federation of Diamond Bourses president Ernie Blom said that the South African mining industry should introduce measures, such as tax incentives, to attract investment.
“Enabling firms to process diamonds means costs have to be reduced on them to make it profitable for them to do so,” he said.