The diamond industry, long associated with conflict in Africa, can be a force for positive change through international cooperation, the Foreign Minister of Botswana told the United Nations General Assembly today.“We continue to prudently manage the revenue from the sale of diamonds and to effectively use such revenue to educate our people, provide potable water, health care and build a network of infrastructure such as roads, telephones and rural electricity,” Lieutenant General Mompati S. Merafhe told the Assembly’s annual debate today. “This is the good that diamonds have and continue to do.”Botswana participates in the Kimberly Process Certification Scheme, which aims to ensure the integrity of the legitimate diamond trade, he said, calling the mechanism “one of the best examples of global cooperation.”The Scheme is “the embodiment of global consensus, unrelenting political will and determination of members to do the right thing underpinned by strong support and resolutions of the Security Council,” he continued. “This is important because about 10 million people globally are either directly or indirectly supported by the diamond industry.” He said 65 per cent of the world’s diamonds are sourced from African countries. “Diamonds have and continue to do good in Botswana. The diamond industry in Botswana has been at the cutting edge of human development and transforming lives for the better, in all fields of human endeavour.”Also addressing the Assembly this afternoon, Kalombo Mwansa, the Special Envoy of Zambia, spoke about the need for action on trade and debt relief in order to help poor countries achieve development.“We call for the removal of the unjust multilateral trading system, which continues to hamper the fair participation of the developing and least developed countries in the global market,” he said, pointing out that with fair trading practices, those States “would take a significant step towards self-sustenance and reduce dependence on aid.”

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