The inaugural Africa Gemstones and Jewellery Exhibition and Conference (AGJEC), which aims to showcase Africa’s gemstone wealth and foster value creation, maximization and intra-African trade opportunities in Africa’s gemstones, is set to take place in Ndola, Zambia, from July 10th–14th, 2023.
Ndola is renowned for its emerald production, just as Zambia has recently made appreciable progress towards promoting local value-addition of its gemstones, becoming the continent’s biggest producer of emeralds, with the Emeralds and Small-Scale Miners Association of Zambia (ESMAZ) even claiming Zambia as the world’s biggest producer of the gemstone in 2022.
The conference will particularly highlight African Union Member States’ support for women miners, traders and women-led artisanal, small-and medium-scale enterprises (ASMMEs) in gemstones, jewelry and fashionomics, says a media release by AGJEC organizers, namely the African Mineral Development Centre (AMDC) and Government of Zambia, supported by the Organization of the African Caribbean and Pacific States (OACPS), the European Union, and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), among others.
“They [women] will get a platform to showcase their gemstones and jewelry in the exhibition, which will create a marketplace for local, regional, and international buyers to source directly from countries of origin. In line with the promotion of responsible sourcing of gemstones and jewelry from Africa, the event will be an opportunity for women miners and jewelry entrepreneurs to network with players in the supply chain and share their knowledge on the continental dynamics of the trade,” said the release.
The specific objectives of ACJEC are to foster policy conversations on the artisanal and small scale mining (ASM) supply chain dynamics of the African gemstones and jewelry sector, in line with posturing to take full advantage of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), with a particular focus on women’s participation in developing continental ASM value chains and prompting innovative ideas for incentivizing value addition of gemstones and jewelry across the value chain from discovery to marketing.
Others are promoting responsible sourcing of gemstones and jewelry production; creating a continental marketplace for gemstone and jewelry ASMs and related ASMMEs to sell their products and services; incentivizing continental trading and skills exchange in the AfCFTA era; as well as enhancing the visibility of Africa as a jewelry and gemstone producing hub to international dealers, towards the delivery of the African Commodities Strategy within the tenets of the Africa Mining Vision.
Africa is home to a diversity of highly sought-after precious and semi-precious stones in the global jewelry industry market, such as Ethiopia’s Opals, Kenya’s Tsavorite, Madagascar’s Sapphires and Tanzania’s Tanzanite. These gemstones are mostly exploited through artisanal and small-scale mining, yet these countries and the miners reap minimal benefits from the gemstones. A study linked to the AfCFTA values the potential of Africa’s gemstone and jewelry value chain at $20 billion.
Twenty years after it was established by the NEPAD Heads of State Summit on March 9, 2003,…