Journal Article

A ‘Kimberley protest’: Diamond mining, export sanctions, and poverty in Akwatia, Ghana

Gavin Hilson and Martin J. Clifford

in African Affairs

Published on behalf of Royal African Society

Volume 109, issue 436, pages 431-450
Published in print July 2010 | ISSN: 0001-9909
Published online April 2010 | e-ISSN: 1468-2621 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/afraf/adq020
A ‘Kimberley protest’: Diamond mining, export sanctions, and poverty in Akwatia, Ghana

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The temporary suspension of diamond exports in Ghana in 2006 and 2007 is arguably the most significant move to address mounting criticisms of the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme (KPCS), an international initiative aimed at stemming the flow of rough diamonds used to finance wars. The ban, which took effect in November 2006, was much praised, particularly in civil society circles, where it continues to be seen as a genuine effort to prevent the smuggling of ‘conflict diamonds’. At the time, Ghana was accused of harbouring stones originating from rebel-held territories in neighbouring Côte d’Ivoire. No evidence was found in support of the case that it was a repository for ‘conflict diamonds’, however, and exports resumed early in March 2007. This article examines the context for the accusations of Ghana’s implication in the smuggling of illicit diamonds, and draws on recent fieldwork to explain how the suspension has affected Akwatia, the country’s main diamondiferous area. The actions taken raise important questions about how suspected violators – particularly smaller diamond-producing nations – of the KPCS should be handled, and underscore how global compacts can have a host of negative repercussions at the village level.

Journal Article.  8253 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: African Studies ; International Relations ; African History ; Regional Political Studies

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