Archive for December, 2007
by AGavin on December 29th, 2007
PUBLIC DELEGATE RODGER YOUNG DELIVERS REMARKS ON THE ROLE OF DIAMONDS IN FUELLING CONFLICT, NEW YORK CITY, AS RELEASED BY THE U.S. MISSION TO THE U.N. SPEAKER: U.S. PUBLIC DELEGATE TO THE U.N. RODGER YOUNG
“Mr. President, the United States is pleased to co-sponsor the resolution on the role of diamonds in fueling conflict. The international community has much to be proud of when it comes to the efforts of the Kimberley Process. It is a tribute to the Kimberley Process that conflict diamonds today make up only a small percentage of the world’s diamond market. With the Kimberley Process, the international community now has the tools to head off future conflict and promote stability and security in diamond-rich regions of the world.
The unique manner in which governments, the diamond industry and civil society have worked together in the Kimberley Process to monitor and control the rough diamond trade should stand as a model as we confront other sources of conflict. This multi-stakeholder effort demonstrates what can be accomplished when governments join forces with the private sector and non-governmental organizations. We salute our European Community colleagues who have led the Kimberley Process in 2007 to encourage the major diamond trading and manufacturing centers to strengthen internal controls over the diamond markets. European leadership also positioned the Kimberley Process to address the ongoing problem of diamond smuggling from Cote d’Ivoire through neighboring West African countries. We are confident that these initiatives, launched under the European leadership, will remain the hallmark of Kimberley Process efforts in the years ahead.
We were particularly pleased in 2007 to welcome Liberia as a participant in the Kimberley Process. The Liberian government moved quickly in the past year to capitalize on international support. Liberia set up a credible diamond monitoring system to enable the lifting of United Nations Security Council sanctions on its diamond exports and to participate in the Kimberley Process. We appreciate the long way Liberia has come from an era when diamonds financed brutal atrocities to the point today when diamonds are playing a positive force in the country’s economic reconstruction. The United States also welcomes the efforts of donor countries to provide technical assistance to help Kimberley Process participants strengthen their internal controls. We believe that one of the best means to support stability and prevent renewed conflict in diamond- producing areas is to foster Kimberley Process controls at the same time that we support development opportunities for mining communities.
We look forward to working closely with India as it assumes the chair and Namibia as assumes the vice-chair of the Kimberley Process in 2008.”
Copyright © 2007 CQ Transcriptions, LLC
by AGavin on December 6th, 2007
The Republic of the Congo has been readmitted to the Kimberley Process.
The Republic of the Congo, or Congo-Brazzaville, was expelled from the Kimberley Process in 2004 for exporting diamonds from its war-wracked neighbor, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and falsifying certificates of origin.
“Congo-Brazzaville comes back now after a very serious domestic effort to put its house in order and to get its domestic systems to the level required,” said Karel Kovanda, the head of the Kimberly Process secretariat. “It was quite an emotional moment. We’re always happy to have new people” come on board the Kimberley Process.
Congo-Brazzaville’s fate is just the latest example of the enforcement procedure which gets its name from the South Africa city where one of the first meetings was held on stemming the flow of diamonds used by rebel armies or other groups to pay for their conflicts.
Congo-Brazzaville, which gained its independence from France in 1960, saw a series of coups and assassinations from that time on, erupting into a full-scale civil war in 1997 when forces loyal to current President Denis Sassou Nguesso — who also ruled the country from 1979 to 1992 — ousted President Pascal Lissouba with the support of the Angolan army.
The two-year conflict was estimated to have claimed at least 10,000 lives. A peace agreement signed by the Nguesso government with various rebel factions in March 2003 is still viewed as fragile.
Extending beyond the upheaval in Congo-Brazzaville, an even larger war in the immense Democratic Republic of the Congo also raged, killing at least 3 million as a host of rebel armies attempted to profit from the country’s natural resources, along with armed forces from Angola, Namibia, Rwanda, Uganda and Zimbabwe.
The fact that Congo-Brazzaville was exporting far more diamonds than it could have produced was the first warning sign that something was amiss, according to officials with the Kimberly Process.
Diamonds have also served as a driving force in the funding of Sierra Leone’s 1991-2002 civil war, during which the Revolutionary United Front (RUF) committed many atrocities.
Smuggled diamonds from that country also fostered the long-running conflict in Liberia which, under President Charles Taylor, effectively served as the RUF’s patron state. Taylor is currently awaiting trial in The Hague for war crimes and crimes against humanity.
The Kimberly Process aims to ensure that diamonds do not finance any entity seeking to overthrow a government recognized by the United Nations, that all diamond exports be accompanied by a Kimberley Process certificate proving their origin, and that member states don’t act as third-party brokers for nonmember states.
“Countries must have a legal framework in place that uses necessary import and export controls and controls on issuance of certificates,” said Stephane Chardon, chairman of the Kimberly Process working group responsible for re-admitting Congo. “You must be able to trace the diamonds from the mine to the export points.”
For its part the United States’ Clean Diamond Trade Act, which was implemented in 2003, prohibits “the importation into, or exportation from, the United States of any rough diamond, from whatever source, that has not been controlled through the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme.”
The European Union’s position on conflict diamonds, meanwhile, was articulated in a 2001 position paper that affirmed that the EU and its member states “shall support and contribute to the efforts of the international community to break the link between conflict diamonds and the financing of armed conflict.”
Nevertheless, the struggle against conflict diamonds is far from over.
Even though the guns have fallen silent in Cote d’Ivoire’s civil war, for example, the country remains split in half between a southern region controlled by forces loyal to the government of President Laurent Gbagbo and a northern and western one under the sway of the Forces Nouvelles rebel movement.
In October of this year, the United Nations Security Council renewed diamond sanctions against Cote d’Ivoire due to its concerns about the production and illicit export of the precious stones. The U.N. also requested that the Kimberley Process continue to communicate information to the body regarding the issue.
“The process certainly restricts the trade in blood diamonds, but it hasn’t totally eradicated it,” said Ayesha Kajee, a program director with the International Human Rights Exchange at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, South Africa. “But, in itself, this case is an indication that the Kimberley process has succeeded to some extent.”
by AGavin on December 3rd, 2007
Source: All Africa
Following the growing interest in the on going Diamond Bank Plc’s $400million Global Depositary Receipts (GDRs), the bank has extended its offer.
The Domestic GDR Offer, which opened on Tuesday November 20, 2007 will now close on Monday December 10, 2007, the same time with the international offering ($100 million), which is expected to open this week after which the settlement price of the offer will be determined.
Specifically, Diamond Bank is offering US$400 million through a domestic GDR and an International offer of US$100 million.
And if feelers from the banking industry are anything to go by, the bank’s ongoing $400 million GDRs offering is receiving patronage from investors, especially following the bank’s road shows held in Nigeria and some strategic cities the Europe.
THISDAY checks revealed that during the road shows, which commenced a few days ago in London and Frankfurt, and later in other parts of Europe and United States of America, the offer was well received. Major stakeholders are said to be convinced of the success of the offer given the positive feedback from potential investors.
A source said what facilitated the acceptance and endorsement was the bank’s impressive results and performance in the last three financial years.
According to the source, “the bank’s commitment to excellent service, innovation, investment in people, business integrity and good corporate governance are the key catalysts for its growth, as it has clear strategies to take advantage of many opportunities in the emerging markets and to continuously position itself as a leading brand in the financial industry”.
Each of the GDR represents ownership of 100 shares of Diamond Bank shares. After the conclusion of the offer and allotment, the GDR will be listed on the Professional Securities Market (PSM) of the London Stock Exchange (LSE) and traded independently from the underlying shares. Investors however, have the option of converting the GDRs to ordinary shares of Diamond Bank upon allotment. The reference price of $13.75 per GDR translates into N16.50 per Diamond Bank share at a reference exchange rate of N120/US$1. Investors can pay either in dollars or Naira and have the privilege of earning dividends in dollars
During the road show in Lagos, the Managing Director of Diamond Bank, Mr. Emeka Onwuka, explained that the London listing of the GDR is an important step in the evolution of Diamond Bank’s strategy and is aimed at raising capital for growth, attracting new shareholders and raising its international profile. The offer prospectus, he explained, indicates that the proceeds will be used to grow and develop the bank to a reputable financial conglomerate.
He said it will also enhance the leadership position of Diamond Bank in the middle market as well as enhance product and industry expertise in the corporate sector.
The offer proceed will also enable the bank to expand its footprint through traditional and electronic channels in order to seize the retail wave, enter new business segments like Mortgages; Insurance and Investment Banking.
The bank is also expected to strengthen its West Africa expansion towards capturing the growth opportunities in that axis
Diamond Bank is one of the strongest banks in the country and its core strengths lies in its unique Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) business model, which has made the Bank a leading bank in small to medium size enterprise market.
The bank’s market track record covers the diverse Micro, Small and Medium scale Enterprises (MSMEs) sector.
The bank had its first major foreign equity capital injection in April 2007 when an international consortium led by Actis Capital LLP, as strategic investor, injected $134 million into the Bank. The investment gave Actis a 19.1 percent stake in the Bank. Actis is a leading private equity investor in emerging markets, having significant investments across Africa, China, India, South East Asia and Latin America. Actis’ approach to investment is long-term and partner-oriented.
Morgan Stanley & Co. International plc is the global co-ordinator and sole bookrunner of the GDR offering while Vetiva Capital Management Limited is acting as domestic co-ordinator and joint domestic underwriter. The other Domestic Underwriters are IBTC Chartered Bank Plc, PlatinumHabib Bank Plc, Access Bank Plc, Ecobank Nigeria Plc, BGL Securities Limited, Afribank Capital Markets Limited, Fidelity Bank Plc, Greenwick Trust limited and Sterling Capital Markets Limited.