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Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Inaugural Dubai Diamond Conference 2013

Inaugural Dubai Diamond Conference 2013 focuses  
on new global opportunities in changing diamond industry

The Dubai Diamond Exchange ('DDE'), a Dubai Multi Commodities Centre ('DMCC') initiative, announced a successful first day of its two-day inaugural Dubai Diamond Conference 2013 ('DDC 2013').

Hosted in Almas Tower in Dubai's Jumeirah Lakes Towers, DDC 2013 welcomed hundreds of participants including governmental delegations from South Africa, Zimbabwe, Botswana and Namibia. Also present were a range of diamond industry participants, representing companies and entities from all sections of the diamond supply pipeline.

Varda Shine (left), addressing the Dubai Diamond Conference 2013. Seated at the headtable are (from left) Eli Izhakoff, Welile Nhlapo, Vipul Shah, Ahmed Bin Sulayem and Peter Meeus.
In his keynote address to conference delegates, Ahmed Bin Sulayem, Executive Chairman, DMCC, made history by nominating Peter Meeus, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the DDE, as the first non-Western President of the World Diamond Council ('WDC').  

Ahmed Bin Sulayem said:
"The global diamond industry is no longer dominated by Western countries.  We have become a global community of producers, cutters, polishers, retailers and regulators.  To ensure the collective voices of Russia, Dubai, India, China and Africa are heard, I believe global institutions such as the World Diamond Council need to be helmed by leaders who recognise the issues facing these countries. Peter's unparalleled understanding of the global diamond market will allow him to act in the best interests of the entire industry and ensure it continues to evolve in response to consumer and producer needs."

Following his nomination, Peter Meeus shared insights into the history of the global diamond trade and how the industry needs to respond to the current changes:

"The focus of rough trading is moving to Africa, with African nations increasingly taking control of their mineral resources distribution. The bulk of the industry's diamond manufacturing, on the other hand, has long since moved to India, China and other Asian countries.  Dubai is ideally positioned, geographically and operationally, to serve a pivotal role in this ever-changing landscape. We are truly at the centre of the "New Silk Road" and will bring it to its full potential."

Varda Shine, CEO of the Diamond Trading Company, De Beers Group, provided conference delegates with her perspectives on the current state of the global diamond trade, derived from over 25 years of experience in the industry. She said:

"With Southern Africa becoming a global rough diamond trading hub, there will be tremendous opportunities for players in the diamond supply pipeline. As such, the development of new trade routes is likely to continue, as increased demand from Asian markets is expected. Dubai has shown remarkable resilience in grasping these opportunities."

Other notable speakers at the first day of the DDC 2013 included the Chair of the Kimberley Process Ambassador,  Welile Nhlapo; Ministers of Mines, Hon. Susan Shabangu of South Africa; Hon. Dr Obert Moses Mpofu of Zimbabwe; Hon Kitso Mokaila of Botswana;  Mr Eli Izhakoff, President of the World Diamond Council; and Mr Vipul Shah, Chairman of India's Gem & Jewellery Export Promotion Council.  

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