Mines minister Tom Alweendo says Africa has the opportunity and potential to capitalise on its diamond resources, if exploited in a responsible and sustainable way.
The minister said this at the Association of African Diamond Producing Countries 6th ministers' meeting, which ended in Windhoek yesterday.
"That way, we will ensure that diamond income is channelled towards building education and health institutions, improving road and network infrastructure and meeting other pressing social economic needs," he said.
Alweendo stressed that despite the continent's potential in optimising its benefits from mineral resources, diamond production and diamond producing countries still face dynamic threats and challenges.
The minister said in line with the above, ADPA's future role would aim to drive the mineral beneficiation agenda.
"This will be done through developing the diamond downstream industry through the exchange of relevant information and expertise in the area of beneficiation and mainstreaming of alluvial artisanal and small-scale miners into the formal economies," he said.
Alweendo added that the association needs to have adequate resources to assist members whose diamond production depends on under-developed alluvial artisanal and small-scale sectors to put in place the correct laws and replicate best practices among members.
At the same occasion, Namibia took over ADPA's chairmanship from Guinea.
Accepting the chairmanship for Namibia, Alweendo said there is a need to ensure the association is still fulfilling its objectives outlined in 2006 when it was formed.
"ADPA has a long journey ahead. It is critical that we all pull together to unlock the potential we have towards the success of ADPA and its people. I therefore call upon ADPA members to fulfil our obligations so that it can be an institution that brings about change in our economies," the minister added.
In a speech read on his behalf, Guinea mines minister Abdoulaye Magassouba said as Namibia assumes the chairmanship, he hopes it will help the association meet the challenges it faces.
He expressed hope that the association will have a huge impact on the development of member countries.