This year we will be running a dual theme at our conference. The goal of the conference is to highlight the importance of facilitating dialogue, advancing knowledge and information as well as informing regional and global stakeholders on the priority areas of intervention, to enhance the role of women across gemstones and precious metals value chain and how they can address mineral conflicts facing the region.
Gems Africa 2021 Conference
Gems Africa 2021 Conference
The Gems Africa 2021 Conference theme “Mines to Market” will to highlight some of the rare gems and colored stones in Africa that could improve the economic and social dynamics of their source areas which tend to be remote. More importantly, it will position and promote women in the region, involved in the business of mining many of whom are at grassroots level, to access regional and international markets.
Precious stones and gemstone value chains are particularly complex in Africa. The mining of these stones is predominantly through artisanal and small scale mining (ASM) whose activities are largely illegal and unregulated making it vulnerable to illegal dealings, corruption and conflict.
In Kenya, ASM accounts for over 80% of the annual gemstone and gold production with women and youth playing a major role (UNDP 2015). Kenya boasts of the availability of over 10 different precious and semi-precious coloured gemstones, namely: Ruby, Tsavorite, Yellow Tourmaline, Green Tourmaline, Red Garnet, Colour Change Garnet, Aquamarine, Amethyst, Iolite and Blue Sapphire.
The Gems Africa 2021 Conference theme “Africa Gems for Peace” seeks to play an important role in facilitating a dialogue, advancing knowledge and information as well as informing regional and global stakeholders on the priority areas of intervention to enhance the role of women across gemstones and precious metals value chain and how they can support address mineral conflict facing the region.
Several international efforts targeted at empowering women in peace building have been implemented. The United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 (issued in 2000) on women, peace, and security is the lead initiative at the global level spearheading women’s roles in peace building.
In 2015, the Peace and Security Department of the African Union Commission launched the 5-year Gender, Peace and Security Programme (2015-2020) to develop effective strategies to increase women’s participation in the promotion of peace and security and enhance the protection of women in conflict and post-conflict situations in Africa.
Despite the efforts, these frameworks have provided only limited guidance to the role women can play to ensure conflict-free mineral sourcing to promote peace. Consequently, the incorporation of the role and empowerment of women in mining in peace building efforts in the global, regional, and national peace building policies and regulatory frameworks is underwhelming.