AWDC CEO Ari Epstein showing
President Koroma around the
Antwerp diamond district.
(IDEX Online) – Sierra Leone President Ernest Bai Koroma visited the Antwerp diamond sector on Tuesday, the Antwerp World Diamond Centre (AWDC) reported.
"The visit of the presidential delegation underscores the importance of the trade relations between Sierra Leone and Antwerp’s diamond industry," the AWDC said in a statement. "A significant part of Sierra Leone’s diamond production is in fact traded in Antwerp."
AWDC CEO Ari Epstein said, “We are very honored to welcome President Komora. Sierra Leone is an important partner for the Antwerp diamond industry. In 2012, Antwerp imported 42 percent of Sierra Leone’s total diamond production, which translates to 45 percent of the total value of the country’s production. The average price per carat of a diamond mined in Sierra Leone amounted to $301.56 in 2012, which demonstrates the high quality of the country’s diamonds.”
Despite being a relatively small diamond producer, Sierra Leone's production is high quality, the AWDC said, citing the ‘Star of Sierra Leone’, a 968.9-carat diamond which is the third-largest rough diamond ever found. Harry Winston purchased the diamond in 1972 for $2.5 million.
During his visit to the Antwerp diamond community, President Koroma was given a tour of the Diamond Office, the HRD diamond lab and the Antwerp Diamond Tender Facility. The AWDC visit was part of a five-day official visit to the Benelux countries. President Koroma will also take part in the fourth EU-Africa summit on April 2-3.
President Koroma was first elected President of Sierra Leone in 2007, and was re-elected in 2012.