Public-private partnership boosts gemstones trade


Deputy Minister for Energy and Minerals Stephen Masele (Third R) visits a gemstones pavilion at Mount MeruHotel during this year’s International Gemstones Fair in Arusha. The deputy minister opened the four-day show October 28.

By Jaston Binala, Arusha

A partnership between the Tanzania government and the private sector is boosting the gemstone trade in the country through the Arusha International Gems, Jewellery and Minerals Fair (AIGJMF), chairman of Tanzania Minerals Dealers Association (TAMIDA) Sammy Mollel has conceded.

Talking to this reporter in his Arusha office, the Gemstones dealer said the boost is evident through the success seen in the two-year old gemstones fair being held at Mount Meru Hotel in Arusha. This year’s fair inauguration ceremony will be graced by the Minister for Energy and Minerals, Honourable Prof. Sospeter M. Muhongo (MP) this Monday.

The city of Arusha, in northern Tanzania, turns into a bee-hive of activity this week as jewellery traders from across the globe gather to buy and place orders for coloured stones from not only this country, but from the rest of East, Central and Southern Africa.

The Arusha International Gems, Jewellery and Minerals Fair planned for October 28 to October 31 is expected to be a major success this year, according to Mollel. The success building on last year’s gemstones fair achievement when deals in the vicinity of Tsh. 10bn/- clinched. But the success seen and anticipated results from working in partnership with the Government.

The private sector attempted to establish a gemstones and minerals fairs between 1992 and 1997 but this first attempt failed. The fair was re-established in 2012 in partnership with the government and all has changed, Mollel said. In the partnership, TAMIDA encourages local dealers to participate in the fair while the government encourages foreign stakeholders to attend the fair in Arusha.

The 2013 AIGJMF is expecting to have about 50 exhibitors from Tanzania, Kenya, Malawi, theDemocratic Republic of Congo, Zambia, Mozambique and Madagascar. The list will have some of the most reputable companies in the gemstones industry like Tanzanite One Mining Limited, Williamson Diamond Limited (Petra Diamonds), GEMFIELDS/Kagem Mining Limited (Zambia), GIA (South Africa).Participants are also expected from The Unites States of America, Japan, Thailand, India and Israel.

Mollelsays stakeholders in the industry wish very much that this partnership with the government is sustainable. The Tanzania 2009 Minerals policy seeks to turn Tanzania into Africa’s gemstones centre. The TAMIDA chairman believes this to achievable if the partnership is sustainable.

Tanzania hosts two gemstones unique in the world, the Tanzanite and green garnet. The only known deposit of Tanzanite in the world is near Merelani, in northern Tanzania between Arusha and Moshi. Tanzanite is a brilliant but slightly brittle gemstone ranging in colour from pale violet to deep blue-violet. But rubies, sapphires, and other coloured stones are also found in the country.

In the meantime, in order to make sure the 2013 gemstones fairs in ARusha provides sufficient goods to buyers expected from all over the world, the Government of Tanzania has suspended exports of gemstones from 7th October until 7th November, 2013.

A ministry of Energy and Minerals statement released a few weeks back says only goods bought at this year’s gemstones and minerals fair will be exported between the 28th October and 7th November, 2013.

The 2013 AIGJMF will give buyers the opportunity of buying rough tanzanite of any size following the temporary lift of the ban of export of rough tanzanite weighing above 1 gram from the 28th October to the 7th November, 2013.

The 2013 AIGJMF is expecting to bring together primary gemstone and mineral producers from Sub-Saharan African countries in one forum, along with renowned industry leaders. The fair is jointly hosted by by the Ministry of Energy and Minerals (MEM) of Tanzania and the Tanzania Mineral Dealers Association (TAMIDA)

Organizers say the 2013 fair will continue to build the foundation for an international consortium to consist of government representatives, buyers, sellers and industry experts who will work together to form the future of the gemstone trade in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Foreign attendants will be given mine tours to visit the source of the world famous Tanzanite stone in Merelani, organizers have have said. They will also be given opportunities to visit surrounding tourist attractions such as game parks, the oldest human foot print available on earth today and Maasai cultural tours.