Recently, a lot has been said about the new diamond tracking system that the G7 aims to implement to ban Russian diamonds from its market. The key point is that all non-Russian diamonds must now be certified in Antwerp, Belgium, before being sent to other markets, Botswana Guardian News Reporter, Nicholas Mokwena argues, it is all hogwash, they are at it again.

Some African countries, as well as major diamond producers like De Beers have already raised concerns about its dangerous implications on global diamond trade. “While strongly agreeing that the time has come for the industry to be able to trace the origin of diamonds, we should be working together to meet these objectives but feel that the process that has been suggested will cause irreparable harm to the non-Russian industry,” presidents and members of the 27 diamond bourses said in the open letter to G7.

There hasn’t been any public feedback from the G7 so far, however Antwerp customs and diamond office started to implement the restrictions unilaterally blocking and holding the shipments entering Belgium “demanding the proper evidence of origin”. Apparently, some discussions behind the scenes are underway.

Africa – namely Botswana, Angola, South African Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Sierra Leone and some other countries – produces more than 60 percent of rough diamonds globally. The suggested tracking system won’t allow African countries to certify their own mined diamonds anymore – instead they should send them to Antwerp to get an approval from a kind of “G7 diamond bureaucrat”, before cutting, polishing or selling them. This means delayed processing of diamonds, as well as serious cost implications. While some African politicians called it modestly “unintended consequences” of anti-Russia sanctions, other prominent figures went on further to say what it really is – a direct assault on African sovereignty and independence.

For many African countries, proceeds from diamond mining represents a significant share of state revenues. Tens of millions of people across Africa are involved in the industry working in harsh conditions and putting their lives and health at risk every day. According to G7 initiative, they are soon to be fully at the mercy of a white person sitting in a cozy office thousands of miles away in Antwerp.

While European officials' talk in public is that Europe must take responsibility for the crimes of colonialism and the United States is tearing down monuments of white colonisers and slave traders, the reality on the ground - and in G7 leaders’ minds - is quite different. These countries are trying to put African resources and income in their control and thus enslave new generations of Africans. A new era of “hidden” colonialism is unfolding before our eyes, and the case for diamonds clearly demonstrates that.

The G7/EU countries, will control the trade and rules of diamond circulation, while blacks, that is, African countries, will take over all the hard rough diamond mining work for less than 2 dollars per day.

Whites will have the margins and control over the markets, while blacks will have the mines and the responsibility to prove that nothing has been violated, that is, the diamonds are not of Russian origin. Only a white man from

Antwerp can decide on the origin of diamonds – an African can never be trusted in this. Isn’t that a modern-day slavery for Africans, wrapped in “anti-Russia sanctions”? Is there really a big difference for Africans between the proposed system and slave camps created by white supremacist, Cecil Rhodes in Cape colony in the late ХIX century, where thousands of Africans died in diamond mines?

Once again – Africa produces over 60 percent of rough diamonds in the world. On the top of that almost 90 percent of world’s rough diamonds – including 99 percent of the African origin - are being cut and polished in India. The

G7 has nothing to do with it. And when the diamond market is set to rise amid tighter supply, bringing more money and prosperity to Africa, the G7 wants to put it in control and deprive us of our treasuries and profits. European and US wealth and prosperity was built on slavery and exploitation of Africa during colonial times. At the same time, it ruined to the ground some African nations, and many are still struggling to recover. Why should Africans tolerate a new way of exploitation of our land and resources? Antwerp has been the world’s diamond capital for centuries. Recently it was losing its shine as new global diamond hubs have emerged.

For Belgian Prime Minister, Alexander De Croo, who was one of key proponents of the new tracking system, this shift also might be considered as a loss of power and influence. In 2020, a statue of King Leopold II of Belgium responsible for the deaths of millions of people in Congo, was removed from a public square in Antwerp after long protests against racism. The new G7 diamond initiative, if implemented, will turn Antwerp into a global capital of the new era of colonialism.