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Kenya to export value-added gems and precious metals
July 16, 2017, 1:35 pm

Kenyan gems and precious metal traders are set to begin exporting finished products after the government established a value addition center in the south of the country

Kenya has previously exported gemstones such as tsavorite, blue sapphire and rubies in uncut raw form. But with the opening of the new processing center, Kenya is poised to begin polishing and setting these stones in jewelry prior to their export to international markets.

Announcement of this value-addition was made ahead of Kenya’s first Gems and Jewelry Trade Fair that took place in Nairobi on 6 – 7 July, and which attracted a large crowd of investors and buyers from around the world.

Organized in collaboration with the Association of Women in Energy and Extractives in Kenya (AWEEK), the trade fair is to become an annual affair aimed at boosting the country’s position in the global gems and precious metal industry.

 “We would want to be at the forefront, working with the ministry and working with government to re-establish Kenya as a gem hub and ensure that we are not only displaying our wares, but that this whole process can catalyze and catapult the industry to engage further in value addition,” said Chairperson of AWEEK, Lucy Githaiga.

According to the World Bank, the number of artisanal miners in Africa stood at 30 million in 2016 from about 10 million from 15 years ago. Though Kenya’s mining sector is a relatively small contributor to national output, accounting for less than one percent of economic output, its revenues are expected to grow in the coming years.

The government is already reviewing new mining legislation enacted last year to attract investment and get more people into the sector. “The new legislations are expected to promote mining as a sector and hence improve the standard of living for Kenyan miners, as mining resources are distributed fairly by the national government, and we’ve put this in law,” said Dan Kazungu, the cabinet secretary for mining, during the trade fair.

Government recognition and support is expected to further boost the industry by getting more small scale miners licensed and contributing to tax revenues after years of illicit trade and smuggling of gems out of the country.

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