World leaders in the diamond industry will converge in Windhoek, Namibia for the International Diamond Conference 2015.

Themed ‘Omugongo, A Cut above the Rest’, this prestigious event will be held at the Safari Conference Centre, where industry players will deliberate on the challenges facing the industry. In the local dialect Omugongo is a ‘great tree under which society comes together to discuss matters affecting the community in a democratic manner’ and the overall theme of the Conference will focus on the ‘Challenges facing diamond beneficiation in Southern Africa: How can we make this industry viable and sustainable’.

The Namibian Minister of Mines and Energy Obeth Mbul Kandjoze (MP) will open the two-day Conference between November 24 and 27 which will be coordinated by industry expert Chaim Even-Zohar.

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And speakers will include Zimbabwe Minister of Mines and Mining Development Walter K. Chidakwa; CEO at Namibia Diamond Trading Company (Pty) Ltd Shihaleni E Ndjaba; Burhan Seber, President of the Diamond Manufacturers Association of Namibia (DIAMAN) and Kombadayedu Kapwanga, President of the Chamber of Mines of Namibia among others.

The diamond industry accounts for about 30 per cent of Namibia’s export revenue, and the southern African country has a 50-50 joint venture partnership with the De Beers Group and together the two have implemented a long-term economic development plan that aims to build a self-sustainable national gem-cutting industry.

“The highest quality diamonds and one of the world’s largest alluvial diamond deposits are found in Namibia. “Namibia’s diamonds fetch the highest prices because they are of high quality, pure carbon, spotless and they don’t disintegrate…what we don’t have in quantity is made up in quality,” the Diamond Commissioner of Namibia Mr Kennedy Hamutenya said in 2014.

“Namibia’s Atlantic coast area holds an estimated 80 million carats of gems, which were carried to the sea by the Orange River and could be mined beyond 2050,” Mr. Hamutenya added.

At the end of the Conference, participants will attend a Gala Dinner exclusively hosted at the Parliament Gardens, courtesy of the National Assembly, opened by Namibian   Prime Minister Ms Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila.

Former Miss Namibia and Miss Universe Michelle McLean-Bailey will be the host of the evening.

Ms McLean-Bailey is a philanthropist and founder of a number of charitable organisations, including the Michelle McLean Primary School and the Michelle McLean Children’s Trust, both in Namibia, growing opportunities for children through education.