Hard Currency : The Criminalized Diamond Economy of the Democratic Republic of the Congo and its Neighbours

"This paper describes the recent history of diamonds in Central Africa, and shows what must be done if the potential of diamonds is to be realized, and if their curse is to be laid to rest. The paper takes a regional perspective. The diamond economy of Central Africa is often researched from the perspective of an individual nation, but there is such a significant overlap in smuggling syndicates that the issue has to be addressed on a regional level, taking larger geo-political issues into consideration. Attempts to regulate the diamond trade in one country have traditionally led to increased smuggling through its neighbours. More recently, warlords — financed by diamonds — have moved with impunity across borders. Even worse, as this paper will show, the armies of several African countries have begun to prey upon the diamonds of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, latter-day limitators of the worst colonial looters, with more than a passing resemblance to King Leopold II and all that he stood for in Africa."