The diamond industry plays an important role in the socio-economic development of several African countries, given that 65% of the world's diamonds, with an annual value of 8,5 billion American dollars are extracted from the continent. Globally, it is estimated that 10 million people benefit either directly or indirectly from the diamond industry. ln Southern Africa, countries such as Botswana, Namibia and South Africa are realising substantial socio-economic gains from the diamond industry. For instance, diamond revenues in Botswana enable all children up to the age of 13 to receive free education and in Namibia the diamond sector contributes 40% of the country's annual export earnings2 World leaders, including the late Nelson Mandela have outlined the socioeconomic importance of diamonds to the lives of African people.
However, in Zimbabwe the situation is the opposite of what is happening in its neighbouring countries. After the discovery of huge diamond deposits in Marange in the mid-2000, the expectation was thatdiamond revenues will contribute significantly to national development but the industry has been a disappointment. This sentiment is expressed in the 2016 National Budget Statement by the Minister of Finance and Economic Development stateswherein he statedthat, 'this is a resource that seems to have not benefitted the generality of our people .... "
In this context, the Committee on Mines and Energy sought to follow the objectives below;
• To unpack the underlying causes of the poor performance by the diamond industry;
• To analyse the contributionof diamonds to Treasury; and
• To analyse the socio-economic impacts of consolidation of diamond mines.