May 30, 2019

African Development Bank Commissions US$ 1.4 Mn Study of Jewellery Value Chain in Three African Countries

The African Development Bank (AfDB) has commissioned a study of the value chain for jewellery manufacturing in three African countries -- Sierra Leone, Zimbabwe and the Republic of Guinea, with a particular focus on the potential it offers for job creation for women and youth.

Financed under the Bank’s Transition Support Facility, the US $1.4-million project – a value chain analysis study examining the sector’s contributions to value addition and job creation – will be implemented over 24 months, in coordination with the relevant ministries and agencies in all three countries.

This will be an initial study that will directly help to address the lack of skills and create a better understanding of adding value in the industry, with the ultimate goal of reducing fragility in all three countries and building resilience.

It will also help to “address the capacity gaps in jewellery manufacturing” and identify opportunities for the sector to be “scaled up through the provision of skills transfer and required technology”.

The AfDB believes that there is a possibility of creating “hundreds of jobs in each of the three pilot countries in addition to offering training in cutting, polishing and jewellery manufacturing for women and youth entrepreneurs operating in the jewellery manufacturing value chain”.

“The mining industry plays a critical role in many Sub-Saharan African economies and offers great potential for sustainable job creation, private sector development and women’s empowerment. However, the resource boom has provided limited opportunities for the local population. With this project, the African Development Bank invests in downstream activities such as jewelry manufacturing, to stimulate local economies, foster inclusive growth and integrate African SMEs into global mineral value chains,” said Bank Director for Gender, Women and Civil Society, Vanessa Moungar.

The ultimate goal in the longer term is to reduce “fragility in all three countries and build resilience”, AfDB said.

“Transforming semi-precious minerals and gemstones into jewellry, supported by training for value addition activities, holds the promise of creating more jobs and enhancing the lives of youth and women in the first three targeted African countries of the project,” said Cosmas Ochieng, Director of the African Natural Resources Centre.

The study will also explore how to enhance the welfare of the vulnerable groups identified, how to stimulate private-sector growth in the targeted countries, while addressing the issue of illegal migration from Africa to the West.

Media reports add that earlier this year AfDB also unveiled a US$ 61.8 million facility aimed at assisting women entrepreneurs in Zimbabwe and across Africa in realising their business goals.