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Swedish, Nature conservation freak, Passionate about Africa, Loving Peace, Politically neutral

Monday, 22 September 2008

Give the diamond back to the Lesotho people!

A huge diamond has been found in the Letseng mine in Lesotho. The so far nameless stone weighs 478 carats (95.6 grams) and is estimated to be worth tens of millions of dollars. The profit from the sale of the diamond will be distributed between the mine company Gem Diamonds, which gets 70%, and Lesotho people, which gets 30%. My question is now, is it fair the Lesotho people only receive 30% of their own natural resources? Why, why not?

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4 comments:

Illwill said...

Why not: Because the african people aren't able to create a working industry on their own. Without foreign companies the diamond would stay in the ground.

Why not: If the goverment got the money, the money would go to the goverment...not the people. They would perhaps spend the money on weapons, but that is hardly "for the people".

History has shown how they work. Genetics and science explains why.

Milton said...

Lesotho "people", you mean Lesotho GOVERNMENT? Not quite the same thing.
During all times, people have always co-operated, outsourcing things to people who do it better. It's not necessarily a bad decision for a small country to sell natural resources and receive a large amount of money in return. Yes, the mine probably makes money, but they also take risk. Not all mining operations are successful and profitable. Economy is a way of balancing risks and profits, and saying it's wrong for African countries to allow international companies is an over-simplification and probably based on intolerance, African nationalism and communism.

Censorbugbear said...

Lesotho has a population of less than 1,5-million people.

And most of them actually live in work in South Africa. The same is true of another tiny landlocked mountain kingdom - Swaziland.

Neither are viable countries at all -- Lesotho is a totally landlocked mountain kingdom with 10% arable surface, not bad for mountains, and which could actually be farmed commercially quite successfully if they bothered.

As a nation, the Lesotho are pretty easy-going and aren't nearly as poor as you might believe. They have some pretty good 'hidden assets' in fact.

First of all, the population greatly relies on the farming output from neighbouring South Africa -- with which they have wide-open borders.

So Lesotho 's people only need to raise food-crops on less than one percent just to feed their families with -- and the rest of their mountainous landscape can be used for the best cash-crop of all, and probably also the best-kept secret of Africa.

They raise some of the best yellow-mellow marijuana in the world there, and smuggle it out in huge quantities, quite literally on the back of mules, to the Western world through the southern African harbours.

So what makes you think the people of Lesotho are this poor that they need this diamond?

Just because they wear blankets and funny hats, live in round huts and ride around on Lesotho ponies doesn't mean they're all that poor.

Sometimes, one should just leave alone those things which aren't broken.

What would they do with this uncut diamond? First of all, they don't know how to cut it and would have to get some skilled diamond-cutter to do this for them.

They'd have to go to Antwerp or London to get this done and it will cost them an arm and a leg to pay for this skill...

Besides, the modern diamond-industry wouldn't even have existed if some very clever Jewish jewellery-cutter hadn't discovered how to cut facets to these stones several centuries ago.

What one actually pays for when buying any diamond, is the consumate skill used to cut it into all these sparkling facets - each diamond is an invidual work of art. At the moment, the Lesotho diamond is just a raw bit of rock, and if it's cut wrong, it could shatter into a thousand pieces.

And of course their very clever advertising campaign over the years also has assured that every woman in the world now wants a diamond from her man.

I don't see any Lesotho farmer having contributed in any way to developing this industry into the giant it is today except sitting on top of this mineral without doing anything with it for centuries.

Even so, their 'government' - while their shrinking population still survives the ongoing AIDS-TB epidemic they are being decimated by -- is given the right to cream 30% off the top of the profits of this mine, while the government and Lesotho's very few taxpayers have invested nothing in this venture at all.

They are all in a win-win situation down there - so stop whining and rather enjoy the work of art which this diamond is going to be turned into!

Geoffrey Goines said...

>illwill

Well, you cant explain these things by genetics. Only people who lack the knowledge in this field of science make those claims.


>milton

Good points. Thanks


>censorbugbear

Well, I am not saying that Lesotho people are poor. I am just asking if it is fear that they are giving away 70% of their natural resources.