Africa's efforts to cut and polish its own diamonds get a boost

Africa's efforts to derive greater benefits from its mineral wealth got a boost Wednesday with the launch of South Africa's first black owned diamond cutting and polishing facility. Southern Africa accounts for more than 40 percent of the world's diamond output with Botswana being the world's largest producer of the gem and South Africa the third. Newcomer African Romance will take the precious stone "from mine to finger." "We want to create a model that says Africa can do it," said chief executive officer Mohseen Valli Moosa, adding that according to latest available statistics, South Africa produced diamonds worth 12 million carats in 2005, but only 1 percent were polished in the country.