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An analysis of the commercial potential of Ethiopia’s coloured gemstone industry

An analysis of the commercial potential of Ethiopia’s coloured gemstone industry

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Author(s): Dr. Yolande Kyngdon-McKay, Angela Jorns, Barbara Wheat and Tom Cushman, with contribution from Anna Barker, Estelle Levin-Nally and Sileshi Nemomissa

Client(s): World Bank Group

This scoping study of Ethiopia’s colored gemstones industry examines the following: the present state of the industry, primarily in commercial and social development terms; which features of the industry and its governance are either improving or limiting its commercial success, and why; and the key ‘lessons learned’ from what other gemstone producing countries around the world have done to commercialise this industry, and how they could be constructively applied to the Ethiopian context.

The study was motivated by The World Bank’s recognition of the Ethiopian government’s desire to further develop its colored gemstone sector, and the five-year plan it launched in January 2015 with that goal in mind. A clearer understanding of the commercial realities of this sector and how it is governed will improve The World Bank’s ability to potentially work with the government to help it realize its objectives for this important industry.

This report’s case study analyses of Afghanistan, Australia, Brazil, Madagascar, Nigeria, Sri Lanka and Tanzania identify the ways in which these countries have worked to establish functional colored gemstone industries and improve their commercialisation. Like Ethiopia, some of those countries are developing, while others have long histories of strong economic performance. Positive and negative lessons can be learnt from these case studies in terms of how these countries have realised, or struggled to realise, their goals, and both are valuable for illuminating the path that Ethiopia could potentially take.

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