Challenge: understanding the realities of the sector
In 2015, Ethiopia’s Ministry of Mines, Petroleum and Natural Gas launched a five-year plan to further develop Ethiopia’s coloured gemstone sector. The World Bank wanted to support the Ethiopian government and the ministry to realise this objective. As part of its preparation, the World Bank needed an in depth understanding of the commercial realities in the gemstone sector and how it was governed.
Solution: a comprehensive desk and field-based investigation
Levin Sources provided the World Bank with an assessment of the contribution of coloured gemstones to the Ethiopian economy, with a particular focus on opals. This involved both desk-based and field research in gemstone mining, processing and trading locations within Ethiopia.
The assessment reviewed the state of the gemstones industry in Ethiopia, primarily in economic, commercial and social development terms, providing a situational analysis of the value chains and commercialisation of Ethiopia’s opals and other gemstones. The assessment also analysed the key risks and opportunities for value addition within Ethiopia and provided an overview of existing and potential markets and distribution channels for Ethiopian opals. In addition, a focus was put on the governance of the gemstone sector, analysing aspects that either improve or limit the sector’s commercial success.
Results: a strategic view of options
The assessment provided a strategic view of options for Ethiopia’s gemstone sector, as well as key recommendations for short and medium-term actions by the Ministry of Mines, Petroleum and Natural Gas. This also included key lessons learned from steps taken by gemstone producing countries around the world to commercialise their gemstone industry, and how they could be constructively applied to the Ethiopian context.