The 37th World Diamond Congress will focus on financial issues facing the industry, says World Federation of Diamond Bourses (WFDB) president Ernie Blom.

The biennial meeting of the WFDB and the International Diamond Manufacturers Association (IDMA) will begin in just over three weeks, with the finance sessions set to provide critical information for the industry on the issue of liquidity and other financing matters.

Due to take place in Dubai from 16 to 19 May, the congress will address industry financing, with leading figures from the global trade tackling the subject and taking part in a panel discussion in which members of the audience will be encouraged to participate.


ABN Amro Bank’s head of diamond and jewellery clients, Erik Jens, will speak on the issue of key opportunities in financing the diamond and jewellery industry, and will be followed by De Beers’ head of commercial development, Howard Davies, who will address the congress on global financing options and requirements for the diamond industry.

They will then take part in a panel debate to be attended by the WFDB’s 30 bourse presidents and other exchange officials, along with counterparts from IDMA and more than 100 diamond industry representatives.

Amongst those joining Jens and Davies will be president of corporate affairs at Signet Jewelers, David Bouffard, and head of government and industry relations at De Beers, Feriel Zerouki.

Ernie Blom says: “We believe that the speakers and panellists, and the interactive discussion format during the congress will provide a comprehensive review of the nature of the financing issues affecting the diamond business and how we can best deal with them. Our aim is to provide a roadmap for the industry to help take it forward during these challenging times.

“For too long, industry members and the banks have not been on the same wavelength. We aim to correct this for the good of both parties. This also fits in with the overall themes of the congress: Transparency, Responsibility and Sustainability. We are moving ahead with a new era of working across all aspects of the industry, and this will be clearly seen at the congress,” Blom concludes.