The Ministry of Mining in conjunction with the Association of Women in the Extractives Industry in Kenya (AWEIK) hosted Kenya’s first ever Gem and Jewellery fair in Kenya on 6-7th July 2017 at the Intercontinental Hotel, in Nairobi Kenya.

The two-day Trade Fair attended by Her Excellency Rachel Ruto, Congo DRC’s Minister in charge of Budget control Pierre Mbayi, Ambassadors of Ethiopia, Sudan, Mozambique, Botswana among other dignitaries drew over 200 guests. The fair, the first of its kind in Kenya also convened various women and youth groups as well as local, regional and international traders in gemstones and precious metals.

Speaking during the opening of the event, Cabinet Secretary for Mining, Hon. Dan Kazungu said, “The aim of the Gem and Jewellery trade fair is to not only position Kenya as a regional hub for precious minerals, value addition and trading but also to promote and create awareness among the youth, women and the general public of the opportunities available in the precious minerals sub-sector.”

Supported by the Kenya Chamber of Mines, the platform hopes to provide further business development services to its members by facilitating improved access to markets.

Kenya is endowed with over some of the world’s most sought after gemstones such as the blue Sapphire, Ruby, Tsavorite, Green and red Garnet, Aquamarine, amethyst among others.

Most of these gemstones are exported abroad in their raw form for processing and value addition fetching a much higher value at the expense of the miner. To increase revenue generation avenues, the government of Kenya through the Ministry of Mining has established the first Gemstone Value Addition Centre in Voi,Taita Taveta County, to enhance the value of our minerals in an endeavor to fetch competitive prices at the international market. “The value addition process will greatly encourage local miners and traders of these stones since they will now market finished goods instead of export them in raw form. Similar Value Addition Centres will be replicated in mineral rich counties to facilitate value addition. The Gem Centres will be for identification and certification, faceting/cutting, polishing and heat treatment. it will also provide capacity building and marketing”, said CS Kazungu.

Some of the challenges faced especially by artisanal and small scale miners in the gemstone sub sector include, lack of access to financing, little or no market access, inadequate capacity building and poor technological skills. This year’s Gem and Jewellery Trade Fair included showcasing of Kenya and the region’s finest and finished precious stones at an exhibition in which stakeholders in Kenya’s gemstone sub sector participated.

“With a fast growing Gemstone sub-sector, regional trade platforms such as the Gem and Jewellery Trade fair are aimed at creating opportunities and open up markets for local miners (both small scale and large scale) to redirect focus on precious stones and metals to Kenya”, he added.

The Gem and Jewellery Trade fair will hence forth be an annual event to afford the country a great opportunity to show case her mineral wealth and also encourage mineral rich communities to embrace mining as an economic activity that has immense potential to transform not only the socio-economic wellbeing of Kenyans but also contribute to the national economic growth through job creation and capacity building.

Similarly, the Trade Fair will present a platform for both investors and locals to interact market and share experiences on how best to maximize on the huge potential that lies in this lucrative and yet to be fully exploited sector.

Kenya’s mining sector is on a positive trajectory. In 2016, Kenya jumped 16 places to position 86 from position 102 in 2015, according to a survey conducted by Fraser Institute on the top global mining destinations. The mining sector in Kenya falls under the Ministry of Mining.

Lucy Githaiga

Lucy Githaiga, (L) Chairperson Association of Women in Energy & Extractives in Kenya (AWEIK), Pierre Mbayi (2nd left) Congo DRC Minister in charge of Budget control, Hon Dan Kazungu (2nd right) CS Mining and Prof Jacob Kaimenyi (R) CS Lands at the opening of the first ever Kenya Gem and Jewellery Trade Fair 2017 at the intercontinental hotel in Nairobi.

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Kenyan Jeweller and exhibitor at the Gem and Jewellery Trade Fair explains to Congo DRC Minister Pierre Mbayi and CS Dan Kazungu the various finished pieces.

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Aqua marine set of ring,necklace and ear rings on display at the Gem and Jewellery Trade Fair exhibition.

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Variety of ring accessories made from Kenyan mined Gemstones such as Green and red garnet, aquamarine, amethyst and the ruby on display at the 1st ever Kenya gem and jewellery trade fair

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Variety of ring accessories made from Kenyan mined Gemstones such as Green and red garnet, aquamarine, amethyst and the ruby on display at the 1st ever Kenya gem and jewellery trade fair

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Invited guests attending the gala dinner on day 2 of the Gem and Jewellery Trade Fair.

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Her Excellency Rachel Ruto the guest of honour speaking at the Gem and Jewellery Trade Fair gala dinner organized by the Ministry of Mining,AWEIK and supported by Kenya Chamber of Mines.

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Mining Principal Secretary Dr Ibrahim Mohamed speaking during the Gem and Jewellery Trade fair gala dinner.

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Alice Muthama of Rockland Jewellers Ltd(L) Lucy Githaiga (2nd Left), CS Dan Kazungu (2nd Right) present to Her Excellency Rachel Ruto(R) the Kenya 1 bracelet made from Kenya's finest gemstones, for President Uhuru Kenyatta

cs CS Mining Hon Dan Kazungu making opening remarks at Kenya's first ever Gem and Jewellery Trade Fair 2017

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