A Total of USD 75,000 was collected at a fund-raising event held at the end of the just concluded First Arusha International Gem, Jewery and Minerals Fair (AIGJMF).
The amount will be used to empower Tanzanian women to engage more in cutting, polishing and designing minerals extracted within the country.
To start, with 15 Tanzanian women will benefit from the training programme, which will be tailored to enable them become experts and trainers of other women wishing to join the jewelry polishing industry.
“The idea is meant to heed the government call for minerals to be processed within the country. And you cannot start doing that without having skilled personnel in the sector,” said Abe Latif Suleiman, who is chairman of the organising committee of the AIGJMF.
The move will be implemented by the AIGIMF foundation and the first women receive the training will be picked in a competition to be held soon.
According to Suleiman, the programme will be sustainable so that more women engage in the mineral cutting and polishing industry. The programme is expected to start very soon as experts and officials from the Ministry of Energy and Minerals were working on the proposed project, said the AIGJMF chair.
Suleiman said in implementing the programme several actors would be involved in designing and implementing it. Among the actors who will add their inputs include the Tanzania Women Miners Association (Tawoma).
“These kinds of training will contribute a lot to the development of the sector, which employs a large number of people across the country,” he stressed.
He commended the responsible ministry and its departments for organising the fair, which in turn will bring more mineral buyers from across the world.
Opening the fair, Energy and Minerals Minister William Ngeleja called on prospective investors in the mining sector to start investing in mineral value addition activities, saying the move will create more jobs and improve revenue collections from the industry.
“We’re encouraging investors to invest in value addition activities in Tanzania and will be given specific licenses and recognition, as investors because that is what we want to encourage and call investors in adding value to our gemstones,” said Suleiman.
He noted that the government would continue to promote investments in the fabrication and manufacturing sectors to stimulate beneficiation as well as promoting investments in the lapidary, stone carving and jewellery making.
The fair brought together exhibitors from east, central and southern Africa who offer a wide-ranging colored gemstones and diamonds and potential buyers from all-over the world.