In 2007, a South Korean geologist discovered large deposits of diamonds in Cameroon. To Cameroon, this discovery is particularly significant because it has the potential to engineer sustainable development. Cameroon suffers from acute levels of poverty, high unemployment, devastating levels of corruption, and bad governance. The spoils of diamonds could provide an undeniable avenue to engender sustainable development. However, if history is a guide, the examples of Angola, Sierra Leone, and Democratic Republic of Congo offer instructive lessons of destructive effects of diamond exploration in countries that are contemptuous of good governance and are experiencing lawlessness, economic deprivation, social unrest, and political instability. This essay provides a timely reminder to Cameroon on the consequences of mismanaged natural resources. It explores Cameroon’s socioeconomic condition, examines the history of diamond exploration and mining in Cameroon, and analyzes the implications for sustainable development.

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