Business & Economy

Zimbabwe vows no reform of foreign ownership law

Zimbabwe will not relax foreign ownership laws that have been blamed for worsening the country’s dire economy, President Robert Mugabe’s nephew, who is now a government minister, said last week.
The 2007 indigenisation law requires foreign firms to hand 51 percent of shares to local partners, in what the government says is a policy to reverse imbalances resulting from colonialism.
‘The law is there, my role is to implement,’ recently-appointed indigenisation minister Patrick Zhuwao told delegates at a conference in the capital Harare.
‘I have been given the job. The job is not to debate whether the law is good or bad. The law is there, that’s it. Economic empowerment of Zimbabweans is non-negotiable.’
Zimbabwe’s economy went into a tailspin after Mugabe, now 91, launched reforms in 2000 forcing white commercial farmers off land to make way for black farmers. Critics blame the land reforms for a severe slump in farm production and agriculture employment.
Many companies have closed, downsized or relocated to neighbouring countries.
The International Monetary Fund said in its latest report that Zimbabwe faced ‘increasing economic and financial difficulties’, while the World Bank forecast annual growth falling to 1 percent this year.

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