Zimbabwe plans 100 per cent “local control” of minerals, land

Harare | Reuters — Zimbabwe will demand 100 per cent local control of its minerals and land under planned changes to its controversial black economic empowerment law, which has largely kept some foreign investors away, the finance minister said on Wednesday.

Patrick Chinamasa’s comments are sure to add to an already confused picture over policy in Zimbabwe, where the ruling ZANU-PF party has long tried to lift black ownership in the economy in a bid to rectify the imbalances of the colonial era.

The Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Act, which compels foreign-owned companies, including mines and banks, to sell at least 51 per cent shares to blacks, was signed into law by veteran President Robert Mugabe in 2008.

Chinamasa told parliament that the cabinet had directed the minister of youth and empowerment to amend the law.

“Any investment, which come into the sectors affecting our resources, it is very important that they know that we have 100 per cent control over these resources,” Chinamasa said in response to a question in parliament.

“The underlining philosophy is that we should have more and more local participation in our economy. Over that philosophy there is no retreat,” he said.

Chinamasa did not specify what he meant by “control” but in the past he has used the word interchangeably with ownership.

It was also not clear whether the new policy would affect existing investors such as the world’s top two platinum producers Anglo American Platinum and Impala Platinum.

— MacDonald Dzirutwe is a Reuters correspondent based at Harare, Zimbabwe.

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