VENTURES AFRICA – Zimbabwe Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai has said the country’s laws that compel foreign companies to surrender majority stakes to local blacks is driving away urgently needed foreign investment, it was reported on Friday.
This is a clear sign that the Tsvangirai is not afraid to criticise President Robert Mugabe on his policies.
Mugabe has been advocating black economic empowerment in the country, saying companies should give away more than 50 percent of their shareholding to indigenous people. He believes this will develop poor people economically.
“That policy discord is what has led to the crisis of investment in this country,” Tsvangirai told his Movement Democratic Change supporters as he launched the party’s economic blueprint in Harare.
The two-year-old “indigenisation” law compels all foreign-owned companies to surrender 51 percent of their shareholding to black Zimbabweans in an attempt to reverse the inequalities caused by the country’s colonial past.
It is a key area of contention between Tsvangirai and his coalition government partner, President Mugabe.
The three-year-old power-sharing deal helped prevent the southern African country from tipping into a full scale conflict and stabilised the economy after bloody elections in 2008.
“Our plan is to transform Zimbabwe into a newly industrialised nation within a generation,” said Tsvangirai in what is seen as a precursor an electoral platform, ahead of a 2013 vote to end the uneasy coalition government.
“We intend to raise Zimbabwe from failed state status where perception and suspicion run riot within the investor community whenever Zimbabwe is mentioned as a possible investment destination.”