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Zimbabwe’s indigenisation regulations

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This year the World Bank forecasted that the economic growth rate in Sub-Saharan Africa would reach 5.3%.  Adding to this positive projection, the Economist published an analysis conducted over the ten years up to 2010, which states that six of the world’s ten fastest growing economies were in Sub-Saharan Africa. For the period 2011-2015, the analysis forecasts that Mozambique, Tanzania, Congo and Zambia will be ranked in the top ten fastest growing economies in the world.

Zimbabwe stands a very real and frightening chance of being left behind by her neighbours. While the core philosophy of Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment is to restructure our economy and restore sovereignty to the previously disenfranchised majority, the proposed regulations fall far short of this aspiration. The Research and Advocacy Unit recently released a report titled “Racketeering by Regulation”. Noting political and selfish interests behind the regulations, the report says:

… simplistic interpretations placed upon the laws by the press have fed into the notion that white owned and foreign businesses will soon be dispensed as largesse to the ZANU PF faithful.

… Over the Regulations hover the spectre of the land invasions and the tacit threat that, if a business has not suggested a means by which 51% of the business can be transferred to indigenous Zimbabweans, the business will simply be seized in the same manner that land was taken from white farmers.

The regulations in no way make provision for the key ingredients required for creating wealth and prosperity for all Zimbabweans, being more concerned with expropriating existing capital. Myopically, Mr. Kasukwere failed to craft regulations that create a policy environment conducive to the creation of new wealth, and most especially encouraging entrepreneurship by young indigenous Zimbabweans. RAU’s report is aptly titled. The regulations create an environment that can only foster greater corruption and patronage by those in power.

Our Dear Leader and his government need put in place the right policies and provide the right environment and incentives for capital and businesses to come in, and for the creation of new business by indigenous persons. Government cannot punish foreign investors that already have a presence in the country with one hand, and beg for new investment with the other. It is contradictory and self-defeating. The survival of ZANU PF itself beyond the next election also depends on the success of their present and future policies regarding indigenization and investment. It is an oft-repeated fact that Zimbabwe has a significantly young population that is largely unemployed. It is this section of our society that is eagerly awaiting the disbursement of riches from foreign owned firms.  Only when tangible solutions to poverty and unemployment are delivered will the Third Chimurenga become more than another convenient political rallying point.

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