Zimbabwe: Mugabe seeks control of foreign firms

source: The Independent

By Basildon Peta in Johannesburg
Monday, 10 March 2008

Foreign firms operating in Zimbabwe will be required to give majority control to black Zimbabweans under a nationalisation law signed by President Robert Mugabe yesterday.

More than 70 British firms that have invested in Zimbabwe, including Lever Brothers, Barclays Bank, Standard Chartered Bank, BP, Rio Tinto, Merchant Bank of Central Africa and several enterprises owned by Anglo American Corporation, are among those likely to be hit by the new law unless they can persuade the government to halt its implementation.

But fighting a crunch presidential election in three weeks’ time, and eager to maintain the support of his cronies in the state security apparatus, Mr Mugabe is unlikely to back down on his new “empowerment” drive.

“It’s a catastrophe,” said Eddie Cross, an economist and former leader of the Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries. “This is totally unacceptable and many large foreign firms badly needed for economic revival in this country are simply going to abandon their businesses.”

Zimbabwean government sources said Mr Mugabe rushed to sign the [continue reading]

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