HomeBusinessEmpowerment rhetoric driving away investors

Empowerment rhetoric driving away investors

Mashakada said rhetoric from some ministers pushing for ultra-nationalist black economic empowerment had emerged as the biggest threat to efforts to attract investment into the country.


Zanu PF says this year it would push for policies enabling locals to take over foreign-owned companies despite opposition from its partners in the inclusive government.

The controversial empowerment laws are set to anchor Zanu PF’s campaign strategy ahead of elections that might be held this year.

In an interview with Standardbusiness, Masha-kada said there was an urgent need to reign in some ministers whose utterances threaten to reverse the economic growth path that Zimbabwe has been pursuing since 2009.

“There is a need to contain radical elements that are partisan,” Mashakada said.

“They are always pronouncing ultra-nationalist sentiments and pseudo-socialist lines.

“Moreover, their rhetoric is based on hate speech and empowerment which is not government policy.

“The year 2011 is a game changer, we have to work harder to improve our country’s image and sovereign risk rankings,” he said.

Lately, Youth Development, Indigenisation and Empowerment minister, Saviour Kasukuwere has made headlines advocating for the take-over of foreign businesses that do not incorporate locals in their shareholding structures.

He recently opposed Canadian firm Whitestone Minerals’ planned listing on the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange saying it does not comply with the empowerment laws that stipulate that foreign-owned companies must cede 51% of their shareholding to locals.

Mashakada said although the law was noble, it was now being abused by individuals for “self-aggrandisement.”

Zimbabwe’s economy has registered positive growth since the formation of the unity government two years ago.

But the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank have warned that the growth can only be sustainable if there were far-reaching political reforms.

The economy grew by 5,7% in 2009 and 8,1% last year.  Finance minister Tendai Biti says he expects the economy to grow by another 9,2 % this year.

Mashakada said to help sustain the growth his ministry was working on an investor-friendly bill and other private sector initiatives to boost industry’s productivity levels.

“The programmes, which we are formulating, are aimed at improving and providing lines of credit to the private sector as well as an industrial policy that protects their interests in the face of an influx of foreign commodities’ on the local market,” the minister added.

He said his ministry would work closely with Elton Mangoma’s Energy and Power Development portfolio to ensure that the country had enough electricity to power its industries.

“Last year a number of energy sector investors were identified, have been approved and will be embarking on private-public partnerships,” Mashakada said.

Industry players say the country’s frequent power cuts are crippling their efforts to increase capacity utilisation.

Recent Posts

Stories you will enjoy

Recommended reading