Harare - Zimbabwe Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai Thursday
said the country's laws that force foreign firms to cede majority stakes to
local blacks is driving away desperately needed foreign investment.
"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% of their share holding to black
Zimbabweans in an attempt to reverse the inequalities caused by the country's
It is a key area of contention between Tsvangirai and his
coalition government partner, President Robert 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."
Tsvangirai said the indigenisation policy pushed by his
rival Mugabe is not the solution to the investment crisis and a runaway
unemployment rate of over 80%.
"The crisis we face... is opportunities for jobs,"
Tsvangirai who is to face Mugabe in the election said the
country needs to respect investors' property rights if it is to revive moribund
On Wednesday, Indigenisation Minister Saviour Kasukuwere, a
member of Mugabe's ZANU-PF party, warned that foreign companies which fail to
comply with the controversial law will face prosecution.
Tapiwa Mashakada, Zimbabwe's Economic Planning Minister and
deputy secretary general of the MDC said investors are avoiding Zimbabwe and
instead choosing the booming economies of Angola and Mozambique.
The law "kills investor confidence. You cannot bring
your money to invest in Zimbabwe when someone takes over 50%. Capital is
timid," said Mashakada.
Several companies like Zimplats, the Zimbabwean unit of
South African's Impala Platinum, and Anglo American Platinum's mine in
Zimbabwe, Unki, have submitted their plans to hand over majority shares to