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Truths about the Zimbabwe’s Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Act
Derek Matyszak, Research and Advocacy Unit Zimbabwe
April 06, 2010

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The Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment (General) Regulations, 2010, Gazetted on the 29th January, 2010, with an effective date of 1st March 20101, have generated heated debate. The proclaimed objective of the Regulations is that every business with an asset value of or above $500 000 must, within five years, cede a controlling interest of not less than 51% of the shares or interests therein to indigenous Zimbabweans unless a lesser share, or longer period within which to achieve the indigenisation, is justified.

An indigenous Zimbabwean is defined in the enabling Act, the Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Act [Chapter 14:33] as:

any person who, before 18th April, 19803 was disadvantaged by unfair discrimination on the grounds of his or her race, and any descendant of such person, and includes any company, association, syndicate or partnership of which indigenous Zimbabweans form the majority of members or hold the controlling interest.

Given the racist policies of the pre-independence governments, this definition would exclude almost every white person and include every non-white person. In short then, the proclaimed intention of the Regulations is that all foreign-owned businesses and all businesses owned by white Zimbabweans or permanent residents cede a controlling 51% share to black Zimbabweans.

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