WASHINGTON DC —
A visiting French business delegation has demanded clarity on Zimbabwe’s empowerment law saying they want to invest in a risk-free environment.
Head of delegation, Gerard Wolf told journalists that while conditions for investments have improved in Zimbabwe, they need guarantees that their investments would be safe in the country.
But emerging from a meeting with President Robert Mugabe and Finance Minister, Patrick Chinamasa at State House, Wolf said they had secured some of the guarantees.
He said French companies are looking for long-term partnerships in Zimbabwe hence the need for guarantees on their investments.
Chinamasa noted that Zimbabwe remains open to investment and government was doing everything to create a conducive environment to attract investment from all over the world.
He said government would soon come up with clear, consistent and predictable policies.
French Ambassador to Zimbabwe, Laurent Delahousse, said Zimbabwe also needed to be clear on the issue of property rights in order to attract foreign direct investment.
Lack of clarity on the country’s empowerment law and rampant violation of property and other rights by the state have been cited as some of the major stumbling blocks in attracting foreign investment.
Several business delegations from Europe have visited Zimbabwe to explore investment opportunities in the country but have raised concern over the lack of clarity on the empowerment law.
The law compels foreign owned companies to transfer majority stakes to local people. There have been conflicting reports on the revision of the indigenization law in government corridors with some ministers claiming that the piece of legislation will apply on a company basis.
But some ministers have dismissed these suggestions saying the law is not being applied by line ministries that have different empowerment thresholds.
The 10 companies which are represented in the French delegation have an annual turnover of $100 billion and employ half a million people globally.
Some of the major French companies currently operating in Zimbabwe are fuel giant, Total, and cement producer, Lafarge.