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Indigenization on Agenda at Zimbabwe Business Exposition in Cincinnati

  • Gibbs Dube

Affirmative Action Group Secretary General Tafadzwa Musarara said that in addition to talking up Zimbabwean investment opportunities, he wants to enlighten Zimbabweans in USA about 'crippling' Western sanctions

The controversial initiative by the Zimbabwean government to take a controlling stake in foreign-owned enterprises including in the key mining sector will be aired at this year's edition of ZimExpo, a business exposition that opened Friday in Cincinnati.

A delegation from the Zimbabwean-based Affirmative Action Group, a leading proponent of the indigenization and black empowerment plan, was to make a presentation about the initiative to the Zimbabwean expatriates attending the three-day event.

The schedule also includes a soccer tournament on Saturday and a beauty pageant on Sunday in which the next Miss Zimbabwe USA 2011 will be selected.

ZimExpo Communications Director Chipo Mnkandla said the top items on the agenda will be investment opportunities in Zimbabwe and the so-called targeted sanctions imposed on President Robert Mugabe and about 200 other officials of his ZANU-PF party.

Mnkandla said there is strong interest in the indigenization program which ZANU-PF and its allies have been rolling out aggressively much like land reform in the last decade. But critics say the confiscation of controlling equity stakes in mining companies and other enterprises will only further discourage foreign direct investment.

Mnkandla said most Zimbabweans in the diaspora want details on indigenization "so they can think about investment opportunities back home."

Affirmative Action Group Secretary General Tafadzwa Musarara said that in addition to talking up Zimbabwean investment opportunities, he wants to enlighten Zimbabweans in USA about what he says are the "crippling" effects of targeted sanctions.

US officials and most independent observers say the Zimbabwean economy crashed in the last decade mainly as a consequence of the seizure of white-owned commercial farms, devastating the key agricultural sector and causing widespread hunger.

The European Union has also imposed travel and financial restrictions on Mr. Mugabe and his inner circle, as have Australia, New Zealand and other countries.

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