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Zimbabwe Minister Summons Foreign Bank Executives Over Indigenization

  • Gibbs Dube
  • Jonga Kandemiiri

Zimbabwe's Indigenization Minister Saviour Kasukuwere has summoned executives of foreign-owned banks for a high-stakes meeting Tuesday to discuss the offloading of majority shares in the financial sector to local blacks in line with the country's empowerment policy.

Kasukuwere told VOA the meeting with Barclays, Standard Chartered and Stanbic bank executives is expected to kick-start the indigenization of the sensitive banking sector.

Barclays Marketing and Corporate Affairs head Dennis Mambure said the bank has made its submission to the indigenization ministry as required by the law.

“Engagements with the minister are on-going whose details are confidential at this point,” he said.

Finance Minister Tendai Biti and Reserve Bank Governor Gideon Gono strongly oppose the indigenization of foreign-owned banks arguing the move will rattle the sector and destabilize the economy.

The controversially-fashioned Indigenization and Economic Empowerment Act requires foreign-owned companies to transfer a 51 percent stake to local blacks.

Kasukuwere said all the banks are expected to comply with the law.

Commenting, economist Prosper Chitambara of the Labor and Economic Development Research Institute of Zimbabwe said indigenizing the banking sector will be disastrous for the country.

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