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World Bank Expert Says Zimbabwean Laws Unfriendly to Foreign Investors

News reports quoted David Bridgman as saying the country, ranked 159th out of 183 nations in terms of economic competitiveness, and must overhaul its unfriendly business and investment laws to boost economic growth

A World Bank expert in African economies, David Bridgman, says Zimbabwe's stringent laws concerning investment and business make the country uncompetitive with respect to global competitors.

News reports quoted Bridgman as saying Zimbabwe, ranked 159th among 183 nations in terms of economic competitiveness, needs to overhaul its business-unfriendly laws to boost economic growth.

Bridgman said the nation’s corporate, real estate, labor, employment, collateral, commercial, trade and bankruptcy laws are a deterrent to foreign direct investment. Zimbabwe has lowered the cost of transferring property but has retained most of the laws that create a tangle of red tape when it comes to launching a business.

He said it takes 96 days to open a business in Zimbabwe at a high cost while in more competitive economies getting a new business off the ground can be done in one day at no cost. Customs hurdles hinder trade, he added.

Concurring with Bridgman’s conclusions, Bulawayo company law expert Kucaca Phulu told VOA Studio 7 reporter Gibbs Dube that said the country must revise its business laws if it is to become more globally competitive.

Elsewhere, economist John Robertson said continued calls for investment in Zimbabwe are being overshadowed by the implementation of indigenization, particularly following President Robert Mugabe’s warning this week to foreign investors that they must accept black Zimbabweans as partners if they want to do business in Zimbabwe.