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Zimbabwe Approves US$1 Billion Foreign Investments in 17 Months - Finance Minister

Finance Minister Tendai Biti was quoted by Reuters on Thursday as telling a business conference in Johannesburg that most of 199 approved investments from January 2009 through May 2010 were in the mining sector.

Zimbabwe approved foreign direct investments totaling some US$1 billion in the 17-month period from January 2009 through May 2010, Finance Minister Tendai Biti told a business conference in Johannesburg on Thursday.

Reuters quoted Biti as saying most of the 199 approved investments were in the mining sector. Companies including Zimbabwe Platinum Holdings or Zimplats have been sinking new capital into Zimbabwe mines to boost production.

For the most part, however, foreign direct investment in Zimbabwe has been lagging due to international concerns over the country's ongoing indigenization program and political tensions within the power sharing government dominated by President Robert Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, the former opposition leader.

Economist James Wade told VOA Studio 7 reporter Gibbs Dube that large-scale mining investment has boosted gold and platinum production which should "increase significantly within the next few months."