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Zimbabwe Sets Up 50 Community Share Ownership Trusts

Community projects in Zimbabwe
At least 50 community share ownership trusts, each worth $10 million, have so far been set up by the government in conjunction with foreign-owned mining companies following the launch of the indigenization programme more than two years ago.

According to Psychology Maziwisa, the Ministry of Indigenization’s legal advisor, mining companies that are part of these schemes include Zimbabwe Platinum Holdings, Blanket, Mimosa and Unki Mine, among several others.

Maziwisa says the companies have donated millions of dollars as part of their proposals to comply with the indigenization law which requires them to transfer 51 percent shares to local people.

He says the community share ownership trusts registered by his ministry and being administered by the Ministry of Local Government and indigenous people, will in the long run broaden the country’s economic base by involving locals in the mainstream economy.

Chief Mbiko Masuku of Matshetsheni communal lands, Matabeleland South Province, agrees saying most people are happy with the Gwanda community share ownership scheme launched last year by President Robert Mugabe.

“The majority of people here say they are benefiting from the program as they have embarked on several projects such as the rehabilitation of irrigation schemes, construction of clinics and refurbishment of schools,” said Chief Masuku.

But according to Harare-based independent economist John Robertson, these community share ownership schemes will not create wealth for locals.
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Section 14 of the Indigenization and Economic Empowerment Act provides for the establishment of community share ownership trusts which are supposed to hold shares in qualifying businesses on behalf of their respective communities