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Zimbabwe Minister Orders Foreign-Owned Banks to Transfer Majority Stakes to Locals

Zimbabwe's indigenization ministry has ordered all foreign-owned banks operating in the country to start transferring majority stakes to local people as it rolls its controversial empowerment program in the financial sector.

Legal adviser Psychology Maziwisa told Studio 7 that several executives of foreign-owned banks who met with Indigenization Minister Saviour Kasukuwere Tuesday indicated that they will comply with the law.

Maziwisa said at least two of the banks have already made some initiatives to offload a 51 percent stake to indigenous people as prescribed by the empowerment law.

Central bank governor Gideon Gono protested the move Monday saying the banking sector should not be indigenized.

Gono suggested that anyone who wants to venture into the sector should apply for a license to operate a private bank.

Maziwisa said foreign-owned banks are expected to start transferring shares to locals as soon as possible.

"We have successfully implemented this program in the mining sector and hope that the banks will comply with the country's empowerment regulations," said Maziwisa.