News / Africa

Zimbabwe Softens Stance Towards Foreign-owned Shops

FILE - Customers shop at a Harare supermarket selling goods priced in foreign currency, Dec. 8, 2008.
FILE - Customers shop at a Harare supermarket selling goods priced in foreign currency, Dec. 8, 2008.
The government of Zimbabwe seems to have softened its stance of prosecuting foreigners who operate retail businesses reserved for indigenous people.  The government did not implement an earlier demand that foreign-owned business shut down on January 1.

I am in the streets of Harare where restaurants, pharmacies, auto parts shops and other retail businesses operate.  They are mainly foreign-owned.  Since January, shop owners have been jittery after the government asked all foreign-owned retailers to shut down to make way for black Zimbabweans.

In this particular area most of the shop owners are Nigerian.  This man we shall call “Ude” is one of the owners worried about the demand to close all foreign-owned shops.

He says rather than close foreign-owned stores, the government needs to encourage native Zimbabweans to enter the retail sector.

“The whole Zimbabwe, it sounds as if 75 percent of the retail shops across the cities are run by Nigerians, but we are actually involved in very insignificant numbers which will not make any significant economic contribution, even to the indigenization which is proposed," said Ude.

Zimbabwe introduced an "indigenization" law in 2007 which stipulates that foreign businesses must cede 51 percent control to black Zimbabweans.

But last year the government said it wanted blacks to have absolute control.  It gave shops owned by foreign businessmen until January 1 to close down.

I asked Zimbabwe’s indigenization minister whether the government had changed its position, given that these shops still operate.

“A number of companies have come forward and they want to comply.  All they wanted was full information and what it means.  And clarify what we mean as indigenous people and that has been clarified.  I am happy to say, a lot of companies that come to know that such laws exist within their own countries.  The major thrust is that we are going to indigenize and empower people," he said.

Since the start of of indigenization, analysts have called on President Robert Mugabe’s government to shelve it, arguing that it scares away investors.

The government has refused to back down,  saying the policy is meant to help black Zimbabweans who were disadvantaged by British colonialism.

The country's major mining companies seem to have complied, but whether the retail shops will do the same is an open question.

You May Like

Captured IS Militants Explain Why They Fought

Fighters from Turkey, Syria tell VOA Kurdish Service what drew them to extremism, jihad More

Security Experts Split on Kenyan Barrier Wall

Experts divided on whether initiative aiming to keep out al-Shabab militants is long-awaited solution or misguided effort More

Video Philippines Wants Tourists Spending Money at New Casinos

Officials say they hope to turn Manila into the next Macau, which has long been Asia’s gambling hub More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More