Zimbabwe says it will not seize control of foreign-owned companies under a new law designed to give black Zimbabweans a majority share of every business in the country.

Zimbabwe's Minister for Indigenization and Empowerment Paul Mangwana told reporters Tuesday that, in his words, "This is not going to be expropriation."

Mangwana said foreign-owned companies may get five to 10 years to adjust to the law. He said the government will match up companies with a partner only in cases where the firm does not find a Zimbabwean partner on its own.

Zimbabwe's government seized hundreds of white-owned farms under land reforms ordered by President Robert Mugabe in 2000.

Analysts have warned the new law could scare away the few foreign investors still involved in Zimbabwe's collapsing economy.

The country has suffered nearly a decade of economic decline, marked by food shortages and an inflation rate of more than 100,000 percent.

President Robert Mugabe signed the new law late last week as he campaigned for a sixth term as president. Mr. Mugabe says the law is needed to empower the country's poor black majority.

Zimbabweans vote in presidential and parliamentary elections on March 29.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and Reuters.