Mugabe woos Japanese investors during state visit

A controversial law, which says that foreign investors can hold no more than 49% of shares in companies they have set up, is deterring foreign investment in Zimbabwe. (Delwyn Verasamy, M&G)

A controversial law, which says that foreign investors can hold no more than 49% of shares in companies they have set up, is deterring foreign investment in Zimbabwe. (Delwyn Verasamy, M&G)

Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe on Monday promised that Japanese investors in Zimbabwe would be treated in a “robust and effective manner”, state-owned ZBC television reported.

Mugabe said Zimbabwe was ready to do business with Japan and ensure good returns for investors.

Accompanied by his wife Grace, Mugabe was in Tokyo on a five-day state visit to seek investment in Zimbabwe. The country’s economy is slipping back into crisis nearly three years after the president was re-elected to power in the country he has ruled since independence in 1980.

Critics and the opposition Movement for Democratic Change say a controversial indigenisation law, which says that foreign investors can hold no more than 49% of shares in companies they have set up, is scaring away would-be investors.

Mugabe’s nephew Patrick Zhuwao, who is Zimbabwe’s indigenisation minister, last week repeated a threat to cancel the licences of foreign and white-owned firms that do not comply with the law by April 1.

Mugabe’s comments came after he held talks with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. They signed an economic co-operation agreement, which would see Japan funding road rehabilitation in Zimbabwe, according to a tweet from ZBC journalist Clarkson Mambo.

The Japan Times said the pledge was for $5-million.

Abe was reportedly keen to get Mugabe’s backing for his bid to push for reforms of the UN Security Council. During a press conference, Mugabe complained about the “slow pace of reform” at the UN.

The official Chronicle newspaper reported on Monday that he had more than 13 scheduled meetings with Japanese government officials and companies. – News24

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