Ready for trade, but wary of indigenisation

France says it is ready to invest and create jobs in Zimbabwe but insists there is need for investor friendly policies.

French  Ambassador, Laurent Delahousse.
French Ambassador, Laurent Delahousse.

In an interview with The Zimbabwean, the French Ambassador, Laurent Delahousse, said the indigenisation policy had created anxiety among investors from his country wishing to do business here.

The policy compels foreign-owned firms to cede 51 percent of their shareholding to locals. Analysts have blasted the policy for scaring away potential investors vital to revive the moribund economy.

“Companies really appreciate the political stability brought about by the 2013 election but, of course, they would prefer an environment which is business friendly, an environment in which the rules are clear and do not change all the time.

“A lot of investors are a bit worried about the Indigenisation policy because they feel that it is not clear. It is difficult to invest in a country in which you do not have majority stake in your investments,” said Delahousse.

He implored the Zimbabwean government to invest in the energy sector as a way of attracting foreign investments.

“There are other issues which are linked to the economy like the issue of energy as well as other infrastructure. But a situation whereby 70 percent of the budget goes towards salaries means that the government has little money to spend on infrastructure,” said Delahousse.

Zimbabwe’s economic blueprint for the next five years, ZimAsset, needed to be well funded if it was to achieve the desired results, he added. Last year, Vice President JoiceMujuru concurred with economic analysts when she admitted that ZimAsset was fundamentally flawed.

“ZimAsset sets up the elements of a future strategy but it needs to be precise, especially on the financing aspect. If this is done, we feel things will go in the right direction,” said the ambassador.

He expressed satisfaction over relations between Zimbabwe and members of the European Union, saying “Some countries were politically at odds with Zimbabwe because of the measures but the EU has lifted almost all the measures so the political relations are getting better every year. I would say relations are good despite some misunderstandings,” said Delahousse.

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