Zimbabwe this week started consultations on proposed new mining policies aimed at increasing the state’s role in the industry in everything from environmental management to marketing.
The move echoes the controversial indigenisation and empowerment law, requiring companies to divest 51 percent of their shares to indigenous (black) investors. The approach is different – with officials intending transparent in contrast to the secretive methods of the political radicals who pushed through indigenisation. But there is still much to worry the mining industry. Continue reading »
Investors appear to be getting pretty jittery about placing their money in projects in Zimbabwe, as official foreign direct investment figures from a government agency indicate.
After the country’s recent economic turnaround (post-dollarisation), investors are being turned off by the uncertain political climate, and the small matter of not knowing if they will be stripped of half a business. Continue reading »
Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe’s plan to hold a general election by June 29, when the current parliament will be dissolved, looks increasingly like a pipe dream. Do the maths and you’ll see that it is impossible for the country to hold a vote before the end of July at the earliest, the country’s finance minister Tendai Biti said.
“It’s a processing issue which will determine the date of the election,” he told beyondbrics from the sidelines of a talk at Chatham House, the think tank. “It is not possible to have elections before at least the end of July”. Continue reading »
On its own, the overwhelming “Yes” vote in Zimbabwe’s referendum on a new constitution means little.
Indeed, it is no more than the first act of a drama that will unfold over the next few months as the country moves towards presidential and parliamentary elections that will determine whether the economy maintains its recovery momentum or slides back into political-driven stagnation. Continue reading »
Zimbabwe’s beleaguered indigenisation policy has been dealt several big blows in the last few days. Alleged corruption, arguments over deal fees, calls for a parliamentary probe – and to top it all, even president Robert Mugabe criticising the process.
The controversial black empowerment policy, which forces foreign firms to divest 51 per cent of equity to locals, is one of Mugabe and his party, Zanu-PF’s key strategies. But is it falling apart? Continue reading »
It’s been a roller coaster week for platinum prices, which climbed in the middle of the week before sliding back at the close. Supply disruption in Africa is a dominant factor, analysts say, something that is set to continue driving prices. Continue reading »
Impala Platinum on Friday finally announced the long-awaited terms of its deal to sell a majority stake in its Zimbabwe operation to local black investors in response to president Robert Mugabe’s black ownership campaign.
In line with an outline accord agreed in March, Impala said in a statement that its 87-per-cent-owned Australian-listed Zimplats subsidiary will sell a 51 per cent stake in its mining business to local black investors for $971m, with Zimplats keeping the remaining 49 per cent. Zimplats will finance the deal, lending its new shareholders the money to buy the stock. Continue reading »
This week’s announcement that Zimbabwe will no longer evict owners from properties covered by international investment protection agreements has been derided as “locking the stable door after the horse has bolted” by John Worsley-Worswick, who heads Justice for Agriculture (JAG), an activist group. He has little faith in the pledge by Herbert Murewa, lands minister, to honour the terms of Bilateral Investment Promotion and Protection Agreements (BIPPAs) that Harare has signed with foreign governments. Continue reading »
Ever since the Zimbabwe government published its plans to localise majority ownership of the country’s mines, mixed messages have dominated the debate over investment and growth.
Last week was no different, with the finance minster, Tendai Biti, and miner Amplats making positive noises about investment which seem rather optimistic, to put it mildly. Continue reading »
For years Zimbabwe politicians have been prone to extravagant forecasts of the country’s economic prospects, embellishing projections with references to vast unexploited mineral wealth, limitless agricultural potential and dazzling opportunities in tourism and manufacturing.
But on Thursday Finance Minister Tendai Biti injected a note of stark realism into his 2013 budget. He downgraded GDP growth estimates for 2012 from 9.4 per cent in his budget a year ago and 5.6 per cent in mid-year to just 4.4 per cent. Continue reading »
Zimbabwe hosted its inaugural diamond conference on Monday and Tuesday to promote the industry, but instead has become embroiled in fresh controversy around the country’s diamond sales and tax revenues.
There are conflicting reports around diamond sales. While the Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation (ZMDC) and Ministry of Mines lament that sales are being hit by sanctions, critics argue that the companies are actually making huge sales but looting is rife. Continue reading »
Who knew insurance could be so toxic? Two British insurers have pulled out of an agreement to offer cover against political violence in Zimbabwe, in a curious turn of events.
Earlier this year, insurance broker RK Harrison Group approached Harare-based Champions Insurance about offering cover from Lloyd’s of London against political violence. In October, Champions said that a deal had been agreed for an undisclosed amount. But the plan is now off. What happened? Continue reading »
After months of soul-searching by both borrower and lenders, Zimbabwe’s Treasury bill market re-opened last week.
It’s a small start – less than $10m – but it’s a significant moment. What does it mean for the country’s finances? Continue reading »
Having survived a decade of national economic meltdown, Zimbabwe’s tourism sector is working at getting back on the world map. On Thursday its premier travel and tourism event Sanganai/Hlanganani kicks off in Harare, with officials reporting an increase in the number of foreign exhibitors from 24 in 2011 to 85 this year.
The big boost is from Chinese exhibitors, reflecting the marketing push to attract vistors from Asia. But will adding Robert Mugabe’s old residence to the tourist trail help? Continue reading »