Indigenisation Conference to be Held in Zimbabwe

A regional consulting firm in southern Africa says it expects the Government of Zimbabwe to give an update on the implementation of the empowerment programme while receiving input from stakeholders “on the way forward”.

The African Economic Development Strategies will organise the high profile Indigenisation indaba to be held next week.

AEDS spokesperson Mr Gift Mugano said yesterday given the indigenisation and economic drive already underway – as evidenced by the recently gazetted General Rules for the Mining Sector the indaba would enable Government to set the record straight while stakeholders present their ideas.

There have been concerns from some sectors that the programme had “potentially devastating” effects.

Others were calling for further engagement with stakeholders.

The empowerment regulations require all foreign owned companies, including mines and financial institutions, to localise at least 51 percent of their shareholding.

Already, close to 1 000 delegates mainly in Zimbabwe and from South Africa have confirmed to attend.

Speakers lined up for the indaba include Deputy Prime Minister Professor Arthur Mutambara, Mines and Mining Development Minister Obert Mpofu, Youth Development, Indigenisation and Empowerment Minister Saviour Kasukuwere and Industry and Commerce Minister Professor Welshman Ncube, Economic Planning and Investment Promotion Minister Tapiwa Mashakada.

Others are Chinese Ambassador to Zimbabwe Mr Xin Shungkang, chairpersons of various Parliamentary Portfolio Committees, Dr Donald Chifamba, an economics lecturer at the University of Namibia.

South Africa’s largest industry representative group, Business Union of South, will send delegates from its members, some of which are parent companies of local firms.

South Africa’s Black Economic Empowerment will be represented as well.

“The idea,” said Mr Mugano, “is to provide a platform for Government and players in business to meet and exchange notes on how best such a noble exercise can be undertaken.

“It is important that we include every stakeholder in the indigenisation, especially locals, as that would help in developing the country since they will not repatriate profits to other countries, but it must be a win-win situation.”

He added: “We want people to understand what Government is doing in its endeavour to empower its citizens. You will notice that there are some people who say we can’t get involved in the indigenisation exercise because we don’t have money.

“The main speakers have been drawn from across the political divide so that when they visit other countries on duty, they will be able to speak with one voice. Any discord on indigenisation will expose the whole project to vultures that would quickly pounce on that and accuse the programme of being party-driven,” he said.

AEDS, organiser of the indaba, is one of the few active and hands on Policy Research and Capacity Building institutions in Zimbabwe. Its mandate is to promote alternative development strategies and economic thinking to deal with African problems and issues following the global financial crisis.