Zimbabwe is set to drop an empowerment rule requiring local investors to control diamond and platinum mines as it is hampering foreign direct investment, government officials have said.
It will be scrapped and foreigners will be allowed to own 100% in a bid to revive investment.
“We are removing that indigenisation rule, which is discouraging foreign direct investment,” Bloomberg quoted finance minister Mthuli Ncube as saying in an interview with Bloomberg Television in Washington.
“We say Zimbabwe is open for business; you can only be open if you allow ownership of 100%.”
Mines Minister Winston Chitando also said in a separate interview that the new rules could be extended to diamond mining.
The changes to the ownership rules would need parliament approval.
Zimbabwe revised the empowerment law in March 2018, but limited majority ownership by locals and State-owned companies to only diamond and platinum mines.
Zimbabwe’s new president Emmerson Mnangagwa was battling to re-boot the economy that crumbled under the long rule of Robert Mugabe, who was forced to resign in a bloodless coup in November 2017.
The former president was a strong believer in the empowerment law.
The Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Act was designed to increase black Zimbabweans' share of the economy but were opaque and open to abuse, to the detriment of foreign investor confidence.
Zimbabwe holds the world’s second-largest known reserves of platinum-group metals after South Africa.
It also holds considerable deposits of gold, diamonds, lithium, iron ore, coal, chrome and nickel.