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Zimbabwe - from our correspondent

Mugabe says Zimbabweans must control foreign investors

Reuters

Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe says foreign investors must be willing to hand over majority shares to local people if they plan to invest in the country. In a speech broadcast live from a state funeral in Harare, Mugabe said the country does not need investors who did not want to come on his government’s terms.

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These were unequivocal words from the Zimbabwean president.

In a speech made at the national burial ground, Robert Mugabe said Zimbabweans must have a major shareholding in whatever projects outside investors want to set up.

“If people don’t want to come on those terms, then let them stay out,” he said.

In February Mugabe’s side of the government announced the indigenisation policy.

It’s highly controversial: whites and foreigners who own large companies must sell off majority shares to local blacks.

According to analysts that's likely to leave many a potential investor wary about putting money into the country.

Mugabe disputes that, pouring scorn on critics who believe the empowerment drive will chase away investors.

He accused young black executives of idolising whites by working in senior positions for foreign-owned firms.

Now it’s time for whites to be CEOs of black-owned firms, said the president.

His words sound very much like the beginnings of an election campaign.

Mugabe is adamant elections will go ahead next year – with or without a new constitution.

Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai of the Movement for Democratic Change is also keen for elections – but the fear of violence is growing.

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