Zimbabwe’s MDC Unveils Economic Plan to Reverse Indigenization

Zimbabwe’s Movement for Democratic Change party unveiled an economic plan it said would reverse the effect of laws compelling foreign and white-owned businesses to sell or surrender 51 percent ownership to local black citizens.

The program, known as The Jobs, Upliftment, Investment, Capital and Environment Plan, or JUICE, aims to create 1 million new jobs from 2013 to 2018, expand the economy by 8 percent a year over the period and increase power generation to 6,000 megawatts, according to the policy document.

The Indigenization Ministry, led by Saviour Kasukuwere, has forced miners such as Zimbabwe Platinum Ltd. and cigarette makers including British American Tobacco Plc to draw up plans that will hand cede control within five years.

“The problem that indigenization poses is that it kills investor confidence,” MDC Economic Planning Minister Tapiwa Mashakada told reporters today in Zimbabwe’s capital, Harare today. “Capital is timid, so once you say you are going to take 51 percent, why not go Mozambique, Angola or DRC,” he said, referring to Democratic Republic of Congo.

The MDC and President Robert Mugabe’s Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front party share power under a 2009 agreement brokered by the Southern African Development Community after violence-marred elections in 2008 were declared void by the regional body. The country is scheduled to hold a general election in March.

Speaking at the same event, Prime Minister and MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai said the plan would “lift Zimbabwe from failed-state status” and establish a $100 billion “first-world economy” by 2040.

“The crisis we face for ourselves and our children is opportunities for jobs. Our plan is to transform Zimbabwe into a newly industrialized nation within a generation,” he said.

Zanu-PF spokesman Rugare Gumbo said the project was unworkable because “indigenization is a reality and it is not reversible.”

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