Zimbabwe Bank Sale Plans Uninformed, Central Bank Governor Says

Zimbabwe Central Bank Governor Gideon Gono said plans to force foreign banks to sell majority stakes to black Zimbabweans are “uninformed.”

“The rush to indigenize the banking sector is more driven by emotions and uninformed perspective than necessity,” Gono wrote in the Zimbabwe Independent today. “International banks are among the country’s systematically important banking institutions whose condition needs to be safeguarded.”

The seven foreign-owned banks in Zimbabwe hold deposits of $1.3 billion compared with $3 billion at locally owned lenders, Gono said.

Under the country’s law, foreign-owned companies must sell or cede 51 percent of their operations to black Zimbabweans or the state-owned National Indigenization and Economic Empowerment Board. Barclays Plc, Standard Chartered Plc and the local units of South Africa’s Standard Bank Group Ltd. and Nedbank Group Ltd. have all submitted proposals to comply with the law.

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