Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment in Zimbabwe

From Pindula

The Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment (IEE) Act is a Zimbabwean law encouraging and requiring local ownership and control of companies in the country. Some industries are reserved for Indigenous African Zimbabweans, while foreigners can own up to 49% on others. The initial act in 2008 required 51% indigenous shareholding in all businesses with a net asset value of US$ 500 000.

The law can be downloaded here: File:Indigenisation Economic Empowerment Act - March 17 2008.pdf.

Background and Principle

The Indigenisation law was put in place following the recognition of the need for creating a business environment of equal opportunities for all regardless of race. The government also had the objective to have indigenous Zimbabweans own & benefit from the exploitation and utilization of the country's natural resources. The general spirit of the law was the recognition that even though Zimbabwe had attained political independence, economic independence had not been fully attained as African Zimbabweans remained poor, hence the stated principles:

  • Commitment to underpin our political sovereignty through economic independence.
  • The need for broad-based participation in the indigenisation process as opposed to the enrichment of a few individuals only.
  • To democratise ownership of productive assets of the country.
  • Promote procurement of goods and services from indigenous businesses.

Saviour Kasukuwere as Minister

Saviour Kasukuwere was the first minister of Youth Development, Indigenisation and Empowerment, serving between 2009 to 2013. He was replaced by Patrick Zhuwawo in 2013 ,President Robert Mugabe's nephew.

Patrick Zhuwawo as Minister

2015 - 2016

In 2015, foreign owned companies were given a new deadline of 31 March 2016 to submit Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment compliance plans.

Between 2015 and 2016, the Youth, Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Minister, Patrick Zhuwawo was reported to have caused confusion on the terms of the Indigenisation law by announcing that foreign owned companies had the March 31 deadline to submit Indigenisation compliance plans or risk being shut down. The move was seen as negatively aggressive and fellow Zanu-PF minister Patrick Chinamasa publicly defended foreign owned banks arguing that they had already complied with the Indigenisation law.[1] President Mugabe had to step in after the deadline to clarify that banks fell under the Banking Act essentially siding with the Chinamasa. Zhuwawo later conceded that he had possibly misinterpreted certain things about the act:"I am appointed by the President and as l take directions, it is quite possible that l can misinterpret certain things. I must be able to listen to my boss when my boss explains that l am misinterpreting certain things," [2]


  1. Victoria Mtomba, Chinamasa vs Zhuwao, The Standard, Published:3 April 2016 , Retrieved: 24 April 2016
  2. Happiness Zengeni and Golden Sibanda, Indigenisation feud: President steps in, The Herald, Published:13 April 2016, Retrieved: 10 April 2016