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Zimbabwe told to protect German firms
Photo: DPA

Zimbabwe told to protect German firms

Published: 04 Dec 2012 07:07 GMT+01:00
Updated: 04 Dec 2012 07:07 GMT+01:00

German Development Minister Dirk Niebel has warned Zimbabwe about a law that forces foreign companies to cede majority shares to locals, and called in particular for the protection of German firms in the country.

The "law is more likely to deter investors than to help create more wealth within your country," Niebel told a news conference in Harare on Monday. His was the first high-profile visit to Zimbabwe by a German official in 15 years.

The country has been shunned by western nations because of to violence and rights abuses blamed on supporters of President Robert Mugabe.

In 2010, Mugabe signed a law requiring foreign-owned companies to sell 51 percent of the firms to black Zimbabweans, and Niebel said this made German companies in Zimbabwe vulnerable.

"At present Zimbabwe's government does not guarantee the protection of German companies' investments even though it has made a commitment under international law to do so," he noted.

"I expressly call for compliance with the investment protection agreement for Germany companies," Niebel added.

He also voiced support for "a fair and credible" and violence-free constitutional referendum and election next year to avoid a repeat of events that marred the 2008 general vote.

Niebel held talks with Vice President Joice Mujuru and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, but said his visit did not mean that ties between the two countries had returned to normal.

Germany stopped giving direct aid to Mugabe's government in 2002 following violent seizures of white-owned farms and bloody elections.

Development aid would remain "suspended until democracy and the rule of law

have been restored," the German minister said.

AFP/mry

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

09:56 December 4, 2012 by twisted
To have anything to do with this dictator and his country other than minimal diplomatic relations is wrong. Pull the companies out.
10:43 December 4, 2012 by Berlin fuer alles
If these German companies were run ethically they would not be there in the first place. If you play with the Devil don't be surprised if he changes the rules during the game.
10:50 December 4, 2012 by blackboot11
@ Berlin fuer alles: You are SO on POINT with your comment above.
11:34 December 4, 2012 by lucksi
Yes Mr. Mugabe. You can violate the rights of your people, heck, kill however many you like, but don't you dare touch our economic interests. That will earn you the first finger waggling in 15 years.
12:09 December 4, 2012 by raandy
Mugabe, hard to believe he still has the reins. This guy ruined a country that in the beginning had a lot going for it ,the former Rodesia named after Cecil Rhodes.

The diamonds , the so called blood diamonds are sold secretly on the world market the proceeds going in Mugabe's coffers.

I was in hopes that Morgan Tsvangirai would be able to get the sanctions lifted by establishing a legitimate Government but this has never happened.

The worlds thrust for profit (greed) and minerals is mainly responsible for his longevity.
12:30 December 4, 2012 by Eric1
Governments are greedy, especially socialist governments. They want to take what private individuals and companies have created.
13:43 December 4, 2012 by Baynik
I am South African and have seen what this evil man is doing to his own people! They are causing a famine in what used to be one of the most productive lands in Southern Africa and no-one does anything! Farms that have been carved out in wild African bushes to produce food for many have been taken away by force and given to Mugabe's friends who now sit on it not producing as much as a patch of vegetables to fill a pot of soup! Robert Mugabe is an absolute dictator who lives in luxury while his own people are flocking to South Africa for food and work! Why in the world would you continue to do business in his country just to enrich him more? A typical European double standard policy!
14:10 December 4, 2012 by michael4096
@eric1 - Mugabe the socialist?

I'll have to think about that one!
20:29 December 6, 2012 by Englishted
@michael4096

Don't think about it too long ,

Eric has the brain power of a backward dead tadpole.

@ Baynik

And South Africa's policy is not double standard? who have the most dealings with him and often back him against anyone else.
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