Zimbabwe gives banks a year to hand over stakes

By REUTERS
July 3, 2012 12:33

 
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HARARE - Zimbabwe has given foreign-owned banks one year to hand over 51 percent stakes to locals, according to a government notice, as President Robert Mugabe ramps up a drive to force all foreign-owned businesses to surrender majority control to blacks.

A government notice released last week said all foreign-owned banks with a minimum net value of $1 had one year to reduce their shareholding to 49 percent.

The southern African state has already forced mining companies such as Rio Tinto and Impala Platinum , the world's second-largest platinum miner, to turn over majority stakes in their local units to black Zimbabweans.

Emboldened by his success against miners, empowerment minister Saviour Kasukuwere is now targeting banks.

Kasukuwere, a 41-year-old member of Mugabe's ZANU-PF party, has clashed with central bank Governor Gideon Gono and Finance Minister Tendai Biti over the banking sector.

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