PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe told foreign firms Thursday to form partnerships with Zimbabweans to secure their investments under new rules requiring them to cede majority stakes to locals.
"It's our vision to see partnerships between rural communities and non-indigenous investors to guarantee the security of foreign investment and the establishment of up and downstream industries," Mugabe said.
He was speaking at a function where platinum producer Mimosa Mine gave 10 percent of its shares to the community in the mining town of Zvishavane.
Mimosa donated $2 million to the Zvishavane community trust fund, which will use its funds to repair roads and provide clean water.
All foreign companies in Zimbabwe are required to cede 51 percent of their shares to local blacks under a law that has been criticised by firms at a time when the country is looking for investment.
Mugabe said the equity law was meant to reverse imbalances caused by colonial laws which gave advantage to businesses owned by a white minority.
"It boggles the mind that while Zimbabwe is endowed with natural resources that are of a finite nature, particularly in the mining sector, since the onset of colonialism Zimbabweans have not benefitted from the exploitation of these resources," he said.
"Instead, they continue to be under threat, not to benefit now, but in the future -- mainly because of neo-colonial forces."
He urged foreign companies operating in Zimbabwe to follow the examples of Zimplats, Unki and Mimosa mines and form partnerships with local communities.
Several foreign firms are still discussing with government their plans to comply with the law.
The indigenisation programme is at the centre of a dispute between Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, who formed a coalition government three years ago.
Tsvangirai has said the indigenisation drive will drive away foreign investment, just as the country is recovering from a decade-long economic collapse.