Zimbabwe will no longer open its economy to foreign nationals, according to Zanu PF secretary for Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Dr Mike Bimha.
Zimbabwe set to introduce ‘reserved sectors’
In a bid to escalate economic participation and build the groundwork for an upheaval in the country’s poor fiscal standing, Zimbabwe’s ruling party is looking to exclude foreign nationals from a number of ‘reserved sectors’ by amending the country’s Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Act.
This Economic Empowerment Policy, according to Dr Bimha, will allow for robust changes to take effect in these ‘reserved’ sectors, giving Zimbabwean citizens priority access to the market, much to the exclusion of foreign nationals.
“The reserved sectors are only for Zimbabwean citizens and not for foreigners. Local authorities must stop issuing licenses to foreigners,” he said.
Economic sectors foreign nationals won’t be allowed to participate in
While it’s unclear, at this time, how the Zimbabwean government plans to police this radical policy, Dr Bimha has already revealed the sectors not open to foreign nationals, and they include:
- transport (passenger buses, taxis and e-hailing services);
- wholesale trading;
- hair salons;
- real estate;
- agriculture (grain milling);
- tobacco grading;
- and artisanal mining
SA reacts to Zimbabwe’s ‘exclusive’ policy
The policy, at this time, has not yet been enacted. The matter still has to undergo administrative processes at Zimbabwe’s Ministry of Finance and Economic Development. Furthermore, Dr Bimha revealed that the government will embark on a fundraising campaign to raise capital for piloting the initiative.
“This fund will scale up the number of entrepreneurs in communities throughout the different value chains and test innovative economic empowerment approaches in order to share lessons learnt and build the evidence for effective business models,” he added.
News of this controversial policy surfaced on social media, sparking debate about the hypocrisy of such a bold move by Zimbabwe, considering that its citizens enjoy untethered access to economies in other African countries, especially South Africa.
These were some of the reactions we picked out from social media:
We call upon the Government of South Africa to emulate the Zimbabwean Government and reserve the following sectors for ONLY South Africans:— OFFICIAL ACCOUNT OF: PUT SA CITIZENS FIRST (@AccountCitizens) July 6, 2021
– spaza shops
– night clubs
– used car parts
– recruitment agency
– liquor store #PutSouthAficansFirst#xenophobic pic.twitter.com/BcO6OU0N1W
When we say the same thing in South Africa you label us Xenophobic, and all countries do protect and prioritize their own citizens yet you don’t call them xenophobic. The sectors mentioned here, are sectors where citizens trade for survival.#PutSouthAfricansFirst pic.twitter.com/CVRNowArZC— Vuyo Zungula MP (@ZungulaVuyo) July 6, 2021
If wanting the influx of illegal foreigners to stop, wanting foreigners to be vetted when they enter SA, and for certain sectors to be secured for poor black South Africans and graduates is Xenophobic.— ISAGILA SENSIMBI (@Ingonyama1993) July 6, 2021
Then yes by all means I'm Xenophobic and damn I'm proud of it.
Bathong. Isn't this a xenophobic move kanti?— Thembisile Q (@Thembisile_Q) July 6, 2021
Or is that word only reserved for South Africans? https://t.co/oQSwNBBgy7