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Zimbabwe targets Western banks

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Stock photo: Independent Newspapers

Harare - Zimbabwe is now targeting Western banks with operations in the country after a top African conglomerate, Ecobank complied with black empowerment laws of selling majority shares to locals, a minister told AFP Wednesday.

“Ecobank has complied with our indigenisation laws. Their plans are now in order,” Saviour Kasukuwere, Zimbabwe's indigenisation minister said.

“We are now looking at other banks like Standard Chartered Bank, Barclays and Stanbic to comply.”

Stanbic, is a subsidiary of South Africa's Standard Bank with operations elsewhere on the continent.

The Togo-headquartered Ecobank which has branches in 33

countries across Africa confirmed the deal but refused to give details.

The indigenisation drive, which is being spearheaded by long ruling President Robert Mugabe saw the world's number two platinum miner Implats cede 51 percent of the shares in its local unit Zimplats, to Zimbabwean investors last week.

The campaign, signed into law in 2007, has been described as illegal and a threat to Zimbabwe's ailing economy by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai.

Zimbabwe's central bank chief last year warned the country's fragile economy could grind to a halt if the government rushed its planned seizure of majority stakes in foreign-owned banks. - Sapa-AFP


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