10
Mar
08

Should all companies in your country be under local ownership?

Has Robert Mugabe got this right? He’s approved new laws giving local owners the right to take a majority share of foreign companies operating in Zimbabwe. (51% must belong to black Zimbabweans.) Would you like a similar law in your country?

Nigerians, could this apply to oil? Ghanaian, could this apply to gold or cocoa? Kenyans, could this apply to tea? I could on.

Will such laws boost local wealth, or drive away companies which bring jobs and expertise?

Do you work for a company that operates in Africa? Do you agree with these measures?

And wherever you are, should all companies in your country be under majority local ownership?


117 Responses to “Should all companies in your country be under local ownership?”


  1. 1 steve
    March 10, 2008 at 14:09

    All that’s going to do is get foreign investors out of Zimbabwe, making the country even more third world. I hope they won’t blame that on colonialism too.

  2. 2 Muthee Mwangi
    March 10, 2008 at 14:15

    Hi WHYS,
    I think the old man in Zimbabwe has really gone over the edge and and those of us like me who were still undecided whether he is good for Zimbabwe are now convinced that he doesn’t have the interest of his country at heart.
    I think what Mugabe is doing is playing his political game using millions of poor Zimbabweans as cards in his attempt to hit at the West.
    It is really sad and i think the AU should just do something like they did in Kenya just before Zimbabwe dies with the once great man.
    The point is Zimbabweans are too poor to have food on their tables leave alone buy stakes in multinationals.
    Style up Mugabe.

  3. March 10, 2008 at 14:15

    We have a name for this, the insistence that property swhould be taken from one and given to another.

    *Theft* is the usual one.

    And of course it’s going to be entirely disastrous, plunging the country ever further into poverty. That you might even ask whether Mugabe has this right makes me wnder about the knowledge of economics necessary to work for the BBC.

  4. 4 Brett
    March 10, 2008 at 14:22

    I think it is a very good step towards limiting corporate irresponsibility with regards to exploitation of local populations, resources, and the resulting effects and damages incurred by the local populations. Also I can see it as an opportunity to bring more wealth to such countries.
    Now making it only applicable to ‘black’ people… Hhhhmmm….. Not too sure about that one.

    I think it is bad news for MNC’s looking to bring operations to certain countries and also countries with these sort of restrictions in place as it will most likely (to some extent) limit the amount of investment in such countries.

    Brett ~ Richmond, Va.

  5. 5 Will Rhodes
    March 10, 2008 at 14:30

    What is the rate of inflation in Zimbabwe at the moment? And Robert Mugabe is an idiot.

  6. 6 Mohammed Ali
    March 10, 2008 at 14:36

    All Mugabe is after now is to further drawn Zimbabwe. He did this nonesense with the land issue and now he has the greatest inflation that the world has never imagine to contend with. If Mugabe has nothing more to offer to Zimbabwe again, let him step aside. We Africans admire him a whole lot for fighting the imperialist and leading his country to freedom. This will not be accepted by developmental oriented person.

  7. 7 Brett
    March 10, 2008 at 15:17

    3 Tim Worstall
    March 10, 2008 at 2:15 pm

    We have a name for this, the insistence that property swhould be taken from one and given to another.

    *Theft* is the usual one.

    I do not think they are talking about siezing and nationalizing corporate interests and companies in their country then redistributing the ownership. Just setting in place new standards for MNC’s and their operations in the country. The companies can either deal with it and comply or get out. Thats how I read it…

    It is a risk that MNC’s assume when conducting operations abroad. One of the reasons they have insurance (if that would apply in an instance where they were ‘forced’ to leave due to a law such as this enacted; Covering the costs and losses associated with moving or leaving assets).

    Brett ~ Richmond, Va.

  8. 8 Justin from Iowa
    March 10, 2008 at 15:22

    The sad thing is that in concept, requiring a majority buy in of foreign companies by local interests is a way to limit corporate colonialism in dealing with african countries in poor bargaining positions might actually have worked… if corruption wasn’t so rampant in positions of power. Those with power will use this to further line their pockets and gaurantee their continued monetary support, while everyone else continues to suffer.

  9. 9 Brett
    March 10, 2008 at 15:38

    I completely agree with Justin that in theory it would work. But like he said, the corruption is just so rampant that it could really hinder and good that this policy may do.

    Brett ~ Richmond, Va.

  10. 10 carlos King
    March 10, 2008 at 15:41

    Hi All,

    Robert Mugabe is trying to fight fire with fire. This is a sure recipe for disaster. No one can or should be insensitive to the suffering, marginalization and depravity black Zimbabeans suffered under apartheid or white rule. No man has the right to own another man, ownership of man belongs ONLY to God.

    The white world should take some blame for what is happenning in Zimbabe becuase they stood aside did nothing tangible when the racist white Zimbabeans and South Africans trampled the rights of the majority black. What did they expect? Don’t black Zimbabeans have blood running thru their veins? Don’t they have memory of the injustices? Have we consider why the black Zimbabweans have not overthrown this apparent lunatic? It is because he who feels it knows it.

    We who are sitting at our monitors reading or listening or viewing what is unfolding in Zimbabwe have not idea what the people endure in the past or what they are enduring now.

    It is always a good idea for ordinary people to have ownership in companies, this will create future wealth and is a means of taking them out of perpetual poverty. The owners should welcome it and do their best to facilitate it but the government/Mugabe should not brow beat the existing owners. He should engage in constructive and respectful dialogue. Even though man y whites got their wealth unfairly, they none the less own it legally and to try take it away from them unilaterally is totally unacceptable and is recipe for disaster. The world is collectively against Mr. Mugabe so he needs to behave himself and operate wisely if he really love his people. If he does otherwise he will go down in history as another despotic leader like Saddam Hussein.

  11. 11 John in Salem
    March 10, 2008 at 15:44

    It’s a regressive idea but it hardly matters in the long run, because as soon as Mugabe dies or is driven out everything will change again.

  12. 12 Fonjong Terence Tah
    March 10, 2008 at 15:46

    Good day Ros,
    I’m glad to join you in today’s topic?I feel that,all companies in my country shouldn’t be under local ownership.Robert Mugabe is doing what some African leaders are doing.It’s not right.I believe that,a good leader must not take the law into his hand.He must do what is right for the people.I execrate for this.In my country Cameroon,I’ll not motivate a similar law like this,to take place.Eventhough,when there’re many companies in any country,it reduces the rate of unemployment.In this case,when the companies are under local ownership,then the country will face a great problem.The companies will bring jobs,but they will come up with their own laws,either adding the prices of goods or doing anything that will please them.In short,I can’t agree with such measures.
    Well,that is all I’ve for you from this historical land Egypt.
    I wish you a lovely day.Say Hi, to all the BBC crow.
    I’ve been Fonjong Terence Tah.See you tomorrow for your next edition.
    Goodbye.

  13. 13 eric aka eks321
    March 10, 2008 at 15:59

    if the people of zimbabwe chose to impose those types of restrictions on foreign companies, through legitimate democratic vote, then that is their right. it may not be in their own best interests, because foreign companies may choose not to do business there. however; to have the despot mugabe impose this type of restriction upon foreign businesses thru dictatorial decree is illegal and contrary to the best interests of the zimbabwean people.

  14. March 10, 2008 at 15:59

    Regulated multi-nationals for better or for worse help maintain a high level of quality. The key here is REGULATION. In addition the regulators need to be regulated. Advanced western industrial society has more or less proven that regulated corporate culture works, and that un-regulated corporate culture corrupts totally.

    To help Africa grow, the multi-nationals must be allowed to flourish, under a top notch system of regulation.

  15. 15 Ros Atkins
    March 10, 2008 at 16:04

    Hi WHYR,

    The answer is no more important is give each other 50-50 chance. If some companies are out there to do capital frieght they should been accorded the chance to invest in foreign countries. Any firm that invest in local citizen through buiding schools, hospitals, roads, create employement for the locals, should be give a chance to invest. The problem lies in the taking away nature resources without give back to the local. The world need call existence. We depend on each other. Its profound to question ourselves what has led Zimbabwe to nationalize the companies.

    Isaac

  16. 16 Nick, Kenya
    March 10, 2008 at 16:37

    Hi every one,
    Mugabe can never cease to surprise. Just when one thinks he has pulled the silliest move , he is still capable of getting one from his store. This is not about Africans owning what, it is about entrepreneurship and good management skills. So if Gates was having an office in Zimbabwe, 51% of Microsoft will have to be for a black, the same for Buffet?

  17. 17 Ros Atkins
    March 10, 2008 at 16:38

    Hi Ros,
    Hi Everyone!
    Local ownership of ALL african comapnies is a non starter. It is not possible or practical. We live in an interdependent world in which we travel, talk, and trade with each other. Thanks to technology, this is getting easier by the day.Hence, there should not be a compulsory localization of companies anywhere in the world.
    However, i do not think localization of all companies is what Zimbabwe is talking about. The Zimbabwean government is just arguing that, the zimbabwean people should be allowed to benefit from their natural wealth. This has not been the case all across Africa.
    In Ghana, about 85% of the value of our gold and other precious resources is shipped outside. There are no gold refineries to help us add value to our gold and other resources and provide employmnet and a decent living for our people. The only value we seem to get here is pollution and environmenatl destruction.
    We need a reasonable amount of control over our resources and comapnies in Africa, but this does not mean we should or want to exclude everyone else.

    Atsu
    Accra, Ghana.

  18. 18 viola anderson
    March 10, 2008 at 16:41

    Robert Mugabe does not have it right, not if he wants foreign investment and entrepeneurship and all those other things that build economies. However, you can do as Russia did–let private enterprise build up a resource until it is profitable and then take it away. When it ends in disaster again under state control, you once more let the private enterprise in.

  19. 19 VictorK
    March 10, 2008 at 16:45

    This can be justified so long as your objective is not economic efficiency.

    Malaysia operates a similar system, whereby indigenous Malays must be equal business partners to Indo- and Sino-Malays (and also, I presume, to any foreign investors). That is, where an Indo-or Sino-Malay sets up a business through their own efforts, they are automatically lumbered with a Malay partner, whether they want one or not. The point of that requirement is to prevent ethnic Malays becoming second-class and marginal citizens in their own country, as far as economic wealth is concerned. It recognises that the average ethnic Malay is not in the same class when it comes to competence and thrift as the average Indian or Chinese Malay. Its purpose is not to increase economic productivity – it is obviously a cumbersome and counter-productive measure – but to ensure that Malays remain the actual masters of their homeland. There are also a range of affirmative action programmes to assist ethnic Malays, with the same end in mind. The solution for Chinese and Indian Malays, I think, is to leave a country that institutionalises discrimination.

    It is no surprise that every country mentioned as a candidate for a similar policy is African. The average African is much like the average Malay: with very few exceptions (e.g. the Igbo and other groups with a tradition of commerce), he is incapable of competing against more able groups. In the absence of such a policy the bulk of the wealth in African countries would eventually be concentrated in the hands of a few non-African groups. I think it’s perfectly legitimate for a government to seek to prevent this. One route is to take steps to make the average African more competitive. This is the honourable, responsible and mature approach. It requires takes time and requires effort. But since a culture of laziness and .immediate rewards are what caused the problem in the first place, this approach rarely finds favour. A policy of ‘Africanisation’ is usually preferred. This means seizing the assets of competent people (such as white farmers) and handing them to incompetent Africans. If the objective is to prevent economic wealth being concentrated in the hands of a non-national minority then the policy is certainly a viable one (it amounts to reducing everyone to a state of poverty). Of course, it will by definition lead to economic ruin; but this must be a price that Africans and others must be prepared to pay in order to satisfy their envy and resentment at the success of others, and their unwillingness to acquire the skills and habits that make for wealth creation.

    The really interesting thing about such a proposal is the implicit admission of inferiority it carries. A leading Malaysian politician once publicly lambasted his fellow ethnic Malays for their laziness and inability compared to their Indian and Chinese compatriots (who are, of course, not really regarded as being genuine ‘compatriots’). The policy only makes sense on the basis of their being an inferior group who cannot compete with a superior one and therefore require state intervention to protect them. Such intervention can be justified from a nationalist point of view – and its value as a populist measure is probably not unappreciated – so long as it’s recognised that it’s not a serious programme for economic development.

    Africa is already rotten with a culture of kleptomania. This proposal would be a logical progression from what already happens. Mugabe as a pioneer and model – only in Africa!.

  20. 20 Rory
    March 10, 2008 at 17:06

    Regrettably Viktor K has a very valid point.
    In principle, ownership is actually stewardship- but when the host ( in charge at that time) mistakes his stewardship for ownership we find management that is insecure/corrupt/incompetent. And that is what a rule of 51% ownership means.
    I do think that regulation is the key- economic regulation – and while I am not a born again capitalist, I cannot see any other way in this world of ours today.
    When I first started to work in the MIddle East, it was de rigeur to have a similar majority partner arrangement- now it has eased somewhat…. especially in the property ownership area. Dubai has shown the world how development is done – they were the ones who started easing the rule -the reason? Foreign ownership encourages investment, local industry and development.
    My current president is retrogressive.
    But that has been said many times before.

  21. 21 Rory
    March 10, 2008 at 17:08

    PS I come from Zimbabwe and Mr Mugabe is my president.

  22. 22 Sean in South Africa
    March 10, 2008 at 17:11

    In certain instances where companies do not comply with government rules, yes they should be owned by the state. But I believe that a certain percentage should be appropriate, but not 51% instead I would like to see top government business experts on these international companies to see that they comply with the social responsibilities and environmental policies.

    These companies earn billions throught the sweat, blood and tears of poverty stricken africans who only want to live a life that covers their basic needs, not live for under a dollar a day for the rest of their lives! What hope does that instil? Would you be able to live on under a dollar a day with minimum of 4 children?

  23. 23 Emilio in Pittsburg
    March 10, 2008 at 17:15

    Ros,

    I’ve seen it before, in the Bahamas. Defining ownership is legalized payola.

    Who gets this 51%? It is not the common man. It is cronies and relatives of the despots who make these outrageous laws.

    And what do they pay for their 51%? Nothing. They are no-show jobs or show-up-and-do nothing jobs.

    The proposition may sound good. Yet, the only purpose is to suck dry any profit and make those in power even more wealthy.

    A better way to go is to require 51% of the real-work jobs go to locals and require training programs for the most competent employees to move up to the next level. So, when an international company comes in with engineers and mechanics, the local population benefits with, at first, the menial labor (unless they are better qualified) — but they would have the opportunity to climb up the ladder.

    Then, when the international company moves into the next country, those hard workers who have proven their worth to the company might be the ones who are sent on, with a higher status and better pay.

    What Robert Mugabe is proposing is racist, unethical and down-right counter-productive. All of Zimbabwe should rise up and dispose of this tin-pot dictator.

  24. 24 David Malinda
    March 10, 2008 at 17:16

    Sad to read some of the postings.

    It is a brilliant idea for local people to have a good share of the country’s wealth.

    What is wrong with Africans having an equal share in a foreign owned company? ie digging gold, extracting coco,producing quality tea etc. Why should foreign companies own every thing and the local person has to beg from them?

    I must admit that I can not stand the word third word. Who is first word? who is second word? These are all forms of discrimination. The UN should ban this type of discrimination.

  25. 25 devadas.v
    March 10, 2008 at 17:18

    rather than giving 51% stakeholding to private and the rest to foreign companies its not going to overturn dramatically the plight of zimbawens they are facing at present as this private people must be mugabes own people and like military rulers of africa all money will be stashed for their own good rather than country as a whole to benefit .
    it would be better if the government have 51%public stake in companies so that profits can be made use of for the people of zimbawe by proper checks and balances .
    like the mixed economy of india during post independence were 51%was government owned and rest private its a model now zimbawe can copy in their catastrophic economy of at present with proper checks and balances anything than this will be chaos for zimbawe in the longrun and for the common public.

    kerala
    india

  26. 26 PDXMike
    March 10, 2008 at 17:27

    This proposal seems ridiculous on a number of levels. The key one has been addressed here at length, which is that it will kill off foreign investment. The finances required to exploit Zimbabwe’s manifold resources simply does not exist within Zimbabwe. They do not have the internal investment base to do this. So the platinum will stay in the ground.

    But from another point of view, where does this leave the coloured population? They too must be seen as indigenous. Yet, I’m sure that this law would not consider a 51% coloured ownership to be in compliance. Could we also say that there should be a 51% Shona ownership law? How about a law that stipulates 31% Shona and 20% Matebili ownership? Is that where this is going? That is a recipe for disaster.

    I think that this is a thinly veiled attempt at legislative theft.

  27. 27 Emilio via email
    March 10, 2008 at 17:32

    Ros,

    I’ve seen it before, in the Bahamas.

    Defining ownership is legalized payola.

    Who gets this 51%? It is not the common man. It is cronies and relatives of the despots who make these outrageous laws.

    And what do they pay for their 51%? Nothing. They are no-show jobs or show-up-and-do nothing jobs.

    The proposition may sound good. Yet, the only purpose is to suck dry any profit and make those in power even more wealthy.

    A better way to go is to require 51% of the real-work jobs go to locals and require training programs for the most competent employees to move up to the next level. So, when an international company comes in with engineers and mechanics, the local population benefits with, at first, the menial labor (unless they are better qualified) — but they would have the opportunity to climb up the ladder.

    Then, when the international company moves into the next country, those hard workers who have proven their worth to the company might be the ones who are sent on, with a higher status and better pay.

    What Robert Mugabe is proposing is racist, unethical and down-right counter-productive. All of Zimbabwe should rise up and dispose of this tin-pot dictator.

    Sincerely,
    Emilio
    Pittsburgh, PA, USA

  28. 28 Sean via email
    March 10, 2008 at 17:33

    In certain instances where companies do not comply with government rules, yes they should be owned by the state. But I believe that a certain percentage should be appropriate, but not 51% instead I would like to see top government business experts on these international companies to see that they comply with the social responsibilities and environmental policies.

    These companies earn billions throught the sweat, blood and tears of poverty stricken africans who only want to live a life that covers their basic needs, not live for under a dollar a day for the rest of their lives! What hope does that instil? Would you be able to live on under a dollar a day with minimum of 4 children?

    Sean in SA

  29. 29 AbuNas
    March 10, 2008 at 17:37

    Dear Ros,

    No, I do not agree with this idea fully due to the main reason that it might counter individual entrepreneurship and counter the eventual growth of a successful small business to a medium size, then a large etc.

    However, I do agree with some aspects of this idea when it comes to natural resources. I strongly feel that local, indigenous communities and democratic/accountable governments should operate, maintain and distribute the wealth that is generated through their natural resources’ like minerals, gemstones, gas and oil.

    Countless number of countries ranging from Norway, Gulf Arab states (GCC) etc are benefiting from this method.

    No wonder why these same countries has one of the world’s highest living standards and one of the best health care services.

  30. 30 Kwabena via email
    March 10, 2008 at 17:37

    Im a ghanaian and i think applying this law to the cocoa,gold and the recently discovered oil will go a long way to alleviate poverty in the country. This can however work if the 51 percent ownership does not end up in the hands of govt officials and their families. Mugabe destroyed zimbabwe with his land reform and i have no doubt this is another nail in the coffin for zimbabwe.

  31. 31 Santo via email
    March 10, 2008 at 17:42

    The CPA (Comprehensive Peace Agreement) in Sudan has given the local Community the right of ownership of the land and this right is a controversial issue now in Juba , because the local Community in the capital City (Juba) of Southern Sudan is dominating the land.
    Southern Sudan relies on Kenya for the Oil (Gasoline) and when the dispute over election and violence block the way from Kenya.
    My Ministry of Energy, Mining and Industry – GoSS /Juba brought the company to build the petroleum depot in Jabel Lado area which will later bring development to the area such as Schools health services and Road building, but the local Community banned the Company to build the depot, so for me I can say ownership of the land local will not encourage the Investors because of the obstacles they can face sometimes.

    Santo
    Juba – Southern Sudan

  32. 32 Andrew via email
    March 10, 2008 at 17:45

    How does this serve the average Zimbabwean? It wont and such a promise might make for good news copy but anywhere such a policy has been implemented means that either some crony or ruling elite will benefit, reaping the profits, or it will just end up in the leaders bank account. It never has helped the citizen and doubtless ever will. In Zimbabwe you can guarantee it wont help the man on the street.

    Andrew

    Australia

  33. 33 Makoi via email
    March 10, 2008 at 17:47

    Dear listeners,
    thanks for being in touch with BBC World have your say, am afraid to say that Africans have their own rights of privatising the companies in Africa,i hope am true to say that becuase Africa is for Africans ,very glad to have seen in the case of Zimbabwe WHEN comrade Robert Mugabe done in his country so un like some will also copy Ideology so if I were the president of my country like sudan i would have privatised the prvate companies like chinses companies in sudan now ,
    thanks
    Makoi,
    Student o f development studies ,
    in uganda,

  34. 34 Justin from Iowa
    March 10, 2008 at 17:55

    If the ownership went to actual workers and people who really need to be a part of the process it would be much more helpful than what is likely to occur – ownership by people of power.

    With luck, while this law won’t directly help the working class of Zimbabwe, working directly with foreign investors and businesses will train a new business class of local Zimbabweans who can build up the Zimbabwean economy.

    One thing everyone should keep in mind… Any change at this point can’t hurt, with inflation hitting 100000%, rampant unemployment, thngs can’t get much worse.

  35. 35 Kalypso
    March 10, 2008 at 18:03

    Zimbabwe’s economy is on its knees. So obviously mugabe got it wrong!
    But, yes, of course, i do believe that companies in all African countries should and must be underthe control of locals. it is wrong that the West plays such a huge role all over Africa.
    Vienna, austria

  36. 36 YOGESH PAREEK,INDIA
    March 10, 2008 at 18:09

    This step would be disasterous for already ruined Zimbabwean economy.
    India has immensely benefitted by opening up its economy
    And this step could also prove to be the last nail in the coffin of Mugabe’s rule

  37. 37 Annonymous
    March 10, 2008 at 18:12

    I Am 3rd generation white kenyan. I don’t own an inch of this planet. And you expect me to give up half my company? Just like that? No way.

  38. 38 Justin from Iowa
    March 10, 2008 at 18:12

    The simple fact is that local zimbabweans don’t have the wealth or means to buy in to this 51%, so will the government fund that buy in, or will the government and people of power be the only ones buying in?

  39. 39 Justice in Nigeria
    March 10, 2008 at 18:14

    Robert mugabe shd know that ! Politics is not war, presidency is not inheritance,pls go down mr mugabe.

  40. 40 Pete
    March 10, 2008 at 18:19

    With Mugabe’s horrible mismanagement and mass genocide are there many international companies currently in Zimbabwe? Why can’t Mugabe stop flogging a dead horse and killing his country and his people

  41. 41 Bala in Nigeria
    March 10, 2008 at 18:22

    Local owner company is good bcos it can yield the economic stability to any nation,

  42. 42 Augustine in Abuja, Nigeria
    March 10, 2008 at 18:23

    The policy is not peogle centered, it puts the wealth in a few people’s hand.

  43. 43 Justin from Iowa
    March 10, 2008 at 18:23

    Why not government sponsorship of local businesses and projects, 100% funded by Zimbabweans, rather than relying on Foreign investors in the first place? If zimbabweans are sick of being owned by international corporations and former investments, then build it up as you can on your own. It will be brutally hard, but at the end of the process you will have a stronger, truly independant Zimbabwe.

  44. 44 Daniel in Zambia
    March 10, 2008 at 18:26

    I’m a student at the copperbelt university in zambia. I think that move is not so wise because international involvement does help a country to move forward. Perhaps mugabe should have put a limit on the number of foreign companies. I do not support his move.

  45. 45 Jay Hoge
    March 10, 2008 at 18:26

    If one compares the post-colonial economic experience of Singapore with that of any country in Africa, I think a model presents itself. Capital should be allowed to flow freely without regard to borders. Adam Smith knew more about about economics than Robert Mugabe.

  46. 46 Annonymous text.
    March 10, 2008 at 18:28

    Mandating that all companies be locally owned is nothing new; we tried it Africa in the 1970 s and it was an abysmal failure. Let s not turn back the hands of time.

  47. 47 Sultan in Yobe-nigeria
    March 10, 2008 at 18:30

    Yes,its a step in the right direction aimed at halting exploitation and enhancing corporate responsibility.we need such policy to stop d restiveness in the niger delta.

  48. 48 steve
    March 10, 2008 at 18:32

    One of my self loathing university professors once said that only whites can be racist, so making laws that favor blacks over whites et al. is not racist, despite favoring one race of all others.

  49. 49 Umair in kuwait
    March 10, 2008 at 18:33

    There should be ease of stock buying for the locals and landownership by forgieners must be prevented. forgien bussiness influence in local policies should be kept undercheck by promoting local partnerships. anything more is comunism . and any more freedome runs risk of corporate intervention like the east india company.a 51- 49 partnership is good.umair,kuwait

  50. 50 Frank in Nigeria.
    March 10, 2008 at 18:35

    Local Ownership is freedom.

  51. March 10, 2008 at 18:35

    Lots of things sound or feel like good ideas – or the RIGHT thing to do. That has nothing to do with whether it is practical or if it will work.

    The premise is (or should be); will capital flow to where it is encumbered WHEN it has a choice? Anyone who knows anything about money AND the people who have enough to make those kinds of decisions – knows the ONLY answer to this. NO!

    Now, with the most free flowing global economy in history – the answer is more true than ever.

  52. 52 Wiri in Nigeria
    March 10, 2008 at 18:36

    Mugabe’s policy is a blessing in disguise. The repacusions are catastrophic. No economy exists as an island.

  53. 53 Steven
    March 10, 2008 at 18:37

    i disagree with this monster caled nationalyzatn.We live in global economy and all economic,social n political borders should be open to free flow of resources.

  54. 54 Tshwane Hackney Freindship Society
    March 10, 2008 at 18:39

    Self reliance via African control of it’s wealth, has got be better than the primative system of whites enjoying the handouts of imperialism based on thier skin being white.

  55. 55 Sooli
    March 10, 2008 at 18:39

    hi
    the law in its is not wrong but the approach and the timing is wrong, there is nothing wrong with grater local partcipation in business but there needs to be proper mechanisms to bring this about not just making a law and hoping to have ready Zimbabwes to take over. but my question is this will he allow white Zimbabwe to have shares.

  56. 56 Simon
    March 10, 2008 at 18:39

    Yes, a great idea but the truth is, its to reward faithfull followers, lf mugabe is anything to go by, inflation at obscene levels, starvation, successful
    land reform? Corporations need to accept social responsibility but African politicians are inherently corrupt sorry but prove me wrong !

  57. 57 Ona, a Nigerian in The Hague
    March 10, 2008 at 18:42

    Nationalisation in Africa is not the solution to the problems entrepreneurs face on the continent. No, the problem is more mundane: corruption and lack of rule of law. Nationalisation cannot be a one-size fits all policy. Who cares if a hotel chain or a biscuit factory is foreign-owned? However, we do care if the defence industries are in the hands of foreigners?

  58. 58 Isaac in Ghana
    March 10, 2008 at 18:44

    Gordon brown recently said british jobs for british people. What’s wrong with african firms for african people?

  59. 59 Vamuyan in Liberia
    March 10, 2008 at 18:46

    One’s country is one’s country and prioritising Africans on our various businesses and companies is highly appreciated,I say publically to Mr.Mugabe for passing such bill in Zimbabwe.

  60. 60 Onajomo Akemu
    March 10, 2008 at 18:47

    The argument that foreign-owned companies siphon African wealth to the West is simply fallaciuous. It’s not the foreign oil companies, which operate in my native Nigeria that siphon the country’s wealth to Swiss bank accounts. Instead, it’s the country’s elite who purloin the country’s oil weath.

    In order to palliate the anger of the impoverished people, it is convenient for the entrenched to blame the foreigners. How sad!

    Ona Akemu, a Nigerian in The Hague, The Netherlands

  61. 61 Sesay
    March 10, 2008 at 18:47

    I believe its better that all companies are under local leadership as more benefit will remain in the country under such law than the opposite.

  62. 62 Julius from Warri, Nigeria.
    March 10, 2008 at 18:48

    That law is another disaster tht will further impoverish ordinary zimbabwans just like the land reforms.

  63. 63 Nicola, Jamaica
    March 10, 2008 at 18:50

    Any multinational corporation investing in any country and especially developing countries will want some assurance that their investment is properly administrated and that they will have the opportunity to reap rewards from these investments…It’s normal business practice.
    They shouldalso be required to give back to infrastructure for future generations under agreed terms and conditions.

    The problem I have with Africa are the billions and bilions of dollars their nations are given by first world governments in good faith and trust with zero accountability only to discover little progress has
    been made at the national level with the funding and further that corruption prevails as leaders sifphon off money to they own end..

    That’s a direct disadvantage to developed nations and a total betrayal..not to mention the waste..

  64. 64 Tonny in Uganda
    March 10, 2008 at 18:51

    My only problem with the white man is that they reptriate all the profits to their homeland and try to keep us the way we were,poor.Give us low pay,we do the hardest jobs under the worst conditions and facilities,but an african to run a copany is sending it to the scrap yard because our policy is every man for himself and God for us all.We belive in eating the meat to the bone with out plans for tomorrow.

  65. 65 Prince Pieray Odor
    March 10, 2008 at 18:52

    The fundamental task before ALL African leaders and people is taking charge over the totality of their means to ends, and establishing and living by their own models, methods, practices, standards, ethics and values in dialectical or competing relations with those of the USA and Europe. Mugabe’s intention does not go far enough in view of this. But it is a good innovation and beginning.

  66. 66 Onajomo Akemu
    March 10, 2008 at 18:52

    That Gordon Brown says British jobs for British people does not make his populism sound policy. While UK or France may be able to afford such a policy Africans cannot afford this crass nationalisation. We don’t have the capital or labour skills.

    Ona Akemu, A Nigerian in The Hague, The Netherlands

  67. 67 Zachary
    March 10, 2008 at 18:53

    This law sounds like it is on the way to being a brillian policy. There are many countries around the world that require a majority ownership by locals. It seems also like a fair deal for allowing a corporation to do business in your country. The problem with this law is that it is by its very terms RACIST because it doesn’t take into account Zimbabwians who live there and do not remove the money, but who aren’t black.

  68. 68 Dave
    March 10, 2008 at 18:54

    Will someone PLEASE explain to your studio guest George, that 51% IS nationalizing! 51% was not a number picked out of the air. It is the minimum holding which allows for a CONTROLLING interest. Outsiders invest, bur Zimbabweans have absolute control by virtue of their majority ownership. You think I’m going to go into that kind of a partnership with my capital? I have some nice swamp land in Florida I would like to show you…..
    And who will buy the 51% of my company which I currently own 100% At what price? And what, if any, choice will I have in that transfer. (I hesitate to use the word “sale”, as such an honorable transaction seems so unlikely.)
    Never mind the racist nature of the legislation. Just how black do I have to be to hold 51 percent? What degree of racial purity?
    I pity the people of Zimbabwe under leadership such as this. But not enough to to give them my capital.
    Dave

  69. 69 Charles in Tasmania
    March 10, 2008 at 18:54

    The Answer depends on whom the person is. I can’t see how any one would want to be under the rule of a tyrant like Mugabe. If I were in a position to make such a determination I would not allow any business of mine to operate in Zimbabwe. They say that sanctions would hurt the people. I would like to know how much more the people have to hurt before the international community stands up and does something about him Indigenous Zimbabweans don’t seem to be able to do it on their own. This is not colonialism

  70. 70 Anonymous email
    March 10, 2008 at 18:56

    Don’t ever give fully power to an African. With all the respect to my people, look to the corruption going on in Mozambique after the civilian war.

    The country leader’s become the biggest cattle produce or the richest in the country. (Mozambique had strong economy when was hand to the Mozambican people in 1975) what happed?

    What is going on with South Africa Nuclear Power after government pumped lots of money in black empowerment? (For sure is following same path as Mozambique did before it pick’s up as they say).

    I left Africa 3 year ago and I know what I’m talking about, dot ever give fully power to greedy people.

  71. 71 Onajomo Akemu
    March 10, 2008 at 18:58

    Africa is starved of management expertise and capital. Laws that stipulate mandatory local investment of foreign companies operating in Africa are counter-productive; They scare away potential investors who have the capital and the expertise. Moreover, without rule and law and stability there’s no guarantee that even African investors will keep their money in Africa.

    Ona Akemu, A Nigerian in The Hague, The Netherlands

  72. 72 Bruce in Lusaka
    March 10, 2008 at 19:01

    I am a zimbabwean running a busines in zambia. Invest, create jobs, pay taxes, harvest ur profits. No problem. U canot reap where u did not sow. Bruce lusaka

  73. 73 Tog
    March 10, 2008 at 19:02

    Foreign expertise & capital has never stopped ripping Africa. Locals need participation. It took Europe 200 yrs to be industrialised, why the panic.

  74. 74 Kennedy in Jos, Nigeria
    March 10, 2008 at 19:04

    Trying that in Nigeria indeed Africa will set us back a century.No developing country will survive without foreign capital.

  75. 75 Colleen
    March 10, 2008 at 19:05

    Unfortunately this move by mugabe is a last minute attempt 2 win votes.It has very little 2 do with empowering zimbabweans! – zimbabwean in tanzaninia

  76. 76 Matthew in Freetown
    March 10, 2008 at 19:05

    Zimbabwe is a disappointment to Africa

  77. 77 FELIX
    March 10, 2008 at 19:06

    Its a great law its time for locals to own this mult-billion companies so as to let profit remain in Africa call me

  78. 78 Micheal in Uganda
    March 10, 2008 at 19:08

    Mugabe shd be condemned by any sane person . He wants to see the Country back to 1900

  79. 79 Bob in Uganda
    March 10, 2008 at 19:08

    Africa is vulnerable 2 exploitation.

  80. 80 Jon from America
    March 10, 2008 at 19:18

    Majority local ownership is not an unusual business structure. It is quite common in Central & South America, Asia, and even Europe, particularly for natural resource companies. The difference is that in the rest of the World, it traditionally follows generations nationalized businesses or centralized state-owned enterprises. 51% local ownership is certainly preferable to 100% nationalized. Companies will simply set up joint-ventures with local companies. Unlike Venezuela China or Kazakhstan; Zimbabwe’s natural resources were plundered for decades. We all have to agree that Zimbabwe’s indigenous population were stripped of their right to own property and not allowed to participate in the economy under Rhodesia’s non-indigenous rule for generations. One of the legacies of the system created by the British South Africa Company is that the local economy is dominated by businesses that export Zimbabwe’s natural resources and financial capital. There is no way to painlessly solve this problem. Just as ethnic groups cannot (and should not) be fully compensated for generations of being disenfranchised, ethnic groups that were enfranchised by such an evil system cannot be allowed to keep all of the rewards. Is Majority local ownership a good idea, well lets just call it a good start. Hopefully it is a law that one day will not be needed.

  81. 81 Gus in Liberia
    March 10, 2008 at 19:20

    increase in inflation? It seems 100000% is not bad enough for u.

  82. 82 John Agabi in Nigeria
    March 10, 2008 at 19:20

    I do not agree with Mugabe, both local & foreign companies shd coexist towards the development any given country.

  83. 83 Kemoh in Freetown
    March 10, 2008 at 19:22

    Let us pray for Zimbabwe.

  84. 84 Anonymous
    March 10, 2008 at 19:23

    Shame on you Mugabe. You cannot buy the votes of Zimbabweans by approving this law. Get ready to hand over power to the opposition.

  85. 85 Anonymous
    March 10, 2008 at 19:24

    Will Mugabe pay now or later? With inflation at 156k% he ll rob now and pay nothing later.

  86. 86 Margaret in Freetown
    March 10, 2008 at 19:24

    Africans are simply not business oriented. They fear taking risk which is huge element of serious business.

  87. 87 James, Monrovia
    March 10, 2008 at 19:26

    I support Mogabe in this. It is not because of political gains. If all other African leaders follow suit, Africa will be better economically.

  88. 88 Precious, Nigeria
    March 10, 2008 at 19:28

    I think that Africans should be allowed to own the best part of the shares. Local jobs for local people is unrealistic. Mugabe shouldn’t be cunning.

  89. 89 Okolo in Nigeria
    March 10, 2008 at 19:29

    It is obvious that adequate distribution of the resources will go a long way in reducing poverty.

  90. 90 Sam in Accra, Ghana
    March 10, 2008 at 19:30

    Whatever the merits of what Mugabe has done is not the issue. What is important is who will benefit from it in Zimbabwe.

  91. 91 Victor
    March 10, 2008 at 19:31

    What we need are joint ventures public owned to build capacity with the locals. For example India succeeded in this and are now taking over companies.

  92. 92 Togo in Kampala, Uganda
    March 10, 2008 at 19:33

    Where is CSR of Foreign Investors that could not stop the very wide gap between the foreigners and locals in Kenya.

  93. 93 MOHD in Nigeria
    March 10, 2008 at 19:33

    It can’nt work especially in Nigeria.

  94. 94 Anonymous
    March 10, 2008 at 19:34

    Mugabe,under whose regime the economy of the country has been in a depression. Besides research shows that most of their money is overseas thanks to corruption.

  95. 95 Annonymous in Nigeria
    March 10, 2008 at 19:34

    We tried this in nigeria the Generals got the percentage as ceremonial share holders the poor man got nothing

  96. 96 Chimaobi, Nigeria
    March 10, 2008 at 19:34

    That question is myopic:imagine asking Europeans if they will like to control Europe!?….Bravo Mugabe.

  97. 97 Adegbe in Nigeria
    March 10, 2008 at 19:36

    The main problem is whether a country is implementing economic or political policies.

  98. 98 A , Free Town, Liberia
    March 10, 2008 at 19:36

    NEVER MIND WE ARE POOR, BUT I NEVER WANT HAVE A LEADER LIKE MUGABE IN MY COUNTRY SIERRA LEONE.

  99. 99 Kabir from Nigeria.
    March 10, 2008 at 19:36

    Hi i dont surport mr mugabe s law.

  100. 100 Jacob in DAR ES SALAAM
    March 10, 2008 at 19:37

    Privatise everything and collect taxes.

  101. 101 Dominic, Nigeria
    March 10, 2008 at 19:37

    Robert Mugabe wants to pull the last string that will destroy Zimbabweans.

  102. 102 Annonymous by text.
    March 10, 2008 at 19:38

    What does Zimbabwe pay 4 an ounce of gold now about 1000 USD, not 300, 2 its miners?

  103. 103 Agnes in Kenya
    March 10, 2008 at 19:39

    It’s a common logic that many countries esp. African are up to good introducing such Economic policy when the Elections are around the corner. Such policy would not work in kenya.

  104. 104 Annonymous by text.
    March 10, 2008 at 19:39

    I beg my zimbabwe friends to learn first from TANZANIA S – ARUSHA DECLARATION WHICH FAILED.

  105. 105 Ivan, Blantyre, Malawi
    March 10, 2008 at 19:40

    RACISM Mugabe will scream if white Europeans enact the same rule .

  106. 106 Ona, a Nigerian in The Netherlands
    March 10, 2008 at 19:40

    If nationalisation does not work in advanced Western economies how can it work in weak African nation states? The main barrier to entrepreneurship is NOT foreign ownership of the means of production; it is corruption and lack of capital. Foreigners have the capital and can be invaluable in developing local manpower. This wholel nationalisation business is dodgy and hairy. It seems to be another excuse for the Zimbabwean elite to resume their rent collecting habits.

  107. 107 Steven in kisumu, kenya
    March 10, 2008 at 19:41

    I think mugabe is mad n trying to live in the past n all he wants is worship of a nationalist.

  108. 108 SPJ in Freetown
    March 10, 2008 at 19:42

    The price of hold is over $970 per ounce and NOT $300 as was stated in ur program !

  109. 109 Josh a Nigerian expartrate in Saudi
    March 10, 2008 at 19:44

    It can not work, rather it will away foreign investors. Mogabi is only using that to gain suport for the election. If Mogabi realy want to impliment that, he should as well give his people loan to put in companies. I wil rather advice Mogabi to impliment busines libralization & local content partnership.

  110. 110 HABU from Jos, Nigeria
    March 10, 2008 at 19:45

    All African countries need foreign investment which will also bring in manageriel expertise.

  111. March 10, 2008 at 23:50

    Personally, I think it’s an interesting idea. The problem with Mugabe is that there are times he makes a lot of sense only you know that his motive is self interest.

    I don’t know that insisting that companies in the developing world be majority owned is a bad idea. Were this being tried in botswana for example, or even south africa, I would be excited.

    In short, it’s an interesting idea but it’s being implemented by the wrong person in the wrong place.

  112. March 11, 2008 at 05:07

    If you take it from A and give it to B or keep it yourself, it’s theft. Right? But, if A took it from B to begin with, is it theft or restitution? In the small island of Cuba–BC (before Castro)–American companies came and took. Away they took 60%, 70%, 80% and more of profits, of mineral resources, of the fruits of the land and the heart of the people. Economically, the island didn’t suffer, on the contrary. It benefitted handsomely. But it no longer owned itself. In the “dance of the millions” of the 30’s and 40’s, as it was called, Cuba lost its soul. Then came the CIA’s coup and Batista–America’s man in Havana. Castro followed. The rest is unfinished history! Investment, yes. Outright ownership, no. A nation must retain control of its resources, its wealth, its affairs, its self-respect and its dignity. In the same way as individuals and families must do so. In itself, this is not and would never be a problem, IF the overriding thought behind investment were the WELL-BEING OF CITIZENS, OF THE LOCAL POPULATION AND OF THE COUNTRY ITSELF. Rather than, as it now stands: profits, the growth of investment portfolios and the wealth and power of the few. “Invest in the well-being of all peoples and nations and reap a world that works for everybody; invest in the wealth and power of an elitist few and reap crops of mounting trouble!”

  113. March 11, 2008 at 05:13

    If you take it from A and give it to B or keep it yourself, it’s theft. Right? But, if A took it from B to begin with, is it theft or restitution? In the small island of Cuba–BC (before Castro)–American companies came and took. They came and took away 60, 70, 80% and more of profits, of mineral resources, of the fruits of the land and the heart of the people. Economically, the island didn’t suffer, on the contrary. It benefitted handsomely. But it knew it no longer owned itself. In the “dance of the millions” during the 30’s and 40’s, as it was called, Cuba lost its soul. Then came the CIA’s coup and Batista–America’s man in Havana. Castro followed. The rest is unfinished history! Investment, YES! Fair share and moderate profits, YES! Outright ownership and control, certainly NOT! A nation must retain control of its resources, its wealth, its affairs, its self-respect and its dignity. In the same way as individuals and families must. In itself, this is not and would never be a problem, IF the overriding thought behind investment were the WELL-BEING OF CITIZENS, OF THE LOCAL POPULATION AND OF THE COUNTRY ITSELF. Rather than, as it now stands: greed for profits, the growth of portfolios and the wealth and power of the few. “Invest in the well-being of all peoples and nations and reap a world that works for everybody; invest in the wealth and power of an elitist few and reap crops of mounting trouble!”

  114. 114 Paul, Liberia
    March 11, 2008 at 09:37

    No! But African should work alongside top managements in these companies for marksmanship. If Mugabe thinks his method is correct, let him ask Robert Mugabe regarding the farm issue. We Africans are NOT ready to own huge companies on our own on a large scale, because of poverty and other factors. It is these foreign companies money and must be manage themselves and let “Caesar be given what is Caesar’s and Zimbabwe what is Zimbabwe” in terms of benefit of the country. And let there be PEACE!!!

  115. March 11, 2008 at 10:11

    Another populist step. Sound very appealing and at a glance Zimbabwens wil be taken a fool again to vote him back to power thinking the weakling old man is after their welfare. Very Soon there will be capital flight and there will be no Multinational Company in Zimbabwe for them to hold even 1% share. God, be merciful to Zimbabwens.

    Ben Assopiah
    Tarkwa, Ghana

  116. 116 Ros Atkins
    March 11, 2008 at 14:53

    Ros,

    I think African investments could always have local partners so that there is a stake help be nationals.

    It does not have to be a majority but significant enough to ensure a strong local voice and project favourable light on everyone involved.

    What we don’t want is cronyism in all of this as well.

    Harry

  117. 117 Dennis Young, Jr.
    May 9, 2008 at 01:44

    no! i think that compnaies should be in
    private hands with local advise…..

    Dennis
    Madrid, United States of America


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