ZIMBABWE lacks mining legislation that protects locals from exploitation, resulting in their failure to benefit from natural resources in their communities, a United States (US) official has said.
Acting US embassy public affairs officer Rebecca Archer-Knepper applauded government for its “positive steps” to encourage foreign investment, which includes the formation of the Zimbabwe Investment Development Agency.
Archer-Knepper said last week Thursday during the launch of Information for Development Trust — a non-profit organisation which promotes investigative reporting.
The launch also saw the release of a report titled Fostering Sustainable Foreign Investments in Zimbabwe: Case Studies in the Mining Sector.
“Zimbabwe continues to receive FDI [foreign direct investment] although the amount has dropped significantly since 2014. Foreign companies have been accused of taking advantage of low wages, damaging the environment and violating human rights and labour rights in countries where governments fail to enforce rights effectively,” Archer-Knepper said.
“We note specific concerns communities in Zimbabwe have regarding foreign investments in the extractive sector. Zimbabwe’s mining sector currently lacks the safeguards that would ensure safety and benefits for the local community and also contribute to the country’s long-term sustainable development.”
Archer-Knepper urged government to formulate policies which build fair and transparent conditions for investment.
She identified corruption as the major stumbling block in the country’s efforts to attract foreign investors.
“Many of the elements that create an attractive investment climate for companies — US companies specifically — remain challenges in Zimbabwe. For example, endemic corruption presents a serious challenge to businesses operating in Zimbabwe,” Archer-Knepper added. – (Newsday)