Zimbabwe and South Africa signed a bilateral investment agreement on Friday which would protect investments made by nationals of both countries in each other’s territory.

The Bilateral Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement (BIPPA), was signed in the capital by trade ministers from both countries.

“We want this BIPPA between our two countries to work. BIPPA is a document signalling to the world that Zimbabwe is ready for investments,” Elton Mangoma, Zimbabwe’s trade minister, said after the signing ceremony.

In 2000, at the height of the controversial land reform programmme in Zimbabwe, most South African businesses were affected and lost their investments.
The agreement means that South African-owned businesses will be protected with effect from September last year when the Global Political Agreement was signed.

Under that deal brokered by former South African president Thabo Mbeki, long time rivals President Robert Mugabe and opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai agreed to share power in Zimbabwe.

Tsvangirai became prime minister. Mangoma said Zimbabwe was working hard to improve its investment climate and assured South Africans and other countries that their businesses will not be affected by the state’s controversial empowerment law, which requires that locals own a 51 percent stake in all foreign firms.

Source: SAPA, 20091127

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