'US not opposed to indigenisation'

HARARE - United States envoy to Zimbabwe, Bruce Wharton, has said “philosophically”, his government is not opposed to the indigenisation policy.

He, however, said there seemed to be inconsistencies in the way the policy was being implemented.

“If the concept is to protect property rights of citizens, then it’s good. What matters to investors is consistency,” Wharton said at the graduation of female journalists who had completed a Reuters Foundation finance and economic training bankrolled by the US Embassy.

Analysts have criticised the indigenisation policy for dampening the country’s prospects of attracting the desperately needed foreign direct investment (FDI).

Commenting on relations between the two countries, Wharton said Harare and Washington needed to move from the political rhetoric to improve relations.

“Right now we need to focus on where we have common interests,” he said. 

He said the United States and Zimbabwe needed to build trust and stay away from political issues.

“Re-engagement is not all about sanctions. We have areas were we have mutual interest like in tourism and public health,” Wharton said.

The US Embassy has faced demonstrations calling for the lifting of an embargo on companies and individuals linked to President Robert Mugabe’s ruling Zanu PF party.

Ambassador Wharton said there was nothing illegal about restrictions and limitations on individuals.

“And every country has the right to pass laws imposing limitations on the business its own citizens do with foreign citizens or companies, nothing illegal about that,” Wharton said.

“So let’s move beyond the notion of illegal sanctions.”

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