Indigenisation Laws and Bilateral Investment Treaties in Zimbabwe

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Emma Chitsove


This article discusses indigenisation and economic empowerment laws in Zimbabwe. During the colonial period, the laws in place were deliberately crafted to dis-empower Zimbabweans. It is against this background that after independence, the new government took strides to redress these imbalances through the Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Act and Regulations. However, these laws create legal challenges in that they potentially violate obligations in bilateral investment treaties (BITs) that Zimbabwe has entered into. They potentially violate national treatment and expropriation obligations in the BITs. After exploring the law on these elements of the BITs, the paper recommends a review of Zimbabwe’s BIT policy as a whole, with the view to aligning it with its constitutional mandate of promoting empowerment of indigenous Zimbabwean citizens.

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