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Botswana, Zimbabwe ratify key agreement

Botwsana and Zimbabwe here Monday ratified a billateral investment agreement and a US$ 70 million loan to Harare.

The Bilateral Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement (BIPPA) is meant to protect cross-border investment between the two countries.

It was signed two months ago but remained unratified by the two governments.

Botswana, worried by Zimbabwe’s politically-driven propensity to seize private property, pushed for the agreement to ensure that its companies operating here were safe.

The agreement was also part of the condition Botswana set for a US$ 70 million loan to help Zimbabwe recover from a decade of economic meltdown, widely blamed on the government’s controversial seizure of white-owned farms.

President Robert Mugabe’s government has now turned to foreign-owned companies, legislating that the businesses should surrender 51 per cent stakes to locals.

It is such behaviour that had worried Botswana to demand BIPPA to protect its businesses in Zimbabwe.

Botswana’s Trade and Industry Minister Dorcas Makgato-Malesu, said her country now considered Zimbabwe a safe investment destination for Botswana’s businesses.

“The bond that our two countries share must be nurtured and improved to effectively work, especially for the business community,” Makgato-Malesu said.

In terms of investment balance, there are more Zimbabwean businesses in Botswana than the other way round and Zimbabwe is not worried about the safety of its investments in Botswana

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