The Herald (Harare)

22 March 2010

Zimbabwe: Prioritise Women in Indigenisation Drive - DPM Khupe

Harare — DEPUTY Prime Minister Thokozani Khupe has come out in full support of the indigenisation and empowerment drive saying women should get priority in the Government programme that seeks to address past economic disparities.

Speaking at a function to celebrate the signing of an investment partnership deal between a local and a South African empowerment group, DPM Khupe said there was need for a sectoral approach to the indigenisation thrust.

"Indigenisation and economic empowerment needs a broad based sectoral approach.

"As women, we are saying we want to be given priority, as we constitute more than 52 percent of the population," she said.

DPM Khupe made the remarks after the signing of an investment agreement between the Professional Women Executives and Business Women's Forum and the Women's Investment Portfolio Holdings of South Africa.

The agreement will result in the formation of a joint venture investment company to be incorporated in Zimbabwe with Proweb owning 51 percent of the equity while Wiphold will own 49 percent of the entire issued share capital. The two parties also agreed to jointly pursue investment opportunities in South Africa.

The Deputy Prime Minister's address drew wild applause from the women as she stressed that it was time for women to take their rightful place in the economic and empowerment debate that has been raging over the past few weeks. The indigenisation and economic empowerment regulations, which came into effect on March 1, stipulate that locals should own at least 51 percent of any major business venture.

Addressing the same audience, Deputy Prime Minister Mutambara said the Government would play a facilitating role to ensure the empowerment objectives of women were met. He hailed the women's initiative to create global partnerships that resulted in the partnership of the two women's organisations saying that it was one of the biggest success stories to come out of the inclusive Government since it came into being over a year ago.

The Minister of Women Affairs, Gender and Community Development Dr Olivia Muchena said all women, regardless of their age groups, should join hands in the quest to empower themselves.

She said local women were lucky in that their struggle for empowerment would be faster as Wiphold's past experiences would guide them.

Youth, Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Minister Saviour Kasukuwere applauded Wiphold for taking the bold step to invest in Zimbabwe at a time many investors have become skeptical.

He said while a lot of other stakeholders were still stuck in reservations about compliance with indigenisation law and regulations the South Africans had already made up their mind that they would invest in Zimbabwe.

Against this background, Minister Kasukuwere said women investors partnering locals needed not worry a lot about the 51 percent to 49 percent thresholds.

He said local women needed not worry a lot about lack of funding for empowerment projects considering that the custodian for NSSA funds was a woman, Labour and Social Welfare Minister Paurina Mpariwa.

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