11 January 2013

Zimbabwe: New Youth Quota System for Companies

INDIGENISATION minister Saviour Kasukuwere says companies would soon be required to have a 25% youth representation of those under 35 years on their boards of directors in line with the Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Act.

This follows a 2012 cabinet decision to reserve a 25% quota of all economic, indigenisation and empowerment facilities across the economy for the country's youths.

Information gathered by the Zimbabwe Independent indicates youths would be independent board directors.

Kasukuwere said his ministry would apply the new quota system to all companies that have recently complied with the empowerment law as they are all expected to announce new boards soon.

"This is a way to empower our youths and we want to ensure full compliance," said Kasukuwere in Mt Darwin last Friday.

"I have noticed that the youths have a tendency to assume (that) sitting on the boards of big companies is a preserve for the older generation and by so doing they are discriminating against themselves," he said.

Kasukuwere said the mining sector was almost in full compliance with the Indigenisation Act, which compels all foreign-owned companies to relinquish 51% shareholding to indigenous Zimbabweans.

According to his ministry's statistics, 120 mining companies had complied with the indigenisation law with 400 Employee Share Ownership Trusts created at the end of November 2012.

Compliant extractive firms include Mimosa Platinum Mine, Pretoria Portland Cement and Unki Platinum.

Kasukuwere said government had appointed young lawyer Psychology Maziwisa as one of the new Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation board members in line with the new requirement.

This is also in line with his ministry's target to enable youths to participate in the mainstream economy and contribute to economic growth and development.

He said the National Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Fund, or the sovereign wealth fund, stood at US$4 billion as at December last year and is expected to top US$5 billion by June this year.

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