Zimbabwe: Govt Rectifies Violated Bippas

14 October 2019

Government has committed to rectify Bilateral Investment Protection and Promotion Agreements (BIPPAs) that were violated during the implementation of the Land Reform Programme in the early 2000s.

In addition, the authorities are actively working to ratify at least 20 more BIPPAs as the country continues with its drive to strengthen international ties.

Although the Government began its land reforms in the 1980s to address the imbalances in land access ownership and use that had existed in the country before independence, the fast track land reform programme

was introduced in 2001 to speed up the redistribution of land.

"Where violations were made with regards to land under BIPPAs, Government is engaging the respective parties, with a view to reaching amicable settlements," said the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development in an update titled "Key Milestones and Progress on Policy Reforms".

A BIPPA is a legal instrument that establishes specific rights and obligations to meet the primary purpose of protecting foreign investments against discriminatory measures like policy inconsistencies by the host state.

In principle, it ensures reciprocal encouragement, promotion and protection of investments, thus enabling conditions conducive to increase investment.

"Zimbabwe reiterates its commitment to ensuring that all foreign investments are safe and will honour its obligations under the various BIPPAs.

"The country signed and ratified 12 Bilateral Investment Promotion and Protection Agreements (BIPPAs) with Denmark, Germany, Switzerland, Netherlands, China, India, Russia, Kuwait, Iran, South Africa, Yugoslavia and the OPEC Fund.

"Signed BIPPAs awaiting ratification total 20, while a further 23 BIPPAs are being negotiated," added Treasury.

Zimbabwe has to date ratified BIPPAS with Denmark, Germany, Switzerland, Netherlands, China, India, Russia, Kuwait, Iran, South Africa, Yugoslavia and the OPEC Fund.

And BIPPAs that are in the pipeline are with the following countries: Czech, Sweden, Korea Republic, the United States of America, Malaysia and Thailand.

Experts say the ratifying of BIPPAs can never be over-emphasised as they give the much needed confidence required by the country's trading partners when investing.

In a related matter, the Government has said it remains committed to compensating farm owners that were affected by the Land Reform Programme.

"Government has committed to finalising outstanding compensation obligations to all former farm owners affected by Land Reform Programme as enshrined in the Constitution and in line with BIPPAs," said the Finance Ministry.

"As a result, during the year 2019, progress has been made in engaging the former commercial farmers to reach consensus on the global compensation figure for developments on farms.

"Going forward, Government, through the National Budgets will continue to make provisions for compensation, while also engaging development partners on alternative ways of mobilising more resources to conclude compensation under the Land Reform Programme."

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