Zimbabwe government reverses ultimatum for foreign shop owners to close down on Jan. 1
HARARE, Zimbabwe – Foreign shop owners_mainly Chinese and Nigerian nationals_say Zimbabwean authorities have reversed an ultimatum for them to close their businesses by Jan. 1.
The owners of mainly small businesses selling cheap consumer goods said Monday there were informed of a weekend statement by empowerment minister Francis Nhema that they have been allowed to continue trading.
Under Zimbabwe's "indigenization" laws passed in 2007, certain sectors such as retail trade, farming and hair salons are reserved solely for black Zimbabweans.
Poor townships and city flea markets have in recent years been inundated by shops run by foreigners who had come under fire for taking those opportunities from local blacks.
In a statement in the state media Nhema commended the foreigners for playing a "very important role" in providing services to impoverished Zimbabweans.