The former Zimbabwean minister they call Bismarck threw the name of Cecil Rhodes amid harsh words for the lack of mining development in his country.
“If you met someone who went to sleep in 1968 and woke up today you would not have to tell them much because mining in Zimbabwe has not changed a great deal since then,” says Tendai Biti.
The former finance minister of Zimbabwe – who earned his nickname in college days for his forthrightness – also warned of the dangers of scaring away mining investors with changes in the law.
He mentioned the indigenisation bill in Zimbabwe that, among other things, stipulates that black Zimbabweans should own 51 per cent of foreign owned mines.
“Everywhere from Norway to Canada and Australia countries are campaigning for a bigger share of their resources. This is nothing new and was not invented by Zimbabwe. My warning is that it is very easy to create policies that can become toxic and a barrier to the national interest. This becomes a challenge to the gathering of capital and foreign investment for development,” Biti told delegates in Cape Town.
“We need a win-win situation where both the people and investors prosper. We cannot go back to a situation where mining is the preserve of the British South Africa Company and Cecil John Rhodes. We have moved on from this.”
Zimbabwe is a miner of gold and platinum.