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In a new controversial program, the country of Zimbabwe is now demanding that foreign banks give a substantial piece of their holdings back to the country. The plan is controversial, but so are many of the decisions being made in Zimbabwe these days. As elections approach, the discussion is likely to get more heated, as the economically-challenged nation seeks to rebuild its declining wealth.
Zimbabwe has issued an ultimatum, giving all foreign banks in the country one year to comply with their controversial indigenization program. The program, passed by Parliament in 2007, requires all banks worth at least $1 in value to give a 51% share of their organization to black Zimbabweans.
A foreign bank official, while noting the rhetoric on the matter was increasing, said the measure would be difficult to enforce. “It’s not like any government could just take over a bank—the bank would just shut down, but they don’t want that and we don’t want that, so it’s probably not going to happen,” they explained. “There’s a lack of clarity about what they can do.”