Zimbabwean law to require black business ownership

ZimbabweWhite businesspeople in Zimbabwe who don’t cede control of their companies to black partners could face jail under a law going into effect next month.

An official notice Tuesday says the law will be enforced from March 1, and includes jail penalties of up to five years. It gives companies worth $500,000 or more 45 days to submit compliance proposals. Foreign investors also need to meet an “empowerment quota.”

The law passed by the Harare parliament when it was still dominated by President Robert Mugabe’s lawmakers in 2008 is meant to benefit “indigenous” Zimbabweans ? those who suffered under colonial-era racial discrimination and their children born after independence in 1980. That effectively excludes the nation’s 20,000 whites.

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press.