The ZIMBABWE Situation Our thoughts and prayers are with Zimbabwe
- may peace, truth and justice prevail.

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From The Mail & Guardian (SA), 1 October

Pressure mounts on Zim's independent media

Zimbabwe Independent Staff Reporter

There is growing evidence of political pressure on Zimbabwe's media with
government stepping up its harassment of journalists at two of the country's
remaining private publications, the Zimbabwe Independent and the Standard.
Over the past week journalists from the two publications, both owned by
Trevor Ncube, have been questioned by the police about stories published as
far back as February. Both are the subject of civil litigation. The Standard
has also received threats from the Media and Information Commission to
investigate the paper for publishing a photograph of President Mugabe
hitching up his trousers which it claimed it had received complaints about.
In this case, and in an earlier complaint to the Standard, the principal
complainant was an official of the Department of Information in the Office
of the President. Independent editor Vincent Kahiya, reporter Augustine
Mukaro, and group general manager Raphael Khumalo were picked up last
Thursday over a report that assessors in the treason trial of MDC leader
Morgan Tsvangirai had blocked Judge President Paddington Garwe from handing
down a judgement before they could review a transcript of the proceedings.
The story was published on July 30. Standard editor Bornwell Chakaodza was
on Tuesday summoned to Harare Central police station to answer charges
arising from a story published in February, which alleged that Pastor Admire
Kasi had a licence to sell beer.

Meanwhile, Chakaodza was given until yesterday by the MIC to submit the
negative of the photograph of President Mugabe at the Harare Agricultural
Show published on the front page of the Standard on August 29. It was taken
with a digital camera. MIC chairman Tafataona Mahoso, who writes for the
Zanu-PF organ, The Voice, claimed the MIC had received "numerous telephone
complaints" about the photograph. He enclosed a written complaint from "one
of the 10 or so complainants". It was from J Neusu in the Department of
Information, writing on behalf of the "Secretary of State (for) Information
and Publicity" who claimed the "use of the photograph by the Standard is
extremely mischievous and represents a deliberate denigration of the highest
office in the country". He went on to complain that "it epitomises the
weekly newspaper's editorial disposition that is underpinned by an
anti-Zimbabwe and anti-Mugabe orientation. It is obvious that the paper
seeks to foist on the nation an image of the President that will facilitate
its regime change discourse." The photograph sought to "caricature, belittle
and undermine the dignity of the Head of State", the letter said.

Neusu in an earlier complaint to the MIC had complained that "reportage by
the Standard and its sister paper, the Zimbabwe Independent, is
characterised by outrageous lies and ridiculous claims underpinned by
misrepresentation of facts." "Their aim is to push forward an
anti-government and anti-Zimbabwe discourse," he said. "If left
unchallenged, such reportage would grow into a monster that threatens to
unleash chaos and despondency amongst the reading public." Khumalo said
recent police intervention amounted to harassment aimed at silencing the
media group's voice. "We are surprised at the engagement of the police as
all these cases are under litigation," Khumalo said. "A clear example is the
Tsvangirai story which we were picked up for last Thursday. Justice
Paddington Garwe had written to us through his lawyers complaining and
asking for a retraction which implies that the case was being handled
between the lawyers of the two parties." The Independent has maintained,
through its lawyers, that Justice Garwe was not in any way defamed by the
story. Chakaodza said the complaints represented a new wave of attempts to
silence the media. "The complaints defy logic," Chakaodza said. "While we
are not surprised by the reaction of the Department of Information to this
award-winning photograph of the president, we are dismayed that freedom of
the press is being circumscribed in this manner. Anyone with an elementary
knowledge of journalism would have praised such a memorable photograph."
Chakaodza said there was need to separate the state of Zimbabwe from the
person of the president. "We cannot see by any stretch of imagination how a
picture of the person of the president in whatever situation can be said to
be "anti-Zimbabwe," he said. Observers have questioned how the Law and Order
section of the CID came to be involved in the Kasi case.
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From cricinfo, 30 September

Ozias Bvute - The power behind the throne

Steven Price

The crisis which is threatening to destroy cricket inside Zimbabwe took
another twist in Harare yesterday, when the ICC hearing into allegations of
racism levelled against the Zimbabwe Cricket Union (ZCU) was halted before
it had really got under way. The problem was that many of the witnesses
refused to testify in the presence of three ZCU officials, and the one who
caused the most alarm among those ready to face the hearing was Ozias Bvute.
Bvute is something of a mysterious figure. Enquiries as to his exact role
within the ZCU produce little of any substance, and repeated requests to the
board for clarification remain unanswered. Even getting hold of a photograph
of him is impossible. Officially, Bvute is the head of marketing, but like
so much in Zimbabwe, the title appears barely to hint at his exact role
within the organisation. Several sources said that anyone visiting the
board's offices in Harare recently were left in no doubt that while Chingoka
was in London on ICC business, Bvute was running the show. Chingoka was keen
to play that down when questioned, but whatever his official role, Bvute is
a major player and appears to have assumed the role of managing director
following the resignation of Vince Hogg last month.

Bvute is described by those who have dealing with him as articulate, loud
and flashy. He drives a BMW X5, wears stylish suits, and displays all the
trappings of success in modern Zimbabwe. He is young - estimates put him in
his early thirties - and runs his own business in Harare. One journalist
told me that Bvute "knows how to push the right and wrong buttons with
people. He understands power, and can be intimidating intellectually and
with his physical presence." Bvute's cricket credentials appear almost
non-existent, and his appointment in 2001 to the ZCU was as head of the
Integration Implementation Committee, putting him in charge of the union's
integration policy relating to the advancement of black players. Many have
described this role as being that of a "political commissar", and from the
off his links with the ruling Zanu-PF regime have been widely reported.
Almost nothing is known about Bvute before that appointment, although Henry
Olonga, the former Zimbabwe fast bowler who fled the country after his
famous black-armband protest during the 2003 World Cup, said that Bvute and
Max Ebrahim had already established a hardline organisation called the
Campaign to Eradicate Racism in Zimbabwean Cricket. "They were pretty
militant in their attitude," Olonga recalled, "and were prepared to accuse
people of being racist and to take drastic measures, such as calling the
black players out of the mixed local leagues and getting them to form their
own all-black league."

Bvute first began to attract more widespread attention during the World Cup
when he tried to get Andy Flower dropped after he had also donned a black
armband, a move which was thwarted when several leading players threatened
to refuse to play. Bvute backed down, but was soon back in the limelight
when a few days later he kicked Olonga off the team bus and ordered him to
stop wearing Zimbabwe cricket kit. Bvute's intimidatory side was again in
evidence at the ZCU's AGM later that year when one or two dissenters
suggested that Robert Mugabe, the president of the board, did not deserve to
be re-elected on the nod. "If the member knows what is good for his health,"
Bvute snarled, "he will desist from asking such questions." While Bvute's
supporters play down his connections with the Mugabe government, few
actually believe that the two are not closely linked. "He constantly tells
team members that he has been to [information minister] Jonathan Moyo's
office and been talking to him about cricket issues," one former player
said. "If that's not being involved in politics in Zimbabwe today, nothing

But the extent of Bvute's influence really became apparent during the Heath
Streak crisis in April. Some claim that Bvute triggered the whole affair
when he announced that Dion Ebrahim, of Asian descent and classified black
for selection purposes, would be reclassified as white, thus limiting places
in national teams this year to four white players. Streak objected, and
Bvute demanded that Chingoka sack him. Accounts of what actually happened in
the next few days vary, but what is not in question is that when Vince Hogg,
the managing director of the ZCU and second only to Chingoka, brokered a
possible compromise, he was immediately overruled by Bvute. It was then that
his real standing became clear. In the next few months Bvute's antics did
little to help the ZCU's cause. At the end of April he was involved in a
public scuffle with Steve Mangongo, the chairman of selectors. Witnessess
say that Mangongo was arguing that he had to have the freedom to pick the
best side, white or black, while Bvute told him that he had to "pick who he
was told to pick". A tussle ensued which ended with Mangongo in a head- or
arm-lock, depending on which account you believe. Mangongo, a hardliner
himself, stood down four months later, and was replaced by Bvute's close
ally, Max Ebrahim.

As the crisis deepened, Bvute's true colours became more visible. "It
appears like they waited for someone to slip up," said Olonga, "and as soon
as Streak made those demands, he was fired. And anyone who stood up with him
was gone as well." On the pitch, Zimbabwe were in freefall, and Bvute wasn't
a happy man. When Pommie Mbangwa, a former Zimbabwe international turned
commentator, dared to criticise the new-look side, Bvute stormed into the
media box and told him that he was sacked. He later relented. And when
Zimbabwe were humiliatingly bowled out for 35, Bvute reportedly turned on
the (white) groundsman and blamed him for preparing a pitch designed to
embarrass the Zimbabwe side. Over the summer Bvute assumed even more
importance. In May he accompanied Chingoka for high-level meetings at Lord's
with the England & Wales Cricket Board. His increasing profile led to Lord
Avebury, in the House of Lords, demanding that he, along with Chingoka, be
banned from travelling to the European Union as they were "close supporters
and collaborators of the [Mugabe] regime". Avebury described Bvute as the
board's Zanu-PF representative. As the ZCU's August annual general meeting
loomed, there were rumours that some of the provincial associations were
planning on opposing the existing board. Bvute's response was to try to gain
a foothold at a provincial level. It was alleged that he offered Vumindaba
Moyo, a leading candidate to become chairman of Matabeleland, a job within
the ZCU so that Moyo would campaign for him instead. But Bvute had almost no
links with Matabeleland, and Moyo is reported to have told him to "go to
hell". As it was, the rebellion never materialised, and Bvute was

Almost all those who have opposed Bvute have now left the ZCU - either of
their own volition or sacked. As his power grows, so does his own perception
of his influence, and journalists who have dared to oppose the board have
been intimidated by him. The latest indication of his status came when a
source close to the ZCU revealed that Bvute had called in the Zimbabwe squad
shortly before they left to take part in the Champions Trophy and told them
that he was in charge and, as such, they should all call him "Sir". And now
the only person nominally above Bvute in the ZCU food chain is Chingoka. His
position is safe, as he is an identifiable figurehead. Even Bvute realises
that the cricket world would not tolerate someone with as little experience
as him emerging as the new head of the ZCU. But Chingoka, a natural
survivor, has realised which way the wind is blowing, and his utterances of
late have been far more bullish than before. Meanwhile, behind the scenes,
Bvute continues to exert more influence. What is sure is that while he has
his hands on the reins, there will be no compromises and no chance of any
settlement with the rebels.
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Anthrax that killed 2,300 game under control-Zimbabwe
      01 Oct 2004 12:42:12 GMT

      Source: Reuters

HARARE, Oct 1 (Reuters) - More than 2,000 animals, including 100 buffalo,
have died in the biggest ever outbreak of anthrax in Zimbabwe's private
sanctuaries but officials said on Friday the disease was now under control.

Stuart Hargreaves, the head of livestock and veterinary services in the
Agriculture Ministry, said the deaths had occurred in the past three weeks
in Malilangwe and Save conservancies, about 480 km (300 miles) south of

He said vultures feeding on dead carcases could have carried the anthrax
from neighbouring Botswana, scene of a recent outbreak.

"When vultures feed on dead animals their feet become contaminated and when
they fly to another area a lot of the anthrax spores are released,"
Hargreaves told Reuters.

But a South African vulture expert said this was unlikely.

"The thing about anthrax is that it is everywhere. You go anywhere in
southern Africa and dig up the soil and you will find the spores of
anthrax," said Steve Piper, an ornithologist at the University of

Piper said while vultures could carry the disease on their feet but the
distance from Chobe to southeast Zimbabwe -- close to 800 km (500 miles) -- 
made that unlikely.

"If it was true, you would expect a trail of infections in between," he

Two elephant carcasses, 100 buffalo and more than 2,000 smaller plains
animals were burned in Zimbabwe. Over 800 big game animals including 35
rhinos and buffalo were vaccinated against the hemorrhagic disease.

There were no reports of human deaths in the outbreak although 13 livestock
died from anthrax in an adjacent area.

Namibian officials last week said an anthrax outbreak in Botswana's Chobe
National Park crossed the border and killed elephants and buffalo in
neighbouring Namibia.

Hargreaves did not rule out the disease spreading into South Africa's Kruger
National Park.

Natural anthrax is endemic in Zimbabwe where its bacillus spores can live
for decades in dry soil and are ingested by animals ruminating for remnants
of vegetation in the driest months of September and October.

It is normally transmitted to people who cut up, carry or eat the meat of
dead animals. (Additional reporting by Ed Stoddard in Johannesburg)
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Daily News online edition

      War vets snub council

      Date:1-Oct, 2004

      THE Manicaland ZANU PF and war veterans leadership has snubbed an
invitation by the Mutare City Council to contribute to the formulation of
the city's 2005 budget, Mutare mayor, Misheck Kagurabadza has said.

      Mutare City council is currently holding consultative meetings with
various stakeholders over next year's budget.

      ZANU PF supporters and war veterans locked Kagurabadza out of his
office in April this year in demonstrations against a rates hike.

      Kagurabadza, who was elected on an opposition MDC ticket, said he was
disappointed that the ruling party had snubbed a call to contribute to next
year's budget formulation process.

      "It is sad that the local leadership of the ruling party and war
veterans have refused to contribute. These are the kind of actions that will
cause them to hold demonstrations because they wouldn't be aware of how we
reached the figures," Kagurabadza told Daily News Online.

      He said the council had sent invitation letters to ZANU PF leaders to
attend a budget consultative meeting last week.

      But the meeting had to be cancelled because they did not show up.

      The city council has however gone ahead with consultations with other
political parties, civic groups, residents, church leaders and industry.

      "We don't look at political orientation when dealing with civic
matters. We wanted all stakeholders to be involved. I have instructed my
officials to try and invite ZANU PF officials again because we need their
input," said Kagurabadza.

      ZANU PF Manicaland provincial chairman Mike Madiro said: "We chose not
to attend because the council is not serious. We are of the view that it
should be booted out so why should we help them when we want them out."

      Kagurabadza said most people consulted wanted the council to widen its
revenue base and increase rates to raise money needed to undertake capital
projects suspended this year.

      The council was forced to suspend capital projects worth $40 billion
due a rate-freeze imposed on all city councils by the government.

      The Urban Councils Association of Zimbabwe (UCAZ) has said that the
rate-hike freeze had affected service delivery in most towns.

      UCAZ has also accused the government of sabotaging urban councils
through the rate-increase freeze.

      Most urban councils in Zimbabwe are run by the opposition.

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Daily News online edition

      Bar association slams arrest of women protesters

      Date:2-Oct, 2004

      The International Bar Association (IBA) has strongly condemned the
Zimbabwean police action against the 59 members of the Zimbabwen human
rights group, Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA) who were detained on Wednesday.

      Led by Jenni Williams, the women walked from Bulawayo to Harare to
register their displeasure over the proposed legislation that seeks to limit
and monitor the operations of Non-Governmental Organisations in the country.

      In a statement issued in London on Thursday, IBA said the Zimbabwean
authorities had displayed utter contempt for basic human rights standards.

      "The IBA has repeatedly expressed its concerns about the Zimbabwean
authorities' disregard for human rights. These have included the recurrent
deployment of police power to mete out extra-judicial punishment, and the
application of repressive laws to obstruct the

      exercise of fundamental freedoms," said Mark Ellis executive director
of the IBA.

      "It just defies belief that the authorities deem locking up children
and their mothers and obstructing their access to lawyers to be an
appropriate response to a peaceful march. This appalling display simply
reinforces the point that these women and many others have been making about
repressive measures being taken by the Zimbabwean government to oppress its
people," he added.

      A lawyer for the nine detainees held in Harare Central Police Station
told the IBA on Thursday that police had obstructed their access to the
detainees and that amongst those being held is a one-year-old child. "We
struggled to see them, these women were arrested while on a peaceful
sponsored walk. At first the police said they did not know where the women
were, later they denied us access to them because they said they were being
interrogated. They did not want to disclose exactly who had been arrested
and what for. It was only this morning that we were allowed brief access to
identify all the members of the group being held. Amongst them is a
one-year-old child," said lawyer Wozani Moyo.

      Lawyers for the 50 women held in Chegutu Police Station described
similar, obstructive behaviour by the police.

      "The police were evasive and gave us conflicting information about
where they were being held. When we did eventually see them it was clear to
us that the police did not know what to charge them with. It is unacceptable
that police can arrest people and then seek to find reasons for the arrest
whilst they detain them," said Andrew Makoni who is representing the 50
detainees in Chegutu.

      "It took us half a day just to locate our clients," he added.

      Makoni said that the legal team had filed an urgent application in the
High Court of Harare for a habeus corpus order arguing that the arrest and
continued detention by the police "is unlawful" and that the Zimbabwe police
seek "to punish the women without going through lawful court process to
obtain a conviction."

      Makoni said: "When notified of the pending application the police
responded by saying that they will take the women to court this afternoon to
seek an order for further detention because, they say, these women have
carried out demonstrations in the past and they are likely to continue with
the march if they are released".

      "The Zimbabwean government has an obligation in law to guarantee the
rights to freedom of thought, movement, expression and assembly. The right
to march peacefully is an entitlement of all peoples.

      "There is also an obligation on all States to observe human rights
standards in policing operations. We call upon the Zimbabwean authorities to
desist from violating these universal norms," said Mark Ellis.

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Mining giants told to pay back Zimbabwean miners

October 01, 2004, 18:02

Membathisi Mdladlana, the labour minister, has warned the country's mining
giants and farmers that they must prepare to make back payments to hundreds
of thousands of Zimbabwean miners who worked and retired without proper
payment in South Africa. Mdladlana made the comments at the signing of a
memorandum of understanding with Paul Mangwana, his Zimbabwean counterpart,
in Pretoria today.

The memorandum considers ways of reimbursing former Zimbabwean gold mine
migrant workers and farm labourers. He says the South African government has
been approached by many African neighbours on the issue. Mdladlana says the
document also outlines policy and guidelines that the farmers, especially
around the borders of the country, must follow before employing foreign
workers. Those who had employed the migrant workers should get their bank
balances and cheques ready, he says.

Zimbabwe and South Africa are doing this on behalf of former mine and farm
labourers who did not receive proper severance packages from local employers
because of their foreign status. Mdladlana has urged the local farming
community not to abuse the "illegal immigrants" because they also have the
same human rights.

Mangwana on the other hand says the agreement will continue strengthening
both countries' working relations. More than 20 000 foreign farm labourers
are employed illegally in South Africa.
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Press Release No. 04/208
October 1, 2004
International Monetary Fund
700 19th Street, NW
Washington, D.C. 20431 USA

IMF to Close Zimbabwe Resident Representative's Office

The International Monetary Fund has decided to close its resident representative office in Harare effective end-October 2004. The Harare post has been maintained with local staff since October 2003, when the previous Fund's Resident Representative left Harare. Future relations with Zimbabwe will be conducted via contacts with headquarters staff and regular Executive Board discussions.

It should be noted that the Executive Board of the Fund has on July 8, 2004 decided to postpone a recommendation for compulsory withdrawal of Zimbabwe from the IMF, providing the country with another chance to strengthen its cooperation with the Fund in terms of economic policies and payments. Therefore, the closure of the IMF Harare office should not be linked to the overdue financial obligations of Zimbabwe vis-à-vis the IMF. In fact, the IMF does not maintain resident representatives in all member countries nor in all borrowing countries. A number of factors are taken into consideration in the decision to open or maintain a resident representative office, including the intensity of program involvement and/or the regional economic importance of the member country.

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AI Index: AFR 46/028/2004 (Public)
News Service No: 244
1 October 2004

Zimbabwe: Another death at Porta Farm - 11 people now dead following police
misuse of tear gas
As the death toll rises at Porta Farm following police misuse of tear gas
during an attempt to forcibly evict residents, Amnesty International is
repeating its call for an immediate, full and independent inquiry into the
actions of the police and the subsequent deaths. Of the 11 people known to
have died so far, five are children under the age of one.
On 22 September Amnesty International reported that 10 people had died at
Porta Farm, following exposure to tear gas. Relatives of the 10 deceased
have confirmed this information to Amnesty International in sworn
An eleventh person, Angeline Nhamoinesu, aged 46, has since died. Her
relatives report that she also became sick after being exposed to tear gas
on 2 September 2004. They have requested a post-mortem.
All 11 deaths were reported to Norton Police Station or to a Police Post
based at Porta Farm by relatives of the deceased. In accordance with
Zimbabwe law, relatives obtained permission from the police before they
buried their dead.
According to Zimbabwean and South African media, the Zimbabwe Republic
Police have denied that any Porta Farm residents died following the events
of 2 September. Amnesty International, with the permission of relatives, is
naming the deceased.
They are: Fungai Livson's one-day-old son (he had not been given a name);
Ronald Job Daniel (5 months); Matilda Matsheza, (5 months); Yolanda Rungano
(5 months); Monalisa Banda (7 months); Kuyeka Phiri (aged 30); Viola Mupetsi
(aged 30); Julia Nheredzo (aged 32); Raphael Chatima (aged 40) and Vasco
John (aged 65).
"The Government of Zimbabwe must ensure that police behaviour at Porta Farm
on 2 September 2004, including the use of tear gas by police officers and
the 11 deaths which followed, are rigorously investigated, and the results
of the investigation made public," Amnesty International said. "Any police
officer responsible for breaches of police procedures and violation of human
rights must be brought to justice."
Since making its first public statement on the situation at Porta Farm,
Amnesty International has received information alleging that residents are
being subjected to intimidation by members of the Zimbabwe Republic Police.

"The Zimbabwean authorities should ensure that such intimidation ceases
immediately and that the allegations are fully investigated. Residents of
Porta Farm must receive the full protection of the law," Amnesty
International said.
On 2 September 2004, riot police, war veterans and members of the youth
"militia" reportedly went to Porta Farm to forcibly evict some 10,000
people, many of whom have been living there since 1991. The police were
acting in defiance of a court order prohibiting the eviction. According to
eye-witness testimony the police fired tear gas directly into the homes of
the Porta Farm residents.
Doctors who examined some of the Porta Farm residents following the events
of 2 September believe that those most seriously affected by the tear gas
were particularly vulnerable due to pre-existing illnesses such as
On 22 September 2004 Amnesty International expressed grave concern about the
police action at Porta Farm, and the deaths which followed. Since then, a
spokesman for the Zimbabwe Republic Police has been quoted in the Zimbabwe
Independent on Friday 24 September, and in the South African newspaper
Business Day (Johannesburg) on 28 September saying the Zimbabwe Republic
Police are unaware of the deaths at Porta Farm.

Public Document
For more information please call Amnesty International's press office in
London, UK, on +44 20 7413 5566
Amnesty International, 1 Easton St., London WC1X 0DW. web:

For latest human rights news view

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Cricket: Racism report will now be considered at ICC Board meeting in

International Cricket Council

Media Release

London, 30 September 2004

The ICC has today confirmed that the report into the allegations of racism
in Zimbabwe cricket will now be considered at the ICC Executive Board
meeting in Pakistan on 16-17 October.

Previously it had been agreed by the players' representative and the ICC
that this report would be withheld until after the conclusion of a separate
Alternative Dispute Resolution process concerning other issues between the
players and the Zimbabwe Cricket Union.

During the hearing into the allegations of racism in Zimbabwe, the players'
legal representative agreed that the report from the racism inquiry should
now go to the ICC Executive Board at its next meeting.

The presiding adjudicators in the racism inquiry, India's Solicitor General,
Mr Goolam Vahanvati, and South African High Court Judge, Steven Majiedt,
will now consider written submissions from the Zimbabwe Cricket Union (ZCU)
and the players. Mr Vahanvati and Judge Majiedt will then compile a report
in time for the meeting in Pakistan.

Media update:

This is an updated position from an ICC Media Release sent earlier today
which stated that this report would not be considered until the conclusion
of an Alternative Dispute Resolution process that will deal with other
issues between the parties.

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A 'Dirty Dozen' List of Preconditions for Attracting Foreign Direct Investment

Richard V. Tolbert
New York

Based on my own experience and the experiences of many other international businessmen who have done business in Developing Countries, there are a number of factors that have been identified as critical to attracting and keeping foreign direct investment in Emerging Markets. Here are what I refer to as the “Dirty Dozen” preconditions or barriers which might be most applicable to the current Liberian situation:

Market Size.
Market size and per capita purchasing power is critical to many investment decisions, especially where economies of scale cannot be met to justify the minimal size of investment. Despite Liberia’s tiny 3 million population, it is a part of the much larger 200 million plus ECOWAS Free Trade Zone.

Political Stability.
Political stability and overall country risk rating are essential especially to major international companies who have to justify their investment decisions to public shareholders.

Regulatory Environment.
Procedures for establishing, operating and even closing a business, such as visitors' visas, work permits, business certification, import permits, export permits, building permits, tax clearances, labor certifications, health requirements, environmental policies, land tenure, monopolies and local ownership requirements. It can take three times as long to start a business in some Developing Countries as it does in a Developed Country.

Quality of Infrastructure especially roads, railways, airports, seaports, utilities, power, water, sanitation, postal services, telecoms for phone, faxes and email, health facilities, and basic services such as municipal garbage disposal.

Labor cost, labor relations, unionization, work habits, labor productivity and availability of basic trained and educated labor. (Based on hand experience managing hundreds of skilled and semi-skilled Liberian workers, I can attest that Liberian labor is eager and productive if treated with respect and well managed.)

The level of crime and physical safety in a country is probably the most critical factor irrespective of potential financial return for reputable business people. Businessmen are accustomed to taking financial and other risks daily with their money - but not with their lives. Although many recent travelers to Liberia report that security is not as bad as some foreign 'travel advisories' would indicate, in matters of security perception is often as important as reality.

Transparency or corruption, both petty and major, is not only a hidden cost but also a continuous hassle to doing business in many Developing Countries. This 'hassle' factor can be one of the major 'turn-offs' to doing business for most foreign businessmen.

Local tax rates, tax policies and special tax incentives such as duty free imports of raw materials and capital goods, tax holidays for start-up businesses, free repatriation of profits and dividends and non-taxation of non-local source income.

Raw materials.
Access to raw materials, suppliers, natural resources, land, pre-fabricated buildings, pre-installed utilities and industrial free zones.

Foreign Exchange.
Foreign Exchange risks, exchange controls, devaluation and local inflation can have a dramatic a impact on actual return on investment.

Financial Sector.
A sound financial and banking sector is essential not only for making and receiving payments locally and abroad but also because with heightened fears today of global money laundering and terrorist funding a sound financial system is critical to a country’s reputational risk. And most legitimate companies simply will not do business in “blacklisted countries.

Rule of Law.
The enforceability of contracts, rule of law and an impartial judiciary that can protect investors from frivolous lawsuits are essential to the sustainability of normal business relations.

Obviously, some of these factors in the near term are out of the control of a country like Liberia emerging from over a decade of devastating civil war. However, looking on the positive side, there are 3 crucial areas which I believe should be the most immediate focus of Government: Security, Infrastructure and Transparency.

In this regard, here are some practical steps which can be taken immediately to turn some of these barriers into stepping-stones:

1.To address security, appoint a highly professional security advisor to accompany every foreign investor who requests one from the moment they step off the plane to the moment they step back on a plane to leave. The investor can be charged a fee for this service, which he should not mind paying if he knows he is not going to be 'hassled' throughout the rest of his stay. This fee could go towards a special incentive pay for customs, security and government personnel dealing with foreign investors.

2. Appoint a Special investment Advisor from the National Investment Bureau (or Office of the Chairman if the potential investor is big enough) to run behind all the regulatory approvals and paperwork for foreign investors , from visas to work permits, business certifications etc. Reduce the amount of procedures required to do business and centralize as many of the approvals as possible in a “one-stop” bureau.

3. Focus Government’s limited resources on fixing the basic infrastructure of roads, lights, water, sanitation, telecoms , postal services and airports. Quality of life in doing business abroad is as important to most foreign investors as potential return on investment. (Check out the swimming pools at most hotels in Ghana). $300,000 spent on fixing the lights on Broad Street will do much more to attract foreign investors than $300,000 spent on lobbying in Washington or ads in the New York Times. ("If we build it, they will come . . .")

4. Conduct a massive domestic P-R campaign to educate the Liberian public and government employees in particular at all levels about the importance and sensitivity of foreign investors to national development. Let people know that the $5 'dash' someone is demanding from a visitor could be the last straw that drives away a multimillion dollar investment that could have employed, fed, clothed and trained hundreds of their compatriots i.e. portray hassling foreign investors as selfish and unpatriotic.

5.Target limited investment promotion dollars at specific foreign industries, markets and companies that can best benefit from synergies with Liberia’s particular competitive advantages e.g citrus, horticulture, agriculture and rubber related industries. Utilize the internet as much as possible to access the global market place at minimal cost and do as much of the pre-feasibility work as possible to identify specific investment projects along with their investment needs.

6. Tap into the large pool of 300,000-400,000 Liberians with a deep seated vested interest in seeing their own country recover who are scattered in businesses large and small all over the world. This should be the Government’s first line of offense in attracting foreign investors, both for the contacts they have as well as for their capital, know-how and access to foreign markets. And treat every potential Liberian investor as well as foreign investors. The Government could start by organizing a 'Unity and Investment Week' in Liberia for expatriate Liberians.

7. Government should encourage the attraction of labor-intensive outsourcing industries such as basic manufacturing, light industries ,data processing and information technology. Obviously a basically educated skilled workforce and reliable telecommunications are two essential prerequisites for these services, but we can begin establishing the groundwork now by appealing for equipment and assistance in high-tech training from some of the wealthy high-tech companies around the world who may see a benefit as well as humanitarian rewards long-term in having Liberians trained on their products and services. Some of our West African neighbors are already benefiting from the creation of hundreds of jobs and millions in foreign exchange earnings from the information technology revolution.

8. Agriculture should be given high priority for it's ability to be a source of large scale employment, it's export cash generation and for the benefits of imports-substitution it can provide for many basic staples . . . (did someone say rice?). One way of jump-starting Liberia's agriculture sector might be to attract some of Zimbabwe's highly skilled displaced farmers by offering special inducements such as unused free land on long-term agriculture leases. This is already being done in some of our West African countries.

9. The Liberian Government could ask the US and other Developed Countries to grant special holidays on profits earned in Liberia to their corporations for the next 5 years to go along with the tax holidays Liberia is granting these companies on profit earned in Liberia.

10. Liberians need to study legislation such as AGOA that is impacting foreign trade with the US to see how we can take advantage of any anomalies – for example, I understand that Gulf shrimpers have pressured the U.S. government to ban Vietnamese shrimp from entering the U.S. Why can’t a Liberian company team up with Vietnamese shrimpers to fish for shrimp in Liberian waters and export their catch to the U.S.?

11. Government at this stage should be extremely flexible and realistic in it's dealing with potential foreign investors. We are a small, poor, and politically fragile market with few unique resources which are not replaceable elsewhere. And the competition to attract foreign investment among LDCs in intense. This doesn't mean we have to 'sell our birthright for a mess of pottage', but we should be strategically smart and realize that sometimes it is better to get the investor to put some 'sunk costs' into the ground before putting the squeeze on for tougher terms. This is a lesson we should have learned from the 1970’s when Liberia scared away a potential billion dollar Japanese investment in the Wologisi iron ore mountains by negotiating too hard up-front.

12. Finally, some of our greatest untapped strategic assets that can be used to attract business are our cultural and historical ties to the U.S., English speaking population, strategic location as a coastal gateway to West Africa, freely convertible dollar based currency and a population that has historically been extremely welcoming to foreigners.

If Liberians can unite and get serious, we can rebuild a great country.

Richard V. Tolbert, a Liberian who serves on the board of AllAfrica Global Media, is currently senior vice president of a a major New York international private banking firm. A version of these remarks were delivered at a forum on private sector in Liberia on September 21 sponsored by the Leon H. Sullivan Foundation.

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