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Counting the Cost
Zimbabwe's 'black empowerment'
How will Zimbabwe's new empowerment laws affect the country's economy?
Last Modified: 17 Mar 2012 15:16

The world's second-biggest platinum producer, the South African company Impala Platinum, has interests in Zimbabwe, a country with its fair share of political and economic problems. Now the company has been forced to reduce those interests because the Zimbabwean government is demanding 51 per cent of ownership be in the hands of black Zimbabweans.

They call it 'black empowerment', a policy which has dominated President Robert Mugabe's 31-years in power who has fought endlessly to remove what he considers the remnants of white rule in what was once called Southern Rhodesia.

Critics of this plan though say it only emboldens Mugabe's Zanu-PF party ahead of elections because despite the outline of a unity government, there is a crucial split in Zimbabwean politics.

The Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) controls the finance ministry reducing the power of Mugabe to print money, but Mugabe's party runs the mines ministry. If it holds sway over those, it could fund its patronage system through the 51 per cent arrangement.

Saviour Kasukuwere, Zimbabwe's empowerment minister, speaks about the issues behind 'black empowerment' and Impala Platinum and the country's development.

Putin's inner circle

"In the large sense symbiosis of politics and vested interests you never know who serves what and basically to a large extent Putin’s actions in internal and external politics have been driven by the desire to protect certain vested interests and special businesses." 

 - Vladimir Milov, former Russian deputy energy minister

In Russia the population is settling in to a new/old reality of having Vladimir Putin as its president but one thing that is certainly looking familiar to a lot of Putin's critics is the cosy relationship he has with big business.

Anti-Putin protests in the run up to the presidential poll made their demands for greater accountability and rule of law loud and clear. Putin has repeatedly denied anything to do with the enrichment of old friends and allies.

Charles Stratford takes a look at the president-elect's rich and powerful inner circle. 

Ilya Ponomarev, the Duma deputy explains: "He created this small network of people who helped him. All these guys they became the real pillars of Putin's economy they are right now stealing all the money from our budget."

Also on Counting the Cost: Latvia's boom - Daniels Pavluts, the country's economy minister, talks about the comeback of Latvia and lessons learned from the rapid economic rise and fall. Plus, what is driving Libya's economy now?

 

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Or stay in touch by emailing the team at: countingthecost@aljazeera.net

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Al Jazeera
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