Zimbabwe is working to relax its investment laws, the country’s new vice-president has said.

Emmerson Mnangagwa assured local business people visiting his farm at Kwekwe in December 2014 that the government would announce fresh business policies in 2015 focusing on promoting foreign direct investment and loosening up the country’s indigenisation law. He also said he plans to reduce bureaucratic regulations that harm the investment environment.

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Mr Mnangagwa became vice-president in December 2014, having served as the country’s justice minister since 2013. Just days after his appointment, he promised to reconsider the issue of indigenisation. The Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Act demands that foreign or white-owned companies cede 51% of their shares to black nationals.

The indigenisation policy is blamed for putting off investors. Zimbabwe received only $400m in total FDI during 2013, according to the World Investment Report 2014, published by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development. At the same time, its neighbour Zambia received $1.8bn while South Africa attracted $8.1bn in FDI.

Mr Mnangagwa plans to make investment regulations simpler to facilitate investment. "We also need to find out sector by sector how fast we can structure consultation procedures in those areas," he told local media.