House of Lords written question – answered at on 15 March 2011.

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Photo of Lord Ashcroft Lord Ashcroft Conservative

To ask Her Majesty's Government on what basis they are recommending United Kingdom businesses to invest in Zimbabwe.

Photo of Lord Howell of Guildford Lord Howell of Guildford Minister of State (Foreign and Commonwealth Office) (International Energy Policy)

Whether or not to invest in Zimbabwe is a commercial decision for individual companies to make. However, we are aware of increasing interest from British companies in investing in Zimbabwe. We have clarified that there is no UK embargo on doing business there and have facilitated networking events with the Minister for Africa so that British companies can discuss at first hand both the opportunities and the challenges of investing in the country.

We believe that improved international trade and investment will be vital to Zimbabwe's development. But it is up to the Government of Zimbabwe to create the conditions and environment that will attract such investment.

In this context, we believe that the recent threats to nationalise UK and other foreign companies in retaliation for the renewal of the EU restrictive measures are irresponsible. Such action would not only damage Zimbabwean livelihoods but deter much needed foreign investment at a time when the Zimbabwean economy has started to recover after years of negative growth.

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