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Zimbabwe got independence on 18 April 1980. The Constitution of Zimbabwe is the supreme law of the country.At the moment there is a Government of National Unity [GNU] which is in the process of crafting a new constitution to incorporate in clear terms  the principles of democracy, the rule of law and justice for all.

Legal System

Zimbabwe  uses  Roman-Dutch law. English law has also has a bearing, mainly on commercial law and business law.  

Currency and Exchange Control

The Zimbabwean dollar is the legal tender in the country in terms of the Decimal Currency Act [Chapter 22:04]. However, in order to arrest the economic free fall that obtained prior to March 2009, the coalition government between ZANU (PF) and the 2 MDC parties introduced a multi currency regime in which the US Dollar, SA Rand, Botswana Pula, British Pound can be used as payment for the exchange of goods and services. 

The basic purpose of exchange control is – 

  • to ensure the smooth and effecient repatriation into the Zimbabwean banking system of all foreign currency acquired by residents of the country, ; and
  • to ensure that foreign currency outflows are for legitimate purpose only. 

Exchange Control is administered by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe under powers in terms of the Exchange Control Act [Chapter 22:05] and Regulations made under it. 

Mineral Resources 

Mineral resources, such as diamonds, gold, platinum, coal, iron and granite are found in large deposits.  Despite the contribution from the mineral wealth,the mainstay of the economy is  still agriculture which is experiencing significant revival after years of underperformance owing to several challenges. The main crops for export are tobacco and cotton. . All mineral rights are owned by the State and not by private persons or bodies but the rights are passed on to them for prospecting, exploration and mining in the form of licenses, grants or concessions


Zimbabwe is a landlocked country which relies on South Africa, Mozambique and Namibian ports for goods that are imported and exported by sea. The country boasts a good infrastructure with modern telecommunications systems and good road, rail and air links. 

Tourism is fast becoming a significant contributor to the country’s economy with international tourist arrivals recorded to be on the increase.In 2013 the country will have the privilege to host the UNWTO General Assembly  jointly with Zambia. 

Zimbabwe is a member of regional and sub-regional organizations like the African Union (AU), Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) and Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA). .  

The Zimbabwe Stock Exchange is registered with the Securities Commission in terms of the Securities Act [ Chapter 24:25]It is performing well despite the liquidity challenges associated with dollarization.

Forms of business vehicles

Various forms of forming businesses are available in Zimbabwe, both under common and statute law. These include: 

A. Statute law

(i)Limited liability companies,  public and private, and companies limited by guarantee

(ii)Close Corporations

B. Common law








Foreign Investment and Indigenisation

In 2006 the Zimbabwe Investment Authority Act (Chapter 14:30) was passed. Its main objective is to provide for the promotion and coordination of investment in Zim

The current indigenisation drive is underpinned by the Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Act [Chapter 14:33] and the subsequent Regulations. The big idea behind the indigenisation and economic empowerment legislative framework is to ensure that indigenous Zimbabweans own a controlling interest to a minimum of 51% in larger business in Zimbabwe.  


Intellectual Property

Rights to intellectual property are protected under Zimbabwean law,  by statute and ,  common law.Despite this  the existing statutes like  Patents Act [Chapter 26:03], Intellectual Property Tribunal Act [Chapter 26:04] and Trade Marks Act [Chapter 26:04]  need to be reviewed in order to ensure that they are in line  eventually with international agreements to which Zimbabwe is a party. 


One of the country’s biggest competitive advantage is the availability of human capital resources consisting of a very skilled workforce.  

The Labour Act [Chapter 28;01],  is applicable to all employees in the private sector, and stipulates basic conditions of employment, prohibits discrimination on various grounds in relation to a person’s employment or occupation. 


The relevant legislation is broadly similar to that applicable in neighbouring countries, notably the Republic of South Africa.  

The principal statute is the Income Tax Act [Chapter 23:06].Income tax is presently levied at 35% in respect of companies, other than mining companies, whilst  individuals,  are taxed on a sliding scale, that, from 1 January 2012 ranges from 0% on incomes below $250 to 45% for incomes above $10,000.00. With effect from 1 January 2012 mining companies will pay royalties on gold at the rate of 5% and platinum at 10% Value Added Tax is levied on goods and services at a zero rate or 15% depending on the nature thereof in terms of  the Value Added Tax Act [Chapter 23:12]


Section 21 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe provides for the freedom of assembly and association. Restrictions to this right may be imposed by laws enacted for the registration of companies, partnerships, societies or other associations of persons. This restriction provides the basis for, among others, laws that regulate the registration of NGOs. The Private Voluntary Organisations Act (Chapter 17:05) read together with the Code of Procedure for the Registration and Operations of Non-Governmental Organisations in Zimbabwe General Notice 99 of 2007 regulates the establishment, registration and operations of NGOs in Zimbabwe. Every NGO wishing to operate in Zimbabwe must be registered before carrying out its activities or seeking funding. Unlike local NGOs, international NGOs are required to first sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the government ministry relevant to the organisation’s work.

To operate in Zimbabwe an NGO may register under one of the following forms:

Registration as a trust: A trust can be established for private benefit or for a charitable purpose. The trust deed will show whether a trust has been established for charitable purposes. A trust does not have separate legal personality, though it may enter into contracts in its own name if the trust deed so allows.

Registration as a company limited by guarantee: A company limited by guarantee must be registered with the Registrar of Companies in terms of section 21 of the Companies Act. A company limited by guarantee will have legal personality.

Universitas: Universitas are a product of the common law and are not regulated by statute. A universitas exists when there is an entity which has a constitution and members that agree to achieve a common objective out of activities that are entirely for the benefit of its members.

It is important for businesses intending to conduct business in specific areas to obtain licences or other permits.Employment and Residence Permits must be obtained before entering Zimbabwe unless one is a tourist.