On Thursday, Tsvangirai told a Zimbabwe economic conference in Johannesburg that his country was no longer an investment risk.

"The indigenisation regulations were introduced as a policy to replicate the looting and chaos we saw on our farms," said Tsvangirai.

He was referring to regulations gazetted earlier this year that would see companies owned by whites cede 51% of their shareholding to local blacks. The "indigenisation" policy, which made investors nervous, has since been watered down by Zimbabwe’s Cabinet to allow for a more gradual transfer of ownership.

Tsvangirai told the conference that a lot of work had been done since January to ensure that the regulations were not an avenue to expropriation and to make them more palatable to investors.

Tsvangirai said sectoral committees had been put in place to deal with the fears and concerns raised.

"We will not rest until we have ensured that these regulations represent true, broad-based empowerment for our people and our nation – in partnership with like-minded investors of any colour, creed or nationality," he said.

However, the reality back home was different. While Tsvangirai was assuring potential investors that there would be no take-overs of businesses, the Affirmative Action Group was staking out white-owned companies in Bulawayo.

"We are visiting the white-owned companies to urge them to give 10% of their shareholding to employees," the group’s Roy Sibanda was quoted as saying.

"We are, however, facing resistance and hostility from the white-owned firms, who are trying to stop us from meeting employees to educate them on how to demand the 10% shares that they are entitled to," he said.

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