Zimbabwe promises not to seize any more foreign-owned farms

Reuters / Zimbabwe’s government says it will not seize any more foreign-owned farms after losing multimillion-dollar compensation claims under a treaty aimed at protecting overseas investments.

President Robert Mugabe started giving white-owned farms to landless blacks over a decade ago, a policy that had the unintended result of devastating food output in a country that had been a regional breadbasket.

An estimated 4,000 farmers were thrown off their land without compensation and, while efforts to get legal redress in Zimbabwe failed, some have successfully sued for compensation in international courts.

The change was prompted by lawsuits brought by foreign investors at the Washington-based International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes, including a $34-million settlement won by a group of 40 Dutch farmers.

But critics noted the government is continuing its policy of driving white farmers off their land.

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