breaking-the-bankZimbabwe dictator Robert Mugabe’s thirty years of economic outrages have not been enough to keep him satisfied. He now plans to shut down the Standard Chartered Bank and some other foreign-owned firms because they have failed to comply with his demand that it hand over 51 percent of its ownership to “indigenous Zimbabweans” (usually meaning relatives and cronies of the incumbent president).

Uncle Bob Mugabe has never been one to submit to the logic of economists, and presumably he has not noticed the link between expropriation of foreign-owned assets and the reluctance of foreigners to invest in his country, or alternatively he has ceased to care about such trivia, having presided over one of the greatest economic declines in the history of the world, reducing his country from one of the wealthiest in Africa to one of the poorest.

Standard Chartered Bank has been operating in Zimbabwe for 120 years, the first financial institution to be established in that country, according to the bank’s website. It currently has 29 branches including a special Robert Mugabe Branch, on Robert Mugabe Avenue in Harare, and employs 700 people in Zimbabwe. The bank is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the British company Standard Chartered PLC.

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