GOVERNMENT has approved the indigenisation plan for the $100 million Mall of Zimbabwe in what will give indigenous partners an initial 40 percent stake in the project. Augur Investments spokesman Mr Van Blerk said the project awaited a few more regulatory approvals, but the indigenisation plan had been given thumbs up. Mr Blerk said that lease agreements with prospective tenants had been signed off on the strength of the approved plan with construction work set to begin soon. “We are awaiting a few regulatory approvals, but we have now got our indigenisation plan signed off by Government,” he said. Augur is Mauritius registered Estonian firm. It is expected the exquisite shopping emporium will create thousands of jobs and contribute significantly to the growth of the country’s gross domestic product. “Lease agreements have been signed on the basis of approved plans. We are working on floating tenders for construction work in the next few months,” he said. Mr Blerk said that locals would initially hold 40 percent stake in the project, which would be increased over years to comply with the country’s equity laws. In terms of the Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Act, foreign-owned firms must sell at least 51 percent equity to indigenous investors to include locals into the mainstream economic activities. Mr Blerk pointed out that there remained unprecedented demand for rental space at the multi-million dollar emporium to be constructed in Borrowdale. Among reputable prospective tenants at the mall are South Africa’s retail giants namely Shoprite, Truworths, Edgars, Mr Price, Game Spar and Forchin. The emporium will have about 150 shops for restaurants, retail and fast food business and recreational facilities to create a one-stop-shop centre. Augur Investments, through its unit West Properties, will build the exquisite mall on a piece of land it got from Government in exchange for designing and constructing part of the road to Harare International Airport. It is said the mall, to be constructed by Augur’s renowned South African partners McCormick Property Development, would become the largest such facility in Africa. McCormick boasts of more than 30 years experience developing shopping malls in Africa and has so far constructed in excess of 48 malls across the continent. The mall will cover 68 000 square metres of flow space. The Mall of Zimbabwe faced challenges in the initial stages due to resistance from the Environmental Management Authority, but Augur got permits to proceed after intervention by the Harare City Council. EMA agreed to approve the project on the understanding that developers would maintain a wetland core, since part of the site was a wetland area.