Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe made an appearance at the World Economic Forum (WEF) on Africa in Durban on Thursday morning, attending a session on fragile nations but he doesn’t think his country falls in this category.
When asked if Zimbabwe is a fragile country, the president laughed and answered: “That’s not true.”
Fears are growing in Zimbabwe that the country will once again enter a period of hyperinflation as a result of the central bank’s introduction of bond notes. But Mugabe, sitting on a panel at the WEF, dismissed the idea that Zimbabwe is in a fragile state.
“Zimbabwe is one of the most highly developed countries in Africa and after South Africa, I want to know which country has that level of development that we see in Zimbabwe,” Mugabe said.
The 93-year-old president spoke slowly before an audience, which laughed at some of the claims. He justified his claim that Zimbabwe is highly developed by saying it has 14 universities and a literacy rate of 90%.
He admitted that, “yes, we have our problems”, but quickly dived into the abundance of mineral resources Zimbabwe has and said farmers expect bumper harvest this year.
“We have resources, perhaps more resources than [any] other country in the world,” he said. “We are not a poor country. We can’t be fragile country. We’ve got these resources.”
Mugabe also linked Muslims to terrorism around the world. The president breathed a “thank God” out that attacks have not occurred in Zimbabwe.
“In Africa, we also have had that touch of the Muslim world in a number of countries. But in the south, where we are, that’s not our experience and thank God,” Mugabe said.
The president also believes that Zimbabwe is less fragile than the United States, disagreeing with the view that his country should be called vulnerable.
“I can call America fragile,” Mugabe said.
“But if someone wants to call us fragile, they are free to do so.”