Zimbabwe’s president Robert Mugabe has insisted that his country is not a failed state, further accusing the US of being “fragile”.
Speaking on Thursday during a discussion at the World Economic Forum on Africa, the leader insisted that despite years of a collapsed economy, his country is the most highly developed country in Africa after South Africa.
“We have over 14 universities and our literacy rate is over 90 [%] – the highest in Africa,” he said, adding that the economy was improving.
Citing the state’s 90% literacy rate, he went on: “Zimbabwe is the most highly developed country in Africa after South Africa.”
“We have a bumper harvest, maize, tobacco, and other crops. We are not a poor country,” Mr Mugabe added, while acknowledging that Zimbabwe had problems.
“We have more resources, perhaps more than the average country in the world.”
He then denied that the country was a fragile state.
“We are not a poor country and we can’t be a fragile country. I can call America fragile – they went on their knees to China,” he told the forum in Durban.
Zimbabwe has faced a severe cash shortage since last year and has introduced so-called bond notes as a substitute for the US dollar, the main currency people use.
Hyperinflation forced the government to abandon the Zimbabwean dollar in 2009.
After Mr Mugabe came to power in 1980, he was widely praised for improving access to education in the country and in the 1990s, it did have among the highest literacy rates in Africa.
However, schools have also been affected by the country’s economic problems and rates have now dropped back.
The 93-year-old leader appeared to have fallen asleep before the end of the session.