‘We’re not fragile like US, which went on its knees to China’ – Zimbabwe president Mugabe

‘We’re not fragile like US, which went on its knees to China’ – Zimbabwe president Mugabe
Robert Mugabe, the 93-year-old leader of Zimbabwe who is seeking reelection next year, has rejected the view that his country is in economic turmoil. Mugabe instead claims Zimbabwe is the second most developed nation in Africa, while calling the US “fragile.”

“Zimbabwe is not a fragile state, it is one of the most highly developed countries, second after South Africa,” he said at the World Economic Forum for Africa.

“You cannot even talk about us as a ‘fragile state’ from an economic point of view."

“I can call America fragile, they went on their knees to China,” he added.

Mugabe has ruled Zimbabwe since 1980, first as prime minister and later as president.

Under his leadership the African nation has experienced numerous economic woes, including the notorious hyperinflation of 2007-08, which at one point was at hundreds of millions of percent – with prices doubling about every 20 days.

Eventually the country abandoned the national currency and introduced a new one pegged at par with the US dollar.

Government policies, including the confiscation of property from white owners and unchecked printing of money, were among the factors contributing to the country’s troubles, according to critics.

Among the problems the country currently faces are a budget deficit that leaves it struggling to pay civil servants and power shortages due to droughts hindering hydropower generation.

READ MORE: Zimbabwe launches new currency to ease cash crunch

During the panel session, Mugabe boasted that Zimbabwe had 14 universities and a 90 percent rate of literacy, offering this as evidence of the country’s level of development. He also said Zimbabwe was rich in natural resources.

“We have a bumper harvest, maize, tobacco, and other crops. We are not a poor country,” he said.

Zimbabwe’s long-time leader is expected to run for the presidency again in mid-2018, despite his considerable age, reportedly ailing health and protests against his policies. He says he has strong support across the country.