Robert Mugabe says Zimbabwe is not fragile but America is

Zimbabwe's president Robert Mugabe has insisted that his country is not a failed state - and accused the US of being "fragile".

During a discussion at the World Economic Forum on Africa the leader insisted that despite years of a collapsed economy, the country is highly successful.

Mr Mugabe has presided over hyperinflation, soaring unemployment and plummeting economic output during his 30-year grip.

Yet he told the forum in Durban: "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."

Citing the state's 90% literacy rate, he went on: "Zimbabwe is the most highly developed country in Africa after South Africa."

The country reached a turning point in 2000 when many white-owned farms were seized.

Oxfam's executive director Winnie Byanyima, also on the panel, blamed oppressive leaders for Africa's major troubles.

"Our leaders say we are rich, they say we are developed, they say we have resources but the people do not see that, " she said.

And she added: "Let us give others a chance. It is important that we have elections that are free and fair - that reflect the will of the people."

Mr Mugabe, 93, apparently fell asleep at the end of the discussion.

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