Zimababwe's President Robert Mugabe chants Zanu PF slogans with supporters gathered at the Harare International Conference Centre in Harare, Wednesday May 3, 2000.
Anton du Plessis from the Institute for Security Studies, after saying that corruption and bad leadership contributed to the problem of fragile States in Africa, asked Mugabe if he agreed that Zimbabwe was a failed State. "After South Africa, (I) want to see another country as highly developed". However, to materialise it into a conducive economy there is a stumbling block, hence making Zimbabwe the poorest country. "We've got these resources".
"I would go so far as to say that his mere presence is a symbol of the fragility of our country, and we need to re-invent our brand".
Among the problems the country now faces are a budget deficit that leaves it struggling to pay civil servants and power shortages due to droughts hindering hydropower generation.
Newsweek caught one other comment from Mugabe that is bound to cause some controversy: He thanked God that at least Zimbabwe doesn't have to deal with Islam. "The last time we had a starvation in Somalia, 260 000 people died, half of them were children, now it is three famines,"she said".
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And she added: "Let us give others a chance".
"With unemployment of over 90%, a virtually dead industrial sector, acute cash shortages, where people are sleeping in bank queues, the fragility of our country is not in doubt", he said.
According to the World Economic Forum website and the South African Citizen newspaper, the 93 year-old president noted that Zimbabwe has huge resources, a large number of universities, high literacy rate, and as a result, was one of the most developed African countries after South Africa.
"In the Islamic world, the belief is that the more violence you exert on the population, the more they listen", he said.