President dismisses Western profiling President Mugabe
President Mugabe

President Mugabe

From Victoria Ruzvidzo and Darlington Musarurwa in Durban, South Africa—
PRESIDENT Mugabe has dismissed assertions that Zimbabwe is a fragile state, stressing that those who labelled it so were misguided and ill-informed about the state of development in the country.Speaking at the World Economic Forum on Africa here yesterday, the President said Zimbabwe was one of the most developed countries in Africa and did not exhibit traits of 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 have in Zimbabwe.

Highlights . . .

  • Zim stable, open for business.
  • Second only to SA in development.
  • Highest literacy rate in Africa.
  • Endowed with natural resources.
  • Encumbered by illegal sanctions.

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“We have 14 universities, our literacy is over 90 percent and it’s the highest in Africa. Yes, we have our problems. Yes, certainly, but we have resources more than an average country in the world.”

He said Zimbabwe was endowed with natural resources such as gold and diamonds, while the country was expecting a bumper harvest this year for crops that include maize, cotton and tobacco.

“We are not a poor country and we can’t be fragile with these resources. If someone wants to call us fragile, they are free to do so. I can call America fragile.
“They went on their knees at one time and they were assisted, some of their companies.”

A United States-based think tank Fund for Peace in collaboration with Foreign Policy Magazine ranked Zimbabwe as a fragile state.

The ranking, which has stirred controversy since it started in 2005, ostensibly assesses vulnerability to conflict or collapse.
Mr David Rothkopf — the publisher of the Peace Magazine — has also been questioned for his links with the US administration.

Rothkopf is the founder of Intellibridge Corporation, a provider of “open-intelligence” for the US “national security community”, among other clients.

Before founding the company, he was the managing director of Kissinger Associates, the international advisory firm founded by former US secretary of state Henry Kissinger.

South African president Jacob Zuma, who met President Mugabe later in the day for bi-lateral talks, said he agreed with President Mugabe’s take.

Briefing local journalists after the meeting with the President, the South African president said, “Well, I think the President answered that very well in the discussion because he indicated and said it is the view of others to call it fragile, but as far as he is concerned he described how Zimbabwe is, and I agree with the President.”

Immediate-past president of the African Development Bank (AfDB) Dr Donald Kaberuka also noted that there was a tendency of appropriating the term on African countries only, which is not correct. Experts, he argued, had to focus more on the concept of fragility and not fragile states as almost every country was arguably fragile to some extent.

“The idea of fragile states is an old concept. There are no fragile states. Every country has got elements of fragility. Anyway for people in this room I think you should remember that before 1945, the areas with the largest fragility were in the European Union space. In fact, the whole construct of post 1945 multilateralism was built on European problems. By 1960 when many of the countries in Africa were getting independent; in fact Asia at the time was the continent were the elements we refer now as fragility were most dominant.”

Bretton Woods Institutions – the World Bank group and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) – which were formed to respond to the critical need by European countries to rebuild from the ruins of World War II, which ended in September 1945.

Dr Kaberuka however urged African leaders to deal with elements of fragility on the continent, which seemed to be worsening in recent times.
“For instance, famine in Sudan is not an issue of drought but its an issue of governance, of power and of failure to attend to the concerns of the people,” he said.

Delegates from Zimbabwe’s private sector attending the forum here said President Mugabe’s view was beyond contestation.

Old Mutual Africa Emerging Markets chief executive officer for Rest of Africa Mr Jonas Mushosho said the veteran statesman’s views are consistent with those that are widely held in the market as fragility should be viewed within the context of every state.

“Fragility should not be seen in the light of states. There is an element of fragility and solidity in every state,” he said, stressing that Zimbabwe’s participation at the WEF 2017 was highly commendable.

“If you have the state of the world being discussed as is the case here, then its very positive that the President and so many ministers are here to listen to other views. We will emerge richer by tapping into what is happening around us.

Mr Rinos Mautsa, who is part of the World Economic Forum Global Shapers community, said the President’s principled stand against attacks from countries wishing Zimbabwe ill was encouraging for the youths.

“As youths we commend the President for standing up for our country and for emphasising that governments are duty-bound to create employment for the young as a critical component of the development process.

“Fragility is a highly contested phenomenon. What matters most in the end is who is conceptualising it, at what time and with what intentions. Zimbabwe, like any other country has its fair share of challenges but to refer to it as a fragile state is a totally misconstrued assertion,” he said.

The Global Shapers community is a network that is led by young people who are considered to have a passion to develop their communities.

Asked about the role youths could play in shaping the continent’s future, President Mugabe indicated that they needed to be oriented in order to play a meaningful role in economic development.

“It depends on the situation, but I think the issue of the youths can be addressed in a number of ways. First of all, we have to educate them in order for them to take some part in the development of the economy, so they can have, and if they take as many as 11 or more years at school – in our case we want them to go up to at least ‘O’ level – but in other countries it might be different.

“And even in our case they want to proceed much further, which is good, to ‘A’ level, secondary education, and university, but you cannot accommodate them all at the universities. You could have (them ) have diplomas at the tertiary training programmes; that’s that.

“Practical work also, they must have,” he counseled.

“They can be trained as carpenters, as technicians and so on. That is one area. But they also want to take part in politics, and we have organised them. Parties depend on the youth for viability – youth and the women for viability. But politics, as politics, that does give them money, you know; it’s to get them into a situation where they can support the Government.”

According to President Mugabe, civil unrest on the African continent is being stoked in some cases by the fact that youths become impatient with the pace of economic growth, especially in cases where investment remains low.

“In our situation, our economies are still developing and are not able to grow at a speed which can absorb the employment of the youth and the population of the young, both boys and girls.

These young ones look up to government to give them employment, so governments must do everything in order to ensure that they have food and beyond food.”

WEF ends here today.

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