The panel at the Fragile State talk including President Robert Mugabe and Forest Whittaker.

Durban – Zimbabwe is not a fragile state, nor is it poor, but it is a well-resourced country, President Robert Mugabe said on Thursday on the second day of the World Economic Forum Africa in Durban.

“We are not a poor country and we can't be a fragile country, I can call America fragile, they went with their knees to China,” he said.

Speaking at the session themed Eye on Africa's Failing States, the statesman said the Southern African country was one of the most well-resourced countries on the continent. Zimbabwe has 14 universities and literacy rate at more than 90 percent, Mugabe said.

However, Oxfam's executive director Winnie Byanyima, in a veiled rebuke at Mugabe, said the problem is that African leaders were dictatorial.

"Our leaders say we are rich, they say we are developed, they say we have resources but the people do not see that. They clamp down on freedom of the media and the rights of people," she said.

Byanyima said communities with strong governance structures at a local level could not be fooled by gun-yielding leaders ruling societies with weak institutions who spoke on the radio from the capital.

In Byanyima's parting shot to Mugabe, who appeared to have fallen asleep during the session, she said: "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, that is at the heart of governance".