President Robert Mugabe arrived late on Tuesday in Durban to attend the 27th World Economic Forum for Africa – just as Zimbabwe’s economic crisis intensifies.

The 93-year-old president was seen off from Harare earlier in the day by both of his vice presidents, who are members of rival factions angling to succeed the longtime leader.

Mugabe’s frequent foreign trips irritate many in Zimbabwe, not least because they gobble up foreign currency which is in extremely short supply. Some locals have nicknamed him the “flying” or the “visiting” president.

Ongoing cash shortages in Zimbabwe mean long waits in bank queues to withdraw small amounts of cash. Mugabe’s government says Zimbabweans should use their bank cards but that’s not an option for most vendors, public transport providers and others in the southern African country’s vast informal economy.

All eyes will be on the ageing leader to see if he falls after pictures of a red carpet stumble in early 2015 sparked a rash of #MugabeFalls memes. Read one tweet: “I hope Mugabe will not fall again @ the World Economic forum in Durban. Madala pliz spare us the embarrassment.”

State broadcaster ZBC said the aim of this week’s WEF Africa is “to ensure Africa generates truly inclusive economic growth that provides everyone with the same opportunity to prosper and achieve such change.” Organisers say that more than 100 countries will be represented.