U.S. President Donald Trump sparked confusion when he twice referred to a nonexistent country dubbed "Nambia" during a speech before African leaders. Trump reportedly was not referring to a fictional country, but mispronouncing Namibia.
The president also stated that several of his friends were interested in making profits in Africa, drawing an awkward silence from the audience.
On Sept. 20, Trump spoke before a congregation of African leaders in New York. During his remarks, the president praised several African countries' progress on improving public health, at one point referring to a nonexistent nation called Nambia.
"We will continue our partnership on critical health initiatives," Trump said, according to The Washington Post. "Uganda has made incredible strides in the battle against HIV/AIDS. In Guinea and Nigeria, you fought a horrifying Ebola outbreak. Nambia’s health system is increasingly self-sufficient."
The president also referenced the nonexistent country during his opening statement.
"I'm greatly honored to host this lunch, to be joined by the leaders of Cote d'Ivoire, Ethiopia, Ghana, Guinea, Nambia, Nigeria, Senegal, Uganda and South Africa," Trump said.
A White House transcript of the speech corrected "Nambia" to Namibia, indicating that the president's mysterious reference was a case of mispronunciation.
Several social media users made humorous jabs at the president's error, BBC reports.
"Nambia ... Country in global south created in 2017 due to the frequency of Namibians having sexual relations with Zambians and Gambians," tweeted out one person in jest.
"According to researchers, Nambia's [number one] export is Covfefe," tweeted out another social media user. "Huge deal in the works to increase trade. Very, very big deal."
Trump also praised the African continent's economic growth during his speech.
"Africa has tremendous business potential," Trump said, according to The Washington Post. "I have so many friends going to your countries, trying to get rich. I congratulate you. They're spending a lot of money ... And for American firms it's really become a place that they have to go -- that they want to go.
Trump reportedly paused for applause after his comment, but the congregation of African leaders remained awkwardly still. Trump's aside that wealthy American businessmen were seeking to profit from African economies may have irritated his audience, whose countries have a long history of Western exploitation, according to CNBC.
The president's aside drew some criticism on social media, but communications director Ian Koski of the ONE campaign took to Twitter to defend the substance of Trump's remark.
"This isn't a point to be mocked, actually," Koski tweeted out. "Most American businesses and investors are completely missing a massive economic opportunity. The population of sub-Saharan Africa is about to DOUBLE. That's an unbelievable economic opportunity. China knows it and invests mightily."