Reporter from ivory coast:
The G20 have discussed the issue of poverty in Africa. We know that the Mashall plan in Europe cost 150 billion of today’s dollars. Concretely, how much are the G20 countries willing to commit to Africa today and what is France’s position on the matter?
I don’t believe in this reasoning, forgive me for my directness. We among the West have been discussing such Marshall plans for Africa for many years and have in fact given many such plans already. So if it was so simple it would be fixed already. The Marshall plan was a reconstruction plan, a material plan in a region that already had its equilibriums, its borders and its stability. The problems Africa face are completely different and are much different and are “civilizational.” What are the problems? Failed states, complex democratic transitions and extremely difficult demographic transitions. Multiple trafficking routes that pose severe issues – drugs, human trafficking, weapons. Violent fundamentalism and islamic terrorism. All of these create major issues in a region that at the same time has some examples of excellent growth that prove the continent is a land of opportunity. So if we want a serious answer to African issues and African problems, we must develop a series of politics that are much more sophisticated that a simple Marshall plan or money transfer, which we agree with the world bank on. The matters of vital infrastructure, education, health – there are roles for financing and it is our responsibility to help on these issues. In terms of security, we must help by linking with regional African stability instruments which France is currently engaging in with the sahel nations. Development, security – and there is also a shared responsibility. Such a Mashall plan as you desire is also a plan that will be administered by African governments and regional blocs. It’s by a more rigorous governance, a fight against corruption, a fight for good governance, a successful demographic transition when countries today have 7 or 8 children per woman. As of today, spending billions of dollars outright would stabilize nothing. So the transformation plan that we have to conduct together must be developed according to African interests by and with African leaders. It must be a plan that must take into account the issues I’ve described, using public private partnerships, and must be conducted on a regional and sometimes even national basis. [Emphasis the Internet’s.]
The Respectables proceeded to freak out on Twitter that Macron knew such a hatefact.
Macron stumbles for the first time.
Updated by Sarah Wildman Jul 10, 2017, 6:30pm EDT
France’s newly elected president, Emmanuel Macron, just learned a painful political lesson: In the age of social media, making casual references to the “civilizational” problems of Africa and the demographic challenges of African women having “seven or eight” children is going to blow up in your face.
Here’s what happened. During a press conference at the G20 summit in Hamburg, Germany, a journalist from the Ivory Coast asked Macron why there was no Marshall Plan for Africa, a reference to the massive amount of economic aid the US poured into destroyed European countries following the Second World War.
Macron responded with a three-and-a-half-minute soliloquy. He meandered on about the “civilizational” problems that Africa faces, and the differences between a postwar reconstruction project like the Marshall Plan and modern-day aid programs designed to address a variety of problems in a variety of countries.
Macron’s use of the word “civilizational” probably would have been enough to get him into hot water; it certainly sounds like a casually racist assessment that Europe’s “civilization” is different from, and perhaps better than, Africa’s.
But what came next triggered a social media firestorm that represented the first clear stumble by the new French leader. More than halfway through the answer, Macron said that one key challenge facing Africa is places where women still have “seven or eight children,” a birthrate he called continuously destabilizing.
Note, Macron may have been exaggerating when referring to African “countries” in the plural where women have seven or eight children, depending upon how you define “have.” Using the Total Fertility Rate, according to a quick Google search, only Niger still has a TFR above 7. On the other hand, nine more countries, including giant Nigeria, have TFRs at 5.65 or above.
In contrast, Bangladesh’s plunging TFR is fairly representative of how most of the Third World outside of Sub-Saharan Africa in undergoing a Demographic Transition (with the exception of backward Afghanistan):
Macron is quite correct that Sub-Saharan Africa’s problems are “civilizational” and that the Demographic Transition for Sub-Saharan Africa is largely something that hasn’t yet gone through the formality of taking place.