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Emperor Macron; African band Magic System performs at Macron inauguration
Hamburg

Leftist tweeters explode after Macron links African poverty to high birthrate

When France elected Emmanuel Macron as president in May, "Africa's 'Ode to Joy' moment was a very powerful, if subtle, symbol", the BBC reported. But the love affair between Africa and Macron is over after his latest remarks on high African birthrates.

Published: July 11, 2017, 8:00 am

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    Supporters of the new French president had gathered at the Louvre’s Esplanade in central Paris after his earlier election victory to witness his podium turned into a gigantic dance floor by an African band from the Ivory Coast. It was an African celebration after the defeat of the “extreme right”.

    Magic System took to the stage, with booming African rhythms and dance moves, not Beethoven. But Macron’s staged love for African culture came to an abrupt end after his casual racist references to the “civilizational” problems facing Africans because of their demographic insouciance. His leftist fan base now worry that he might be a closet “populist”.

    African women have “seven or eight” children Macron said during a press conference at the G20 summit in Hamburg, Germany, when a journalist from the same 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.

    The ex-banker responded with a three-and-a-half-minute rant on Africa’s high birthrate contributing to their economic woes. “The challenge of Africa is completely different, it is much deeper. It is civilizational today,” Macron said. “Failing states, complex democratic transitions, the demographic transition…One of the essential challenges of Africa…one of the eight countries, that today has seven or eight children born to each woman.”

    It has triggered a social media firestorm because the French leader – who calls himself a “Roman god” – implied directly that African women are the problem of Africa. One disillusioned former pro-Macronist tweeter even raged: “Trump’s speech about ‘western civilization’ and Macron’s comments about ‘problem of civilization Africa’ come from the same white supremacy.”

    Macron linked Africa’s “civilizational” worries to its economic problems, as British magazine The Economist did in May 2000 on its cover, calling Africa “the hopeless continent”.

    “No one can blame Africans for the weather, but most of the continent’s shortcomings owe less to acts of God than to acts of man. These acts are not exclusively African—brutality, despotism and corruption exist everywhere—but African societies, for reasons buried in their cultures, seem especially susceptible to them,” The Economist noted.

    Today, despite the fact that several bilateral and multilateral aid donors increased foreign aid to a country such as Tanzania, the economic growth rate remains low compared to other developing countries. A poor level of technology, low income per capita and poverty levels still persist in Tanzania.

    Tanzania also happens to be one African country most heavily dependent on foreign aid, and has been since the 1970s in fact. By some estimates, it has already devoured the equivalent of nine Marshall Plans with little or nothing to show for it. For example, over US$1 billion received annually is to offset a severe balance of payment deficit. It is argued that Tanzania is one among the top ten ODA recipients in terms of USD millions.

    Reuters cited Macron recently as saying he desires to reign as a “Jupiterian” president – “a remote, dignified figure, like the Roman god of gods, who weighs his rare pronouncements carefully”. Macron scrapped the president’s traditional Bastille Day press conference, because his thoughts are “too complex” for journalists, his spokesperson said.

    Macron’s “complex thought process lends itself badly to the game of question-and-answer with journalists”, the spokesman explained. But to donor-friendly Africans and their liberal cheerleaders, his thoughts were pretty clear.

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