The French President, Emmanuel Macron, is under fire on social media after making controversial remarks about what in his view was the problem with Africa.
A 28-second video of Macron speaking at a press conference during the just-ended G 20 summit in the German city of Hamburg, has attracted condemnation by people who particularly picked on a part where he alludes to high birth rate as part of the continent’s challenges.
A transcript of his full remarks is as follows: ‘‘The challenge of Africa, it is totally different, it is much deeper, it is civilizational, today. What are the problems in Africa? Failed states, complex democratic transitions, demographic transition, which is one of the main challenges facing Africa…”
“A successful demographic transition when countries still have seven to eight children per woman — you can decide to spend billions of euros, you will not stabilize anything.”
‘‘It is then the roads of multiple trafficking which also require answers in terms of security and regional coordination, trafficking drugs, arms trafficking, human trafficking, trafficking in cultural property and violent fundamentalism…
‘‘Islamist terrorism, all this today mixed up, creates difficulties in Africa. At the same time, we have countries that are tremendously successful, with an extraordinary growth rate that makes people say that Africa is a land of opportunity
‘‘A successful demographic transition when countries still have seven to eight children per woman — you can decide to spend billions of euros, you will not stabilize anything.”
Macron, since his election has been to Africa twice – specifically to Mali, first to meet with French forces engaged in the anti-terrorism fight in the West African nation.
He recently returned from a security summit in Bamako where he met leaders of the Sahel region on a counter-terrorism force.
He is on record to have described France’s colonial past as a ‘crime against humanity.’ He took over from President Francois Hollande who turned down the opportunity to run for a second term in office.
In an interview with the daily Le Figaro as part of the over 130 years of colonization of Algeria, Macron said French involvement in the north African nation involved ‘crimes and acts of barbarism’ that would in today’s world constitute ‘crimes against humanity.’
The 39-year-old rode on the back of the En Marche! Movement to win the presidency beating Marine Le Pen in second round of voting. He is a former civil servant and investment banker and is married to Brigitte Macron since 2007. The couple do not have any children.
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