HAMBURG, Germany, July 11, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) – French President Emmanuel Macron stirred controversy at the G20 summit this past weekend by suggesting the birthrate of African women is among the continent’s “civilizational” problems.
The fact there are “seven or eight children born to each woman” is holding Africa back, Macron implied during a question-and-answer session at the summit.
A reporter asked the French president about the likelihood of applying a policy like America’s Marshall Plan for rebuilding Europe after World War II.
He gave a lengthy response that began with, “The problems Africa face today are completely different … and are ‘civilizational.’”
“What are the problems?” Macron continued. “Failed states, complex democratic transitions and extremely difficult demographic transitions.”
He went on to list Islamist terrorism and drugs, weapons, human trafficking, and other things. But according to Macron, the fact that African women have the number of children they do is also among the continent’s problems.
In one translation, Macron says seven or eight children being born to African women is “one of the essential challenges of Africa.”
When countries are still having seven to eight children per woman, Macron said, “you can decide to spend billions of euros, but you will not stabilize anything.”
A 28-second clip of Macron’s 3 ½-minute answer drew criticism on social media, including from Culture of Life Africa founder and president Obianuju (Uju) Ekeocha.
“Ideological Supremacy is Macron blaming Africa's problems on our women having 7 or 8 children,” she tweeted. “Hey Macron, African children are human too.”
“Macron says Africa's problems are 'civilizational' and blames women with '7 or 8' kids,” another Twitter user said. “A repugnant speech.”
“It's 2017 and France still shares colonialist/racist views towards Africa,” stated another. “Some things never change.”
Macron’s troubling comments on African procreation weren’t the only controversial aspect of his response, as several media outlets wrote about the colonialism inferred by his remarks and his conflating of the entire African continent.
“One might note that '7 to 8 children' is an extreme, observed only in Niger, and that some analysts believe is overstated,” Quartz Africa’s Siddhartha Mitter wrote. “There is a long history of population panic and its use in racist ideology.”
A report on the social media pushback from Vox.com said Macron’s use of the term “civilizational” was likely sufficient to get him into trouble, as it sounds “like a casually racist assessment that Europe’s ‘civilization’ is different from, and perhaps better than, Africa’s.”
But Macron calling the birthrate continuously destabilizing was also an issue, it said. And even though the edited clip makes his comments appear worse, “Macron’s full response is somewhat obnoxious and ham-handed.”
Ekeocha tweeted later in response to the controversy, “As, I said … Ideological Supremacy, I'm glad twitter listened …”
Macron was elected president of France over Marine Le Pen in May. He has been presented in media coverage as a centrist but supports the LGBT movement and abortion.