Gilbert T. Sewall, The American Conservative, July 230, 2017
At a G20 summit press conference in Hamburg on July 8, French President Emmanuel Macron answered a call for an African “Marshall Plan” from a Cote d’Ivoire journalist. Macron’s stern, clear-eyed rebuff was startling, as he dismissed the idea with some disdain: “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 were so simple, it would have been fixed already.”
He went on: “The challenge of Africa, is totally different, much deeper, it is civilization today.” He cited failed states trafficking in drugs, weapons, humans, and cultural property, Islamic terrorism, and said for a kicker: “when countries have still today 7 to 8 children per woman, you can decide to spend billions of euros, you stabilize nothing.”
Macron touched the third rail. He drew immediate, international censure for his antiquated views, insulting Africa, and white European supremacism. Macron is France’s new roi soleil.
I do hope some very smart, sensible people at the United Nations, World Bank, Palais de l’Élysée, and European Union are giving this serious thought. I know that Beijing is.
In the last four years, some 600,000 sub-Saharan Africans have entered Italy uninvited from North Africa. Without a functioning government, Libya is a preferred embarkation point.
They come from Nigeria, Eritrea, Sudan, Gambia, Ivory Coast, Guinea, Somalia, and Mali, all over.
And as everyone knows, including the UN, World Bank, Macron, and the EU establishment, there are hundreds of millions more back home, itching to migrate, as well as an African population explosion going on.
Declaring facts off-limits or hate speech doesn’t mean critical global issues are going to disappear or solve themselves.
To make things right in Africa in the 21st century, or at least stable, to use Macron’s well-chosen word, it might take the Chinese, who are likely to have fewer qualms about yuan diplomacy, resource extraction, policed borders, population control, and slave labor than a dispirited West.
It’s true, Macron uttered forbidden thoughts. But instead of condemnation, he deserves praise for using his platform, public visibility, and political office to say something honest about Africa’s challenges. Such candor and courage are all too rare among Europe’s leaders, and both are sorely needed on this incendiary issue.