Paul Bonicelli, director of programs and education at the Acton Institute, published an article on French President Emmanuel Macron controversial response to the question: “Why isn’t there a Marshall Plan for Africa?” at the recent G20 summit. Though Macron rightly rejected the comparison between the needs of Africa and post-war Europe, he failed by making a cultural argument about the amount of children born to African women.
Much of Africa has never enjoyed home-grown democratic institutions launched from a culture that can build and sustain them as well as the free market and entrepreneurial activity necessary to growth that distributes wealth among the creators of it. Macron was also right to list other problems like failed states; trafficking in persons, drugs, and arms; and Islamist terrorism.
Macron began to get into trouble when meandering into a cultural explanation with these words: “The challenge of Africa, it is totally different [from post-war Europe], it is much deeper, it is civilizational, today” (emphasis mine). Thus the French president dangerously began to make a cultural argument. Forgetting that he was not closeted in the Élysée Palace with his admiring subordinates, he said “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.” In making this cultural reference, Macron offended the Left and the Right, but for different reasons.
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