“The challenge in Africa is very different, and much more profound. It is civilizational today. What are the problems in Africa? Failed states. Complex democratic transitions. Demographic transitions, which is, as I said this morning, one of the essential challenges in Africa. …. When countries today have 7-8 children per woman, one can use and dispense billions of euros and still stabilize nothing.”
New French President Emmanuel Macron, spoke at a press conference during the G20 summit and blamed the “challenges” in Africa on things like mothers having seven or eight children calling the African problem civilizational.
While it has been years since any of the slave trades or active colonialism in the African continent, a lot of the problems plaguing the continent of Africa are directly and indirectly as a result of the effect of the brutal colonial rule in Africa. A lot of African nations are not nations or states in the real sense of the word, but mere geographical expressions existing and barely tolerating each other.
Between the 1870s and 1900, Africa faced European imperialist aggression, diplomatic pressures, military invasions, and eventual conquest and colonization. At the same time, African societies put up various forms of resistance against the attempt to colonize their countries and impose foreign domination. By the early twentieth century, however, much of Africa, except Ethiopia and Liberia, had been colonized by European powers.
The European push into Africa was motivated by three main factors; Economic, Political, and Social. After the collapse of the profitability of the slave trade, its abolition and suppression, as well as the expansion of the European capitalist Industrial Revolution, the desire to remain relevant and economically stable spurred the European scramble and the partition and eventual conquest of Africa.
Basically, the demand for assured sources of raw materials, the search for guaranteed markets and profitable investment outlets led to the systematic draining of Africa and her resources.
Here are the takeaways
- Was Macron really better or different from Le Pen? Le Pen was labelled by the Western Media as the French Donald Trump and rightly so. She ran her campaign on the racist tone that the Donald ran his on and if she had won as French President would have imposed sanctions on refugees and probably people from other races. Macron ran differently – selling the idea that we are all humans. But when his statements at the G20 conference came out, he had to be looked at in a different light. It was extremely unintelligent to ignore the backdrop of colonialism in Africa, but his statements are on another level of irresponsible. Macron might be racist, but he seems like the lesser of two evils.
- Africa can and will fix her problems only by herself: When colonial masters decided to put together a country; one with a lot of tribes without a common heritage save for the colour of skin, they started a problem. We can not and should not expect a second coming – one where they come to magically fix the problems. They entered the continent for their selfish reasons. They will not intervene until there is something to gain. Right now, the rot in Africa is benefiting them and this is why they provide criminal governments with ‘aid’. They have done the barest minimum.
- Polygamy and lack of access to family planning is a problem. Polygamy is a problem. Polygamy leads to way too many children and leads to an eventual population explosion. Who else is left to deal with the problems from the population explosion? The continent. Africa lacks a proper approach to wealth distribution and this is evident in the many studies that have shown how income gaps and inequality have risen at an alarming rate in the continent. Investment by the government in healthcare and in family planning will help reduce this problem.
- Should the whole African continent begin to adopt China’s policies to fix itself? China has moved from a place of proper poverty to global relevance and ‘world power’ status. To deal with population, the ‘One child per family policy’ was adopted. To deal with manufacturing gaps and over reliance on imports, the government moved to initiate hyper industrialization. Today, China is a world leader with less than the amount of natural resources Africa has. Policies adopted by China can be replicated and tweaked to cater to the African dynamic.
We have a serious problem. We need to fix our problems and stop looking and expecting hand me downs from people that previously and might still be oppressing us.
Oluwatosin Adeshokan is a freelance journalist and writer reporting stories about West Africa. He was previously the Culture Editor for YNaija. He tweets at @TheOluwatosin