I honest to goodness wish this headline was clickbait.
But sadly, it is not. Last week, Ulla Tornaes the Minister for Development Co-operation of Scandinavian country of Denmark (which is suffering a population decline crisis) announced that the country was going to donate 14 million dollars to the International Fund for Family Planning in Africa. When asked why they were finally getting in on the action, she said and we quote that their donation will help “limit the migration pressure on Europe”.
Apparently, unwanted pregnancies, “enormous human and social costs in the world’s poorest nations” and limiting Africa’s population growth is important to ensuring that the world’s resources are not overly pressured, leading to migration to Europe and population decline. On the surface, she isn’t wrong. Africa has experienced exponential population explosions in the last century as a result of successive military regimes across the continent, poverty and brain drain. With dwindling economic and social opportunities and the allure of greener pastures abroad, millions of young Africans have made the often treacherous journey to Europe and Asia and America, seeking better lives.
BUT (and this is a big but)
What Ulla Tornaes and European nations like hers like to ignore, is the longstanding effects of industrialisation and the widespread slavery and colonialism that helped finance that industrialization, and its far reaching effects to this day. The Francophone countries of West Africa are a good place to start.
Thanks to the widespread Assimiliation programme of French colonialists, the cultures and traditions of traditional Francophone ethnicities were all but wiped out to make way for French colonial sensibilities. 50 years after this, France still collects an ‘Assimilation’ tax in the billions from these countries, and actively interferes in their government and social policies, crushing any policies that lean towards autonomy from French authority. France made Haiti to pay the modern equivalent of $21 billion from 1804 till 1947 for freeing themselves from French Colonial Rule, the Francophone African countries were at some point forced to their pay their international reserves into the French National Bank, the list goes on and on. With this kind of economic drain, is it any surprise that these countries cannot adequately control their populations or make infrastructural progress?
Let us not even get into Britain, Portugal, Spain and Germany. Let us not.
So for Ulla Tornaes to open her mouth and suggest that Africa merely shoots out pregnancies without any regard for the nuances and complexities of Europe and Africa’s intertwined history and long reaching effects of their meddling in Africa for economic gain is misguided, poorly thought out and racist.
Let us not even mention that for all its people, Africa still doesn’t have as many people as China, which is only one country in Asia. We don’t see the Europeans offering to send the Chinese funding for contraception.
Please Ulla Tornaes, with all due respect, give your country’s money if you want to, or don’t. Just shut up in the process.