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Thursday, July 13, 2017

Macron on Africa

Given the shit storm about Macron's sensible prescriptions for how Africa can developed, I decided it would be useful for Anglophone non-Francophones to understand the whole of Macron's statement (also a friend asked me to translate).

So here we have it:

Emmanuel Macron in response to an Afrikipress journalist who talked about the Marshall Plan and how $5 billion in today's money was spent and asked how much the G20 was willing to give Africa, and how much France would give:

"I don't agree with this line of reasoning. Sorry for being so direct. We have given a lot of money. We have among us those who give billions of dollars. Besides, it's been decades since we promised Marshall Plans for Africa, and we delivered. If it were that simple, you would've seen the results.

The Marshall Plan was a plan for physical reconstruction in countries which had been balanced, had frontiers and been stable. The challenge of Africa is totally different. It's much deeper. It's civilisational today.

What are the problems in Africa? Failed states, complex democratic transitions, demographic transition which is one of the essential challenges of Africa, and also many trafficking routes which call for responses not just in security but regional cooperation, drug trafficking, arms trafficking, arms trafficking, trafficking of cultural goods and it's also violent fundamentalism, Islamic terrorism - all these mix and create problems in Africa.

At the same time, we have countries which have succeeded spectacularly, have an extraordinary rate of growth which make many remark that Africa is a land of opportunity.

So if we want a proper solution for Africa and African problems, we must develop a series of policies which are more sophisticated than a simple Marshall Plan and sending billions of dollars.

Wherever the private sector can get involved, it should get involved and we should encourage that. We agree with the World Bank. On essential infrastructure, education and health there's a role for public finance and we must work there. It's our responsibility.

As for security, we must work with African regional organisations. It's what France is doing, for example, with Operation Barkhane in the Sahel, but more broadly through what we started last Sunday with the G5 Sahel: development and security.

Then, there is a shared responsibility. The Marshall Plan that you want for Africa will be carried out by African governments and regional organisations. It's through the angle of more rigorous governance and the war against corruption, a fight for good governance, and a successful demographic transition.

When there are countries which still have, today, 7 or 8 children per woman, you can give them billions of Euros, but you will stabilise nothing. The plan of this transformation that we must conduct together must take into account African particularities, by and in cooperation with African heads of state.

It's a plan which must consider our own engagements across all the sites I've just mentioned, get public and private sectors cooperating better and it must be executed in a more regional way, sometimes a national one too. There you have it - the method which has been retained and it's what we do everywhere we're engaged."

Video of speech:

French transcripts I used:
Ces vérités de Macron sur l'Afrique qui dérangent : Afrikipresse de retour du G20 à Hambourg - AFRIKIPRESSE - Actualité Afrique
Emmanuel Macron empêtré dans une folle polémique : « le défi de l’Afrique est beaucoup plus profond, il est civilisationnel » |
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