In his recent remarks at the G20 Summit, the President of France Emmanuel Macron replied to questions in a way that did not sit well in some quarters, echoing that his remarks are racist and that they undermine African women to the core. Perhaps as a people we must examine if there is any truth to his utterances. More so because it is important to continue developing and making Africa better, speaking truth to power. President Macron stated three major challenges being, security, high fertility rate and the capacity of most African states to maintain security and stability for longer periods of time during their tenure.
The continent still has countries like Burundi, Somalia and The Gambia where safety is not guaranteed; where a bomb can explode out of the blue. We there fore can not ignore that security is a problem and as a continent we need a strong African Military intervention. A place where a rogue organisation such as Boko Haram can capture innocent children for more than two years with no end in sight for their nightmare can not in all fairness expect to be classified as a safe destination. The challenge African countries with weak military forces hampers economic growth and compromises development. President Macron is correct in reminding us of what we have been saying as a people. The solutions must come from fellow African countries in supporting and capacitating each other. We must not seek solutions from our former colonisers. Countries like South Africa with a strong military force must lead in this regard.
As Africans, we must recognise that when African Heads undermine the constitution in their own countries and change it in order to pursue their narrow personal agendas, this delays development. In the Democratic Republic of Congo part of the problem is a seating government which has continued to avoid elections stating technicalities. In Burundi and Rwanda,the constitution was changed to allow for the extension of a term. In Zimbabwe,the state institutions are forever manipulated to satisfy the interest of one family. In Swaziland, the monarchy continues to supress its subjects. All this is done in the name of democracy of a special type. In some African countries,you still have governments that undermine the will of the people. These are challenges that we must talk about frankly.
When President Emmanuel Macro said, “civilisationproblems and women having seven or eight children were hampering development on the continent”, he was talking about a continent where youth unemployment is high; where the rate of HIV infection is out of control; a continent that rely on foreign aid for survival! The high productivity rate amongst young women only serves to emphasise that African women are not in charge of their reproduction.
A significant majority of Africans languishing in refugee camps in Central African Republic, Chad Republic, Kenya and the largest being Bidibidi in Uganda; Human rights are undermined; Women continue to be raped as a casualty of numerous wars; the African child is still used as a political tool where they are forced to fight wars they do not understand! These are true reflections of some of the conditions experienced by some in the continent. Such factors are part of what delays Africa and contribute to the slow developmental agenda.
What President Macron missed however, was to give his utterances a historical context. We must not blame the African women. We should acknowledge that in these wars with rebel movements, the highest causalities are women. With weak institutions that continue to fail in protecting women, the African woman finds herself surrounded by an environment which is slow in liberating her. An environment which places policies but fails to implement them.
President Macron should not be labelled racist in this context. From his remarks, he should be reminded that his country historically played a role in the way the continent is today. Africa is underdeveloped because after the plunder western countries put Africa through,the majority of former colonies still pay taxes to their colonisers. This debt burden and deliberate efforts to undermine democratically elected governments by sponsoring rebels in some cases, continues to destabilise these former colonies! The Africa women ca not and shouldnot be blammed out of context.
As he successfully points out our challenges as a continent, we must remind President Macron that he must allow former French colonized countries to rule themselves and stop implementing destabilising tactics!