Are We Hungry?
When asked about a Marshall plan for Africa, Emmanuel Macron’s response set the precedence for much-heated debate on France’s stance on the ‘African’ problem. A valve was released and a flood of claims brandishing Macron as racist, renouncing Macron’s position as the so-called ‘golden boy’ of the international political stage took place.
The general bone of contention was that Macron failed to list France itself as being part of the list of ‘African problems’. Seemingly downplaying the role of colonization and its associated ills.
Ghanaian twitter was fired up, suddenly, everyone became an activist against neocolonialism and the seeming ignorance of our once colonial masters to the REAL root cause of the problems of Africa.
Many people (myself included) missed the fact that Macron was actually responding the question of whether Africa should receive more aid. After taking the time to analyze several Macron reporting’s and the ins and outs of the major points he raised, there certainly positives to be taken out of his response to the Marshal plan question posed by the journalist.
So, in case you missed the main diagnosis of ‘The African problem’ by Macron here is a summary of the main points:
1 — Africa has a ‘civilizational problem’
2 — Problematic Democratic transitions
3 — Problematic demographic transitions
4 — Islamist Terrorism
5 — Drugs, weapons trafficking
Macron effectively denounced a Marshall plan which means he is against loaning billions of Euros in aid to Africa. He admitted that Africa’s problem was “not as simple as a money transfer” and that “spending billions of euros outright would stabilize nothing”. I don’t know about you, but I see this a triumph. A modern western leader admitting that it’s not going to take pumping billions of dollars to solve Africa’s problem is about the closest to a bloody acknowledgment we are going to get.
I have tried and thought long and hard about why we black Africans feel the need to feel offended when countries like France make statements similar to that of Macron. We are aware that neocolonialism exists, yet we are surprised when western leaders make such remarks?
We are aware of the problems that face us as a result of colonialism. The remnants are there to see within each African country. Yet, I am yet to see active attempts to reverse these problems brought about by countries like France.
I read in a review of Macron’s statement about high child birth in African countries being a problem and it attributed the source of high child birth in Francophone countries to France itself. An argument was made based on the fact that part of France’s colonial aim was to ‘Catholicize’ Africans. Part of the Catholic preaching, apparently claim to be against the use of contraceptives and unfortunately a byproduct of this as the article tried to explain, was a staunch adherence to this teaching.
While I do not know much about this, my qualm lies with the fact that, if we know about this societal or cultural problem, WHY have the powers that be not done anything to readdress this issue in the many decades we have been in control of our own affairs? Statistics will show the problem is clearly there, BUT, we as Africans prefer to wait for apologies from our once colonial masters and wait for their ‘saving’ hand. Surely this can’t be, right?
We have developed the institution of complaining and crying and playing the race card for all our problems. But what have we been able to do with the power we gained through independence (neocolonialism aside). I have always been an advocate against the institution of feeling sorry for oneself as it becomes rather self-deprecating. Unfortunately, in as much as we talk about realizing our worth as Africans, our actions, discourse, and energies dictate otherwise. Instead of focusing energy towards a country and a leader that does not give a damn about your offense the best thing to do is to effect change within our society. Yet, still, because we have seemingly failed in doing so and we wallow in problems threatening to couple our countries we feel guilty that we have not been able to do anything and seek somebody to blame.
The reason we were all seemingly offended is because Macron failed to acknowledge France’s role in creating many of Africa’s problems. That is a given. But are we, as Africans really serious? we talk about western leaders not knowing the real problems Africa has. If we know the problems what are we doing? besides coming out once in a blue moon to protest and demonstrate our knowledge of the role neocolonialism has played on our underdevelopment.
Being a Ghanaian, this is all too real. I participate in discussions on this topic all too often. I see threads on social media on this topic. We can be fired up all we want, but, are we, as African hungry enough to reverse the power dynamics that we all know hinders our progress.
We do not need acknowledgment from France, Britain, Germany or any other country ‘oppressing’ us. In as much as we proclaim ‘RACISM’ they still do not care. They MOVE on with THEIR development, effecting changes within THEIR spheres of influence. What about us? WE FOR MOVE.