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“Demographic Bomb”: President Emmanuel Macron in Chad Recurs on Birth Rates in Africa

The head of state, who had been controversial while lamenting that countries have “seven to eight children per woman,” reiterated his position in Chad. In front of feminist associations, he hammered that the demographic explosion threatened the African economy.

Emmanuel Macron visited this December 23 at the House of the woman located in the capital of Chad, N’Djamena. He had visited, the day before, 900 French soldiers deployed in the country as part of Operation Barkhane.

"Demographic bomb": Emmanuel Macron in Chad recurs on birth rates in Africa© Finbarr O’Reilly Source: Reuters
Children attend open-air court at a camp near the town of Gos Beida in eastern Chad (Illustration).

 

In front of 400 Chadians engaged for the women’s cause, the head of the State began his speech by affirming that the African continent could not for the moment develop economically durably because of its strong demography: “At the beginning of my mandate, I was shocked to say that there is a demographic bomb in Africa because the birth rate, as we see it today, is not sustainable. Because Africa is moving at a demographic pace that economies will not be able to absorb. Behind, there is a drop-out of girls and forced marriages […] In the strategy I deeply believe in, there is the empowerment of women. ”  

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Assuring that France would continue to contribute financially to the various programs, including literacy programs for young Chadian girls, the President of the Republic nevertheless affirmed that the achievement of this objective was dependent on a “cultural change”. “If moms are not convinced that their daughter’s future is in education, that’s up for it. It’s up to you to tell them, “he said. He also pledged another 10 million euros to support the Maison de la Petite Entreprise, an incubator that supports projects undertaken for two-thirds by women.

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This is not the first time that Emmanuel Macron has expressed his concerns about African demography. During an interview with France24 in July when he was on an official visit to Nigeria, he said: “When you are a poor country where you leave the population galloping, where you have 7-8 children per woman you never get out of poverty, because even when you have a growth rate of 5% or 6%, you can never get out of it until the concentration of wealth is doing well. “

In July 2017, on the sidelines of the G20 , the Elysée tenant used almost similar terms as he evoked the “civilizational” challenge of the African continent. “When countries still have seven to eight children per woman today, you can decide to spend billions of euros, you will not stabilize anything,” he said. 

The links between overpopulation and underdevelopment had been the subject of academic work which, as Liberation notes  , tends to prove that the second is the cause of the first. 

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Written by MT

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