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The Flawed Hysteria Over Africa’s “Overpopulation”

When newly-minted French President Emmanuel Macron made his rather generous assessment that Africa’s problems are “civilizational,” and chalked some if it up to the fact that Africa has “seven to eight children per woman,” the internet went onto one of its time-honoured, increasingly frequent, and impressively meaningless, overdrives.

Nevertheless, it did look nice. I was pleasantly surprised. Here was the world, finally, coming to the defence of poor old Africa.

Maybe they had realised Africa wasn’t overpopulated after all, that Africa was too big to be overpopulated even if all humans left their homes and went to live in Africa. Maybe, just this once, people had seen through the smokescreen.

I was in for a rude shock. My pleasant surprise evaporated shortly after I read the first paragraph of The Guardian’s contribution to the fray.

That’s because the article, in the voice of a Laura Seay, an American political scientist, did not refute Macron’s statement that women having seven to eight children is a problem. Instead, it blamed Macron for being blind to France’s role in making women have seven to eight children in Africa.

To be more precise the reasoning went something like this: France took the Catholic faith to Africa; many Africans became Catholic; the Catholic Church opposes contraceptive use; so nobody uses contraceptives in Africa; ergo, they have many kids.

Bingo! Problem solved. It all started with France. It’s that simple. Macron was not wrong. The problem was that he said the truth without apologising for his country’s role in the situation. How could he be so blind!

As I have said, my pleasant surprise was dashed by this. But I had to read that again to just begin to comprehend how so much hogwash can be packaged as an expert opinion.

Read more at Mercatornet. 

Further reading: Tax Cuts for the Childless?

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