The media are calling it his first gaffe and social media users are noting that “the honeymoon is over” for French President Emmanuel Macron thanks to some controversial comments he made at the G-20 summit in Hamburg, Germany over the weekend.
When a reporter asked Macron why no Marshall Plan existed for Africa, he said that the challenge of Africa goes beyond reconstruction. It is “totally different and a lot more profound.”
Africa, he said, has a “civilizational” problem and women are having “seven or eight children.”
Social media users were not pleased.
Macron: My jupiterian thoughts are too complex for you simple people to understand— Shafik Mandhai (@ShafikFM) July 10, 2017
Also Macron: Africa is dumb & pops out too many babies
Some pundits, like The Independent contributor Nabila Ramdani, called it outright racism, before pointing to his history of supposedly belittling minority communities.
Macron was torn apart on Twitter and Facebook for his crude racism, but there was generally silence from France’s establishment. This is because imperial attitudes prevail in a country that has by no means altered its condescending approach towards those it subjugated, often with immense barbarism.
Politico attempted to provide some cover for Macron, noting that Twitter is missing the full context of his remarks.
In his three-minute discussion of the topic, Macron laid out the differences between a postwar reconstruction program such as the Marshall plan and modern country-level and regional-specific approaches to development. Macron called for the creation of partnerships as he pointed to challenges like trafficking, corruption, weak states, and the demographic transition.