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At a news conference during last month's G-20 summit in Hamburg, a journalist from the Ivory Coast asked French President Emmanuel Macron why the world's rich countries have not developed a plan to assist Africa in overcoming its problems, as the United States' Marshall Plan had aided Europe after World War II.Describing Africa's problems, Macron called them "civilizational".As other commentators have pointed out, Macron's "civilizational" explanation was also the kind of generalization that fails to recognize the existence of more than 50 countries, with diverse problems that cannot be described with a single adjective. With these words, Macron gave an exaggerated impression of fertility in Africa. According to the United Nations publication World Population Prospects, no country, anywhere in the world, has women giving birth, on average, to as many as eight children. The outrage evoked by Macron's remark, however, appears to have little to do with its inaccuracy. Macron was not being unreasonable when he suggested that the prospect of rapid population increase is relevant to questions about the concerted effort to overcome poverty in Africa.
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