Here we go with this “Africa is overpopulated” bit again — thanks to Bill Gates, Aliko Dangote, and Mo Ibrahim

“[Africa] Artillery shelling and scorched earth policy have been replaced by an economic dependency.”

Frantz Fanon, The Wretched of the Earth

Africa image credit: Magda Ehlers
Image by Magda Ehlers

Since my childhood, I’ve witnessed speeches, marketing campaigns and herbal tea-sipping Birkenstock Liberals scream the virtues of controlling Africa’s population.

So, guess who’s not surprised to find Microsoft and international nonprofit co-founder Bill Gates, African cement tycoon Aliko Dangote, and Sudanese billionaire Mohammed “Mo” Ibrahim” pitching the Africa-needs-family-planning solution?

Anyone who wants me to believe we should start passing around red, black and green birth control pills will first have to convince me that Africa is overpopulated.

Europe has the second-highest population density in the world with almost 187.84 people per square mile — 743 million people total and 3,930,000 square miles of land mass.

Africa comes in third with 87.15 people per square mile, resulting from of a population of 1.29 billion people and a land mass of 11,730,000 square miles. 

North America is number four with about 57 people per square mile.

But do we see popular memes about Europe in need of “The Pill”?

I’m not suggesting that African women have babies against their wishes, but why can’t we shift the billionaires’ discussion from “How do we limit Africa’s population growth” to “How can we leverage technology and education to support Africa’s growing population”?

Probably because they’re billionaires.

I’d love to see more technology, education and wealth without colonialism, which still exists, and Western-sponsored African authoritarian regimes — which some of you generically call “corrupt governments”.

Instead, people like Gates, et al. are discussing how to suppress the population of a resource-rich continent — underdeveloped by the West for centuries through slavery and colonialism — but has a land mass that’s larger than the combined footprints of Europe and the United States.

Would we worry about Africa’s population “problem” if the continent had broader education investments and corresponding academic achievements?

And how about sufficient infrastructure investments in the continent without the colonialist strings attached?

Does re-greening the Sahara Desert to create more usable land sound too far-fetched?

Perhaps some groups, like the US military, would still worry about Africa’s growth …

Song currently stuck in my head: “strut” – john wright”

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