No, The World Wouldn’t Be Better Off With Fewer African Children

The Federalist | 10/18/2018 | Joy Pullmann
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The poorest people tend to have the highest birth rates, which threatens to reverse historic progress in reducing world poverty, says the world’s largest philanthropy in a recent report.

“[D]ecades of stunning progress in the fight against poverty and disease may be on the verge of stalling,” write Bill and Melinda Gates in their foundation’s latest “Goalkeepers” report. “This is because the poorest parts of the world are growing faster than everywhere else; more babies are being born in the places where it’s hardest to lead a healthy and productive life. If current trends continue, the number of poor people in the world will stop falling—and could even start to rise.”

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In a podcast with Vox’s Ezra Klein, Bill Gates pointed out that in the next century the world’s share of babies born on the continent of Africa will rise from one-quarter to one-half, if current trends continue. This is troublesome, he says, because Africa is the poorest, most disease-ridden and poorly governed continent in the world currently.

Gates’s report prefaced more pointed anti-fertility remarks about Africa this week from France’s president, Emmanuel Macron.

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“Present me the woman who decided, being perfectly educated, to have seven, eight or nine children,” he said. “Please present me with the young girl who decided to leave school at 10 in order to be married at 12. This is just because a lot of girls were not properly educated, sometimes because these countries decided the rights of these girls were not exactly the same rights as the young man.”

This is a regular talking point for him. In response, women clapped back at Macron under the Twitter hashtag #PostcardsForMacron. A sampling:

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There is definitely a third world problem with “marrying” girls younger than age 15, but for a very small minority of the world’s women. Such women are not driving...
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