Italian bridge to Africa, the EU likes the Mattei plan

Last night’s dinner at Quirinale opened the Italy-Africa summit, organized by the government to discuss the future of the continent. At 7:30 pm, Sergio Mattarella received in the Party Hall the Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni, the Minister of Foreign Affairs Antonio Tajani, the EU leaders Ursula von der Leyen, Roberta Metsola and Charles Michel, the president of the African Union Azali Assoumani, the president of the African Union Commission, Moussa Faki, the deputy secretary-general of the United Nations, Amina Jane Mohammed, the director of the IMF, Kristalina Georgieva, and 25 African heads of state and government. At 8:30 pm the toast was made by Mattarella, who almost a year ago, during a state visit to Kenya, had explained that “cooperation between Europe and Africa is crucial for promoting ambitious objectives”. The work begins today in the Senate and will end at the end of the night. During the toast, Mattarella quoted an African proverb: “If you want to go fast, run alone. If you want to go far, go with someone.” Then he addressed his guests: «For our path to be common, towards the objectives of well-being and peace in Africa, Europe and the world, we must put our respective wills together”. The Head of State wished for an “even stronger relationship” and recalled the model that Enrico Mattei (historical founder of Eni, ed.), one of the protagonists of the struggle for the freedom of the Italian people, knew how to “interpret well and, precisely for this reason, an attentive supporter of the path of independence and liberation of the African peoples”. Italy, which among other things has just started the semester of presidency of the G7, as Prime Minister Meloni explained several times, is a candidate for be a bridge between Europe and Africa (today’s summit with African countries is entitled “A bridge for common growth”, with the aim of reaching a “global” and “non-predatory” approach towards the African continent And the presence of the three presidents of the EU institutions is considered by the government as an important sign of Brussels’ willingness to support the Mattei plan that Prime Minister Meloni will illustrate at Palazzo Madama. In the conviction that the plan is a challenge that does not only concern Italy, but Europe and the entire international community. Synergy with the EU also emerges from what was stated to LaPresse by a spokesperson for the European Commission: «In the context of the Italy-Africa summit, we welcome the Mattei Plan because we believe it fits well with the joint vision for 2030 that the leaders of The EU and the African Union are committed to the 6th EU-AU summit, as well as to the Global Gateway investment plan in Africa, which advances with ambitious projects also in the fields of energy, digital or to strengthen food security. “The Global Gateway is the EU’s maxi program in response to China. It envisages a plan worth 300 billion euros, half of which will be allocated to projects for Africa. The Italian government, which has already created the Mattei Plan governance structure by decree, wants to mobilize meanwhile 4 billion for the next four years.

Not only with public funds, but also with the involvement of large state-owned companies, from the energy sector and beyond, to jointly identify and finance infrastructure programs to support. Public financial institutions and private banks will also be invited to participate. Eni and Enel are already very active on the African continent, looking with interest at Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, Ethiopia and Ivory Coast. There is also great interest from Terna, which will build Elmed, the 220-kilometer submarine cable that will allow electrical interconnection between Tunisia and Italy, a strategic structure for the entire EU, making Italy a true energy hub. In the Mattei Plan, which today will be illustrated by Prime Minister Meloni, ad hoc measures should also take shape to support our exports to Africa and training projects in collaboration with Italian universities and others for the growth of the middle class aimed at encouraging development of the area. The issue of migration must not be forgotten. By creating the basis for an improvement in the economy, the aim is to create the conditions to discourage immigration to Europe and therefore to Italy. The model of the agreement signed by Italy with Albania, with Italian reception centers managed in third countries, could be replicated in the Maghreb and sub-Saharan areas. But there is also the example of Tunisia, with the memorandum signed last July by Meloni together with von der Leyen and Tunisian President Kais Saied. Agreement that made it possible to reduce the departure of migrants from this country to Italy.

Source: IL Tempo