italys approach to engaging with africa

Italy’s Approach to Engaging with Africa

Italy-Africa Summit Sets Stage for Development and Cooperation

An important Italy-Africa summit recently took place in Rome, attracting around twenty African heads of state and government. The event centered around President Giorgia Meloni‘s ambitious “Mattei Plan,” which aims to stimulate economic development on the continent, create job opportunities, and address irregular emigration. One key focus of the plan is energy production, with the potential for Europe to benefit as well.

The Italy-Africa international conference, titled “A Bridge for Common Growth,” provided a platform for African and Italian economic players to connect and explore partnership opportunities. Jacqueline Lydia Mikolo, the Minister of SMEs in the Republic of Congo, highlighted the existing economic relationship between Italy and Congo, particularly in sectors such as food, environment, and raw material processing. The conference presented an opportunity to strengthen economic ties in line with Congo’s national development plan.

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Italy, positioning itself as a bridge between Europe and Africa, places significant emphasis on energy cooperation. The country aims to increase African energy production to enable exports to Europe. While renewable energies are not neglected, Italian specialist Francesco Sassi notes the challenges of diversifying energy production in Africa until Europe completes its own transition. Italian companies are increasingly investing in African countries like Mozambique and the Democratic Republic of Congo to secure alternative sources of gas energy and reduce dependence on Russian gas.

Dubbed “The Mattei Plan” after Enrico Mattei, the founder of Italian major ENI, which has extensive involvement in Africa, the initiative seeks to promote Italy’s economic interests on the continent. However, during the summit, President Meloni remained discreet about the specific Italian economic assets in Africa, including ENI, the Italian national hydrocarbon company, and other private giants, according to researcher Sofia Scialoja.

Italy announced a funding envelope of 5.5 billion euros at the conclusion of the summit to finance a series of pilot projects in Africa, marking the beginning of the implementation of the Mattei Plan. This financial commitment underlines Italy’s determination to foster development and cooperation with African nations.