Rome, Italy – In a landmark move, the Italian government has announced a comprehensive plan amounting to nearly $6 billion aimed at fostering a strengthened partnership with African nations. The announcement was made during the Italy-Africa Summit, a significant event attended by 25 African leaders, European Union officials, and African Development Bank Group President Dr Akinwumi Adesina.
The summit, occurring as Italy takes over the Presidency of the G7, marked a pivotal moment as Italian Prime Minister Georgia Meloni called for a renewed and equitable partnership with Africa. She emphasized Italy’s potential role as a bridge between the two continents, envisioning cooperation on equal terms.
Prime Minister Meloni outlined several initiatives within the plan, focusing on enhancing economic ties and creating an energy hub for Europe while addressing challenges related to African emigration. The initiatives include an initial pledge of €5.5 billion (US$5.95 billion), inclusive of guarantees.
African Union Commission Chairperson Moussa Faki welcomed the support, acknowledging the alignment with Africa’s priorities. However, he highlighted the importance of prior consultation with the African continent during the plan’s drafting phase.
During a session on economic and infrastructure cooperation, Dr. Adesina underscored the African Development Bank Group’s crucial role in supporting African countries. He emphasized Africa’s strategic importance, with its vast population, abundant renewable energy sources, significant mineral deposits, and vast uncultivated arable land.
Adesina addressed the infrastructure financing gap in Africa, revealing that the African Development Bank had invested $44 billion in infrastructure over the past seven years. He praised Italy’s initiatives, including the Rome Process Financing Facility and the ‘Mattei Plan for Africa,’ particularly focusing on energy security.
The summit also addressed the challenge of illegal migration from Africa. Adesina stressed the need to support economic growth, reduce fragility, and build resilience in African nations to address this issue.
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen called for a united effort against people smugglers, emphasizing collaboration to combat criminal activities and providing alternatives to dangerous smuggling routes.
African leaders, including President Azali Assoumani of Comoros, President Macky Sall of Senegal, and President Nana Akufo-Addo of Ghana, addressed the summit. They were joined by international figures such as UN Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed, IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva, and European Council President Charles Michel. The summit showcased a shared commitment to fostering a robust partnership between Italy and Africa for mutual prosperity.