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An Italy-Africa summit to build ties “far from any predatory temptation”

Italian PM Giorgia Meloni (center), president of The Comoros (L), the head of the AU (R), on Jan. 291 2024 in Italy.   -  
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Roberto Monaldo/LaPresse


Italian Premier Giorgia Meloni opened the Italy-Africa summit on Monday (Jan. 29) aimed at unveiling Italy’s development plan for the continent, which the government hopes will stem migration flows.

Overall, 155,754 people arrived on Italian shores last year, more than half of them Africans.

In attendance at the Rome summit were over 20 African leaders including William Ruto of Kenya, top European Union and United Nations officials as well as representatives from international lending institutions.

The Italian plan is named after Enrico Mattei, founder of state-controlled oil and gas giant Eni.

Italy seeks to become the natural energy supply hub for the whole of Europe. The EU banned Russian energy supplies following the war in Ukraine.

The Mattei plan also seek cooperation with Africa beyond energy.

It involves pilot projects in areas such as education, health care and agriculture.

Meloni said Italy would set aside an initial 5.5 billion euros ($5.95 billion) for the plan, including public guarantees for investment projects and 3 billion euros from a climate fund set up in 2021.

Speaking of migrants, the Meloni said: "human traffickers will never be defeated, if the causes that push a person to abandon their home are not addressed upstream."

“The medium and long-term objective is to demonstrate how aware we are that the fate of our continents is interconnected," Meloni said as she pushed for a relationship of "equals, far from any predatory temptation but also from that charitable approach in the approach to Africa."

"Our future inevitably depends on the future of the African continent,” she added in her speech.

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