loader image

Italy-Africa Summit : 6 billion USD pledged

Home > Blog > Diplomacy > Italy-Africa Summit : 6 billion USD pledged

Italy-Africa Summit : 6 billion USD pledged

On January 29, 2024 in Rome, the local government announced a plan worth almost 6 billion USD to support African development. The issue of migrants and several initiatives in favor of the continent’s resilience are at the heart of the discussions.

Background on the Italy-Africa Summit in Rome

The Italy-Africa Summit, themed « A bridge to common growth », took place in Rome on January 28 and 29, 2024. This summit marks Italy’s inaugural international event since assuming its G7 presidency. Unlike its previous ministerial level, this conference saw a significant elevation to a summit of heads of state and government.

With a primary focus on financing African development, Italy positions itself as a pivotal link between continents for investment and energy supplies. The gathering attracted 25 African leaders alongside various high-ranking European officials. Notable attendees included European Council President Charles Michel, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, and Member of the European Parliament Roberta Metsola. Additionally, United Nations Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed and International Monetary Fund (IMF) Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva graced the event with their presence.

The summit’s highlight was a speech delivered by former President of the African Union and Head of State of the Comoros, Azali Assoumani. Joining him were Senegal’s Head of State Macky Sall, along with counterparts from Ghana, Kenya, the Republic of Congo, and Somalia. Notably, heads of government from Zimbabwe, Tunisia, Mozambique, Eritrea, Ethiopia, and Cape Verde were also in attendance, further emphasizing the event’s significance.

Italian Prime Minister calls for new partnership

Like the partnership between Canada and Africa, a significant shift is underway in the historical dynamics between Europe and Africa. Italy’s Prime Minister, Giorgia Meloni, is advocating for a partnership built on equality, devoid of any notions of imposition or charity towards Africa. Meloni has unveiled a series of initiatives aimed at bolstering economic cooperation, establishing an energy hub for Europe, and addressing the issue of African migration to Europe. Emphasizing the interconnectedness of global futures, Meloni underscores the critical role Africa plays in shaping the trajectory of the world.

Italy’s development plan for Africa in 2024

Italy is gearing up for significant investments in Africa’s development, focusing on key sectors such as education, healthcare, and agriculture. Central to this strategy is a strong emphasis on infrastructure development, especially within the energy sector. This aligns closely with the « Mattei Plan for Africa », which outlines a comprehensive program for financing and partnering in energy initiatives across African nations.

A pivotal aspect of Italy’s plan is its dedication to addressing the root causes of migration. Through collaborative efforts with African countries, Italy aims to create local economic opportunities to discourage migratory flows. To kickstart these endeavors, the government has earmarked an initial endowment of EUR 5.5 billion, including guarantees.

Chairman of the African Union Commission, Moussa Faki Mahamat, has welcomed Italy’s commitment to African development. He underscores the importance of prior consultation with the African continent, especially in the formulation of initiatives like the « Mattei Plan for Africa ». Collaboration and consultation are seen as crucial steps in ensuring the effectiveness and sustainability of these ambitious projects.

Giorgia Meloni’s position on the migration issue

The topic of migration takes center stage at the Italy-Africa Summit, sparking intense debate among attendees. Giorgia Meloni, Italy’s Prime Minister, whose election platform prominently featured immigration reduction, presents a development blueprint for Africa aimed at curbing migrant inflows to her nation. This comprehensive plan includes energy agreements, contingent upon increased collaboration on migration challenges.

In a bold move reflecting her unwavering stance, Meloni declares a state of emergency to expedite the identification and expulsion of migrants. This action underscores her commitment to addressing the issue head-on. Ursula von der Leyen adds her voice to the discussion, advocating for collective efforts to combat smugglers. She underscores the imperative of targeting criminal networks while concurrently establishing secure alternatives to dangerous smuggling routes. The call for joint action resonates as leaders strive to navigate the complexities of migration with shared responsibility and resolve.

« Rome Process » program

The Italian government is also deploying the « Rome Process » program to combat illegal immigration. This initiative aims to tackle the root causes of illegal immigration, including conflict, economic hardship and climate change, and to crack down on migrant smugglers. Indeed, economic growth and building economic resilience remain the most effective ways of preventing illegal migration from Africa. « When Africa prospers, Europe prospers, and so does the whole world », says Roberta Metsola, President of the European Parliament.

The new plan grants 100 million EUR, 90 % of which is concessional financing, to support infrastructure in Africa. Priority is given to renewable energy projects, energy security, water and sanitation, agricultural initiatives, as well as vocational training and job creation.

AfDB Group President Akinwumi Adesina affirms Africa’s resilience in the face of global economic challenges, climate change, conflict and health pandemics. With real GDP growth of 4.1 % outstripping the global average of 3.5 % in 2022, the continent’s economic outlook is positive. What’s more, its demographics boast 1.4 billion inhabitants, with the world’s largest youth population.

Despite this, Africa faces a significant infrastructure financing gap, estimated at between 68 and 108 billion USD annually. This gap represents a major obstacle to Africa’s accelerated development. During a session on economic and infrastructure cooperation, Dr Adesina underlined the key role of the AfDB Group in supporting African countries. The institution has invested nearly 44 billion USD in the development of ports, railroads, transport corridors, energy and digital infrastructures over the past seven years.

Share this article
Share this Article:
Join our newsletter

Join the latest releases and tips, interesting articles, and exclusive interviews in your inbox every week.