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Factbox-What we know about the Italian development plan for Africa

Published 29/01/2024, 14:37
Updated 29/01/2024, 14:41
© Reuters. Italy's Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni, Foreign Minister Antonio Tajani, President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Council Charles Michel, President of the European Parliament Roberta Metsola, Chairperson of the A

ROME (Reuters) - The Italian government unveiled at a summit on Monday details of a long-awaited project aimed at boosting development in Africa, hoping it will help spark economic growth that will curb irregular immigration to Europe.

Here are the main points of the "Mattei Plan" - named after the late Enrico Mattei, who founded state oil company Eni - as outlined by Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni.

AREAS OF INTERVENTION

The Italian plan will be developed along five main policy pillars: education and training; agriculture; health; water; and energy - which is the most significant for Rome.

The aim is to make Italy an energy hub to transport natural gas supplies from Africa to the rest of Europe, with Italian energy major Eni set to play a key role in the initiative.

The government said it wanted to strengthen energy efficiency and promote the use of renewable energies.

Meloni listed an array of small pilot projects in the various segments, including a centre for training on renewable energy in Morocco, redevelopment of Tunisian schools, improving primary care for mothers and children in Ivory Coast, supporting farmers in northern Egypt, developing the biofuels sector in Kenya, an agriculture monitoring project in Algeria and work on water networks in the Congo Republic.

The prime minister said education was key to success, because Africa needed to train its own professionals to build schools, hospitals and infrastructure. She also said agriculture was crucial to development, and that Italy would aim to offer technology to increase the amount of cultivatable land.

FUNDING

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

She said Rome was also looking to involve international financial institutions, the European Union and other nations in the financing of the plan.

Meloni said her government would also work with state-lender Cassa Depositi e Prestiti (CDP) on a new financial tool to lure private investment into the Mattei plan.

© Reuters. Italy's Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni, Foreign Minister Antonio Tajani, President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Council Charles Michel, President of the European Parliament Roberta Metsola, Chairperson of the African Union Azali Assoumani, Chairperson of the African Union Commission Moussa Faki Mahamat and Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations Amina J. Mohammed attend the Italy-Africa summit, inside the Madama Palace (Senate) in Rome, Italy January 29, 2024. REUTERS/Remo Casilli

CDP and state investment agencies SACE and SIMEST, will open new offices in Africa, including in Morocco and Egypt. The Foreign Ministry said it had prepared a new package of subsidised financing for Africa totalling 200 million euros.

($1 = 0.9237 euros)

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