Rome, 27 January 2024 (TDI): The Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni seeks to reset ties with Africa. African leaders will gather in Rome for a summit this weekend. During this Summit, Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni is set to reveal a strategic plan.
In light of her strategic plan, she aims to reshape Italy’s ties with Africa and address immigration challenges. The so-called Mattei plan serves as a pivotal element of Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni’s foreign policy. She aims to enhance Italy’s diplomatic footprint through this plan.
The Mattei plan was named after the late Enrico Mattei who founded Italian energy giant Eni in the 1950s. In light of the strategic plan, Prime Minister Meloni will position Italy as the inherent link between Africa and Europe. The proceedings will commence with a dinner on Sunday, leading up to the official summit on Monday.
In this Summit, Over 20 heads of state and government will participate. Prime Minister Meloni has scheduled to highlight a variety of projects encompassing areas such as health, education, infrastructure, and agriculture. She will have a central focus on the energy sector within the plan.
Additionally, Rome has announced that Italy will allocate 70% of its climate fund towards initiatives in Africa. This will be an investment program that aims to support global environmental projects. Although the details of the plan have been kept confidential, Italy has expressed its intention to act as a transit hub for African energy to improve Italy’s ties with Africa.
Meloni is following in the footsteps of previous Italian leaders who have aimed to improve relations with Africa. She also drew a veil over Italy’s contentious colonial legacy, a chapter that Rome has consistently avoided addressing in Italy-Africa relations. But since taking office in 2022, she has put greater attention towards the region than the previous Italian leaders.
She is seeking economic cooperation as the best way to curb a surge of immigrants from Africa to Italy. However, one of the challenges she faces is that heavily indebted Italy does not have enough funds to become a major player in Africa.