MESSAGE FOR AFRICA DAY
Today we celebrate Africa Day and the 60th anniversary of the Organization of African Unity, which was founded on 25 May 1963 and in 2002 became the African Union.
Africa, a continent close to us, too often forgotten, on which the Italian Government wants to draw the attention of the entire international community.
To do this, our privileged interlocutor is the African Union, which has worked hard to promote peace and stability on the continent and to stimulate the economy, including through the ambitious project of creating a free trade area that will connect 1.3 billion of people.
Italy wants to develop an equitable partnership with African countries, based on shared growth objectives and mutual benefits.
In this context, let me mention what we call the “Mattei Plan”, the Italian contribution to a wider European investment project, the “Marshall Plan”.
The Mattei Plan aims to support strategic sectors for Italy, such as agro-industry, energy transition, job creation, protection of cultural heritage and identity, while emphasizing the importance of respecting human rights and fundamental freedoms.
Italy is a natural bridge between Europe and Africa.
This is why we want to become an energy hub in the Mediterranean, linking African energy supply with European demand.
In line with this vision, next October we will host the Italy-Africa conference in Rome, to promote political, economic, cultural initiatives at all levels.
Italy is aware that the future of Africa lies in the younger generations.
For this reason, we consider it crucial to share knowledge and experience of our educational and academic system, to train the younger generations who will be at the helm of the continent.
We are also very concerned about crisis situations, especially those with consequences at a humanitarian level: the armed conflict in Sudan, the economic crisis in Tunisia, the instability in Libya and the wave of irregular migrants that continues to reach the Italian coasts.
I personally follow these dossiers and maintain direct contact with our international partners to facilitate the search for shared and timely solutions.
As demonstrated by the Conference on the Horn of Africa that we co-organized yesterday in New York with the United Nations, the United States, the United Kingdom and Qatar, Italy is at the forefront of maintaining international attention on the African continent.
We will continue to do so during our G7 Presidency next year.
I would therefore like to thank the Italian civil servants, diplomats, military, doctors, missionaries, academics, entrepreneurs, volunteers who every day work side by side with our African friends to develop the extraordinary potential of the continent and to create a future of prosperity.
We want to bring Africa even closer to Italy and help create shared development and growth.
Count on me, count on the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Italian Government to achieve this ambitious common goal.