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Italy renews Africa initiative – Bonino to hold Monday press conference

The Italy-Africa Initiative will be at the centre of a press conference that Minister Emma Bonino is scheduled to hold at the foreign ministry in Rome at 15:30 on Monday 30 December, together with Minister for Cultural Assets and Activities and Tourism Massimo Bray and Minister for Integration Cecile Kyenge; other participants will include Deputy Foreign Minister Lapo Pistelli and Under-Secretary Mario Giro.

Stronger relations

Italy intends to strengthen its relations with the countries of Sub-Saharan Africa, promoting a detailed programme of initiatives in all possible sectors of collaboration, from politics to the economy, culture to development, education to sustainable growth.

During this year’s celebration of Africa Day at the foreign ministry, attended by President of the Republic Giorgio Napolitano and the ambassadors of African countries in Italy, the minister focused her speech on the potential for renewed collaboration between Italy and the continent of Africa.

Africa full of opportunity, time to change approach

“Africa is a young continent full of opportunities”, and “despite many frailties and contradictions, we cannot continue to view her through the distorted lens of the past. If Africa has changed radically, the approach to Africa must change radically”, Minister Bonino commented. “Africa has made enormous strides since 1963. But especially over the past decade it has made an enormous leap of quality”, she pointed out, citing 2002, the year the Western African Union became the Africa Union, as a “watershed date between the end and the start of a new historic phase”. A phase in which Europe and Italy may each do their part.

Italy can offer a development model

Italy “can contribute to uniting Africa’s new ambitions of partnership with the choices of the European Union”, Bonino underscored, pointing out how “the complementarity between our two economies allows us to offer Africa a development model that respects the continent’s future role”. But she warned that “if we do not work as a team, closely coordinating public and private sectors, it will be hard to be effective in our relations with such a vast and complex continent “.

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