Minister Paolo Gentiloni is on a mission to Nigeria and to Cote d’Ivoire, two countries with great potential and which also generate major migration flows. Italy intends to handle migration in accordance with the Migration Compact, a new approach promoted by Italy at EU level, and in its capacity as the next member of the UN Security Council and the next country to chair the G7.
In addition to being the country with the largest population and the leading economy in the African continent, Nigeria is Western Africa’s largest source of illegal migrants to Italy. Minister Gentiloni met with President Muhammadu Buhari and other ministers with the aim of strengthening political and security relationships, especially on migration, but also on judicial cooperation and the fight against terrorism and organised crime.
“We can cooperate to better manage migration flows in the common interest of our Countries,” said Mr Gentiloni during his meeting in Abuja with his counterpart, Foreign Minister Geoffrey Onyeama. According to Mr Gentiloni, the point is not to “eliminate” migration flows but to manage them: “By acting on the causes of migration, for example by working together on creating jobs”.
Minister Gentiloni, who was accompanied by representatives of major Italian companies, also intends to promote business and cooperation opportunities.
In Nigeria, which was visited by Prime Minister Matteo Renzi in February 2016, Italy is represented in various sectors, including energy, infrastructure and logistics. But there is room for expanding Italy’s presence in agriculture and the agro-food industry, infrastructure, energy and manufacturing.
The Minister’s mission to Cote d’Ivoire is no less important. Here Mr Gentiloni aims to strengthen bilateral relations, especially in the economic sector, migration and in the fight against terrorism, but also to highlight Italy’s interest in enhancing business opportunities and in assisting the Country in its economic development.In 2015 the government of Cote d’Ivoire adopted a four-year development Plan which aims to carry out structural and sectoral reforms for 45 billion euros between 2016 and 2020. In order to finance the Plan, the government has raised about 14.5 billion euros from private foreign investors and about 11.7 billion euros from the public sector. To this end, today Minister Gentiloni will meet President Alassane Ouattara, with the Prime Minister, the Minister of the Economy and Finance, Daniel Kablan Duncan, as well as with the Foreign Minister and the Minister of the Interior. The visit winds up the missions by Italian authorities to the Gulf of Guinea after the visit by the President of the Italian Republic to Cameroon and by the Prime Minister to Senegal and Ghana.