Today, we celebrate both Africa Day and the 60th anniversary of the Organisation of African Unity, which was founded on 25 May 1963 and became the African Union in 2002.
Despite being so close to us, Africa is a continent that is all too often forgotten; the Italian government wants to draw the attention of the entire international community to it.
In this regard, our privileged interlocutor is the African Union, which has worked hard to promote peace and stability throughout the continent and to boost its economy, including through an ambitious project aimed at creating a free trade area that will connect 1.3 billion people.
Italy wants to develop an equal partnership with African countries, based on shared growth objectives and mutual benefits.
What is known as the “Mattei Plan”, Italy’s contribution to a broader European investment project, i.e., the “Marshall Plan”, fits into this context.
The “Mattei Plan” is aimed at supporting strategic sectors for Italy, such as agro-industry, energy transition, job creation, and the protection of cultural heritage and identity, while emphasising the importance of upholding 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, connecting African energy supply with European demand.
In line with this vision, October will see us host the Italy-Africa conference in Rome, promoting initiatives at all levels, whether political, economic, or cultural.
Italy is aware that the future of Africa lies in its young people.
This is why we deem it crucial to share the know-how and expertise of our educational and academic system, with a view to training those young generations that will lead the continent.
We are also very concerned about crisis situations, particularly in terms of their humanitarian repercussions: witness the armed conflict in Sudan, the economic crisis in Tunisia, the instability in Libya and the wave of irregular migrants that continues to pour onto Italian shores.
I personally follow these dossiers and keep in direct contact with our international partners, so as to facilitate the search for shared, timely solutions.
As demonstrated by the Horn of Africa Conference, which we co-organised yesterday in New York together with the United Nations, the United States, the United Kingdom and Qatar, Italy is at the forefront of keeping the focus of the international community on the African continent.
We will continue to do so during our G7 Presidency next year.
I would therefore like to thank the servants of the Italian state, diplomats, military personnel, doctors, missionaries, academics, entrepreneurs, and volunteers who work side by side with our African friends every day to develop the continent’s extraordinary potential and build a prosperous future.
We want to bring Africa even closer to Italy and help generate shared development and growth.
You can count on me, on the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and on the Italian government to achieve this ambitious shared goal.