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“Novelties and the Future: the Italian World of Cooperation”

“Let’s help each other mutually, because any development project is also a co-development project in which both parties grow and have an opportunity to improve,” said the Foreign Minister, Angelino Alfano, at the National Conference on Development Cooperation “Novelties and the Future: the Italian World of Cooperation”, putting his message in a nutshell. The Conference is a two-day event of high-level meetings, round tables, debates and in-depth analyses attended by 3,000 participants to take stock of the Italian cooperation service four years after the sector’s reform, and present it to the world of communication, public opinion and especially to youth. Organised by the Foreign Ministry and the Italian Agency for Development Cooperation, the Conference promotes a debate between Institutions, NGOs, the private sector, and the academic world for a purpose: show how this sector can offer interesting employment opportunities and represent an important experience in building “global citizenship”.

Africa is a continent “on the path towards development” and Italy “has given substance to this hope”, said Minister Alfano in his address, recalling that Italy has doubled its investment in development cooperation activities. “Africa is in our hearts; it’s in our history and in our geography”, added Minister Alfano, underscoring what Italy has done in managing migrants by combining “solidarity and security”. The President of the Central African Republic, Faustin-Archange Touadera thanked Italy for its support of the peace process in his Country and invited Italian businessmen to invest in his Country, which is rich in mineral and forest resources.

The Minister of Economic Development, Carlo Calenda affirmed: “Today, Europe’s priority is to usher Africa out of underdevelopment, bringing it to development.” Minister Calenda added that, in order to foster its development, the EU “should reduce its subsidies for agriculture and downsize its protectionism, favouring the entry of African products in Europe”. The Minister of the Environment, Gian Luca Galletti shifted the focus on sustainability, affirming that “when referring to the environment, wellbeing cannot be defended but must be shared, because we either all win together or all lose together.” He added: “International cooperation must be an investment for everybody’s development.”   

Licia Mattioli, the Vice President of Confindustria – Internationalization Division, highlighted that the approval of the law passed in 2014, “relevantly acknowledged companies as active agents of cooperation”. She said: “Companies can contribute to generate economic growth, employment and wellbeing in situations that, without the essential support of institutions, are much more difficult to access.”

Today, the Conference will close with remarks by Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni. 

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