“Today more than ever, Africa is at the centre of Italian foreign policy and relations between us and the continent are increasingly close, as shown by the fact that our country is the main European investor on the ground, with investments of 9 billion euros in 2017″. Vice Foreign Minister Marina Sereni stated that opening the work of the Conference “Youth and Africa: exploring new approaches to economic cooperation, security and migration”, which is taking place today at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, as part of the “New-Med” initiative.
“For this reason – continued Sereni – it is a great pleasure for me to be here today, together with many young and promising talents from North and Sub-Saharan Africa, who have distinguished themselves for their exceptional contributions to the ongoing debate on the future of their continent and Euro-African relations. Your reports show a great capacity to analyse, with new eyes, and to provide innovative policy recommendations for the main challenges facing Africa and Europe: migration, climate change, gender equality, arms trade and security”. “Africa is still, and should be even more, – noted the Vice Minister – at the heart of EU foreign policy. Today Brussels is the continent’s largest donor, providing more than 50% of the total share of development aid. Around €20 billion of development aid is allocated each year through programmes implemented at continental, regional and national level. The EU is also Africa’s main trading partner, with bilateral trade flows exceeding €300 billion in 2018”, said Sereni, “There are many women among you. Your role in African societies is of growing importance, and you can make a fundamental contribution to foster peace and stability in your countries. Women can also play a key role in promoting sustainable development in communities. For this to happen, their full access to education, health care and sanitation must be guaranteed. Italy – concluded the Vice Minister – has taken on board various projects for the development of the women’s issue in Africa, as in the rest of the world”.
The “New-Med” initiative sees at work a network of researchers and analysts who examine the social, political, cultural and security dynamics that are affecting the Mediterranean area. The project is led by the Institute for International Affairs (IAI) with the support of the MAECI, the OSCE Secretariat, the Compagnia di San Paolo, the German Marshall Fund (GMF) of the United States.