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Holy See – event dedicated to the Italian energy sector’s commitment in Africa

Santa Sede, evento dedicato all’impegno del settore energetico italiano in Africa
Santa Sede, evento dedicato all’impegno del settore energetico italiano in Africa

The Italian Embassy to the Holy See has promoted a meeting dedicated to the commitment of the Italian energy sector in Africa and sponsored by the Italian Ministry of Environment and Energy Security and the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development. The event, held at Palazzo Borromeo, was the second in a series of “care of creation” initiatives developed by the Embassy to reflect the priority role played by climate change and energy transition issues for both Italy and the Holy See.

The institutional greetings of Ambassador Francesco Di Nitto were followed by speeches by: Cardinal Turkson, Chancellor of the Pontifical Academies of Sciences and Social Sciences, who presented the agency “Echo” (Earth our Common Home), developed by the African Bishops’ Conferences, to promote the integral development of local communities; the Director of AICS, Minister plenipotentiary Rusconi, who promoted a number of the Agency’s projects in Africa to develop entrepreneurship and the energy sector, in line with the 2030 Agenda and the Mattei Plan; Italian Government Special Envoy for Climate Change, professor Corvaro, who stressed the central role played by people in Italy’s approach to climate change; Sister Alford, Head of the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences, who underlined the significance of sustainable technologies.

This was followed by two panels with the main Italian energy companies active on the African continent, which illustrated the main programmes underway, together with actions to ensure essential services, education and training of local personnel.

Andrea Benvenuti, Senior Vice President – Business Development of Ansaldo Energia, emphasised the importance of renewable energy. Francesca Ciardiello, Head of Sustainable Development at ENI, highlighted the goal of ensuring sustainable and affordable energy by 2030, promoting decarbonisation and working with IRENA to develop expertise in biofuels in Africa. She also spoke about the centre of excellence for renewable energy in the Republic of Congo, which is also supported by UNIDO to foster local innovation. Gianluca Marini, Consulting Division Executive – Vice President of CESI, presented electricity interconnection projects in Africa aimed at supporting growing energy demand, highlighting the potential for renewable energy capacity in the African continent.

Maria De Renzis, Sales & Commercial Leader for Sub-Saharan Africa at Baker Hughes, illustrated the company’s commitment to clean energy technologies and highlighted the importance of education. Maurizio David Sberna, Director of International and European Public Affairs at ENEL, highlighted ENEL’s commitment in Africa, mainly through the RES4Africa foundation, for the benefit of energy sustainability and the upcoming launch in Morocco of a centre of excellence for training in renewable energy on the African continent. Guido Guida, Institutional Affairs at TERNA, presented the ELMED project between Italy and Tunisia, as well as the initiatives aimed at fostering new partnerships and the transfer of technological expertise.

The meeting ended with speeches by: Special Envoy of the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation for the Mattei Plan, Minister plenipotentiary Riccardo; Father Baggio, Undersecretary of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development and Director General of the Borgo Laudato Si’ Centre of Higher Education; and Archbishop Nwachukwu, Secretary of the Dicastery for Evangelisation. Minister Riccardo highlighted the three fundamental elements of the Mattei Plan: attention, respect and teamwork, emphasising the concrete nature of the projects – developed through missions and contacts with the African countries – and the importance of education, which led the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs to increase scholarships for young people. The Vatican representatives expressed their appreciation for the meeting and reiterated the urgency of developing initiatives favouring solidarity and equal cooperation with Africa.

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