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Governo Italiano

North Africa/Middle East crisis: Italy’s commitment to development aid

Date:

03/09/2011


North Africa/Middle East crisis: Italy’s commitment to development aid

From Italy’s standpoint, in order to confront the North Africa/Middle East crisis, Europe needs a three-pronged strategy involving immediate humanitarian assistance to alleviate the suffering of the populations and thin out the mass of refugees of various nationalities; a short-term assistance plan to help the new regimes develop systems of democratic institutions (legal reforms, free and transparent elections, etc.); the creation of a Euro-Mediterranean partnership for development, capable of ensuring stable growth and fair distribution of wealth over the medium to long terms.

Italy’s prompt humanitarian response has consisted of the dispatch of relief supplies (Bengazi and Egypt), provision of emergency assistance/repatriation for refugees (creation of a reception facility at a UN-run camp in Tunisia at the Libyan border, and repatriation operations for Egyptian, Malesian and Bengali nationals), preparation of reception facilities in Italy to handle immigration flow toward our country.

Over both the short and long terms Italy is capable, first of all, of offering a diversified package of development aid—donations, loans and debt conversion mechanisms—that already amount to nearly one billion euro in benefits to countries stretching from Morocco to the Palestinian Territories. The aim is not simply to add to an already substantial amount of aid on the basis of the needs of individual nations, but rather to redirect its use in function of the need to facilitate the transition to democracy over the short-term and trigger a virtuous process of development over the medium and long terms.

The pillars of Italian (and European) policy are dialogue with the civil society and the centrality of the younger generations in the Maghreb and the Middle East. Institution-building programmes are therefore poised to stimulate the creation of a generation of small and medium-sized entrepreneurs sensitized to the need for education and formation.

Italy believes that European policy must begin to shift its focus toward the Mediterranean, increase the volume of official development assistance earmarked for North Africa and the Middle East, and make a more courageous use of the Neighbourhood Policy in order to build a true partnership with the southern shores of the Mediterranean. It will not be enough to simply boost those nations’ productive capacity if they are not then offered the European market as a natural outlet for their goods.

ITALY’S FINANCIAL COMMITMENTS IN NORTH AFRICA AND THE MIDDLE EAST

Egypt:

  • Debt conversion under way: approx. €72 million
  • Debt conversion to be negotiated: €115 million
  • Credit line already extended to Egyptian SMEs: €15 million
  • Credit line to be created for Egyptian microenterprises: €13 million

Tunisia:

  • Debt conversion programme under way: €20 million
  • Commodity Aid (credit line for the purchase of public assets): €95 million
  • Credit line to be created for Tunisian SMEs: €73 million
  • ODA loans for the creation of a Vessel Traffic System (VTS): €35 million
  • Private sector loans to be negotiated: €40 million

Algeria:

  • Debt conversion at the negotiation stage: €10 million

Morocco:

  • Debt conversion under way: €20 million
  • Debt conversion to be negotiated: €35 million
  • ODA loans at the negotiation stage: €20 million

Syria:

  • Debt conversion at the negotiation stage: €14 million
  • Available ODA loans as per 2008 accords: €63 million
  • Credit line being set up for Syrian SMEs: €25 million
  • Credit line being set up for the Syrian agro-industrial sector: €9 million

Jordan:

  • Debt conversion at the negotiation stage: €16 million
  • ODA loans available for the healthcare sector: €9 million
  • ODA loans available for the water supply sector: €10 million

Palestinian Terrritories:

  • Credit line being existing for Palestinian SMEs: €25 million
  • ODA loans at the negotiation stage for the agro-industrial sector: €40 million

Lebanon:

  • ODA loans made available by existing protocols: €132 million
  • ODA loans made available by the 2007 Paris Convention: €37 million

Applicable to all:

In addition to the funds made available in the form of debt conversion and loans approximately €50 million in donations between 2011-2013 are aimed at financing a wide variety of contained-cost initiatives (often in support of the creation of loan or donation programmes).

Total:

  • Debt conversions: €302 million
  • ODA loans: €641 million
  • Donations: €50 million

Location:

Rome

11421
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