"My visit to Niamey is the culmination of an intense year of meetings at the highest levels between Italy and Niger, which have contributed to further strengthening the ties between the two countries. Niger has become a strategic ally in Italy's foreign policy in Africa. Italy has opened its embassy in Niamey, which I have inaugurated personally today on the occasion of my visit. We will soon enhance our security cooperation relation, with a focus on training and supporting the Nigerien forces in charge of controlling the territory and countering illicit trafficking, starting with trafficking in human beings. In 2017 Italy allocated to Niger 40% of the resources of the Fund for Africa, thus contributing to facing up to the root causes of migration. WHO data show a substantial reduction in the number of migrants who travel from Niger to Libya and an increase in voluntary repatriations of migrants from Niger to their countries of origin," said the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Angelino Alfano, talking about his visit to Niamey on 3 January. During his mission to Niger, Minister Alfano held meetings with the President of the Republic of Niger and the ministers of Foreign Affairs, Defence, Agriculture, Environment, Finance and Planning. He also inaugurated the Italian Embassy in Niamey and visited IOM and UNHCR camps.