Italy is committed to deepening its partnership with Africa, in the conviction that it is necessary to change an "absolutely anachronistic" narrative of a continent that is fully "projected into the future". This was declared to "Agenzia Nova" by the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Emanuela Del Re, on the occasion of Africa Day, 25th May. "We wanted to give this day an even broader scope, since in times of pandemic it is particularly important to consider the importance of partnership and common awareness. Precisely so as not to lose the thread that connects us emotionally to Africa, the Foreign Ministry wanted – on my initiative – to create this opportunity for a very deep cultural exchange to confirm the indissoluble bond, already conveyed by diasporas.
This day has a political significance that takes on the value of an action strategy for the continent. The common intention is to solve problems, which remain very important but at the same time are showing, thanks also to the active commitment of the African leadership, that they can be solved and addressed: this is already happening with a series of actions within the African Union, I am thinking for example of the Cfta (the African Continental Free Trade Area)," Ms Del Re affirmed.
"Italy is at the forefront in a continent that is growing at a rate of 3.8 percent per year and we have every interest in developing a partnership with our businesses as well," Ms Del Re affirmed, mentioning the positive examples of South Africa ("which has given an incredible boost for overcoming issues of the past such as apartheid and becoming a model of integration and opportunities") and Ethiopia, whose Prime Minister Abiy (Ahmed) has been able to build "a new leadership and a more dynamic way of seeing Africa".
As for the risks for the African continent linked to Covid-19 pandemic, the Deputy Minister stressed that Italy and the Foreign Ministry are preparing strategies to avoid the contagion to return. "Italy has set up a table, coordinated by me and which will start shortly, for the global response and prevention of the pandemic," Ms Del Re observed, while stressing the need to "take into account other diseases" existing on the continent and to "reflect on how to make countries with weak health structures improve them in order to be more ready to cope with the emergency.
The Vice-Minister then stressed the role played by Italian Development Cooperation in this regard. "Many countries have told us that in the absence of Italian Cooperation they would not have been able to cope with the crisis", Del Re stressed, recalling in this sense how the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Luigi Di Maio, has focused a lot on the concept of partnership. "We have no hidden agenda, ours is an equal partnership," She said. Finally, on Silvia Romano affair, the Deputy Minister highlighted the importance of guaranteeing the safety of co-operators: "we must ensure that there is a strong awareness and greater attention to all those aspects and criteria that AICS (the Italian Agency for Development Cooperation) establishes and adopts in all its projects in agreement with the NGO networks".