Meloni's ambitious Mattei plan --an opportunity for Italy or hot air for Africa?

Giorgia Meloni with African leaders in Rome Monday

 ROME -- The Italy-Africa Summit, which was being held by Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni’s Government Monday and Tuesday in the Italian Senate building, is intended to be an opportunity to present to the heads of delegations a cooperation plan and an ambitious investment program focused on economic exchanges with the African continent. This plan was announced, from the start of her mandate, by Ms Meloni, at the end of the first meeting of her coalition cabinet which, at the time, approved the stages of the plan that Italy wishes to offer to African countries.

 The “Mattei plan for Africa”, as it was named, after Enrico Mattei, the buccaneering founder of the ENI energy corporation who was killed in air crash widely blamed on sabotage by dastardly American oil companies, provides for a vast investment programme and partnerships in the energy sector with African countries and will be at the centre of discussions during the Summit -- Investments and partnerships, the details of which, however, have not yet been revealed yet. The opposition Il Fatto Quotidiano newspaper dismissed the conference as 'aria fritta,' or hot air.

 The European Union was being represented in Rome at the jamboree by Ursula von der Leyen and the President of the European Council, Charles Michel.

 Also present were Kristalina Giorgieva, the head of the IMF, the FAO Chinese Director General Qu Dongyu and other officials from major UN agencies.

 On the African side, the presidents of Tunisia and Mauritania, those of Congo, Mozambique, Ghana and Zimbabwe were in Rome, and the heads of government of Libya and Ethiopia, to name just a few.

 And it's an established fact that the benefits of constructive diplomacy and cooperation are certain, diplomats say, Such diplomacy would nevertheless benefit from being accompanied by a fair vision of the migratory phenomenon which has increased in recent years, due to crises and conflicts which have particularly targetted Africa.

 The centrality of international law is the other vector guaranteeing the success of this type of initiative, which Italy supports and for which it is committed to ensuring the launch in priority areas.

 As for Italy, the objective is clear -- both to secure the supply of energy products to the European Union and to accelerate the development of African countries to slow down migratory flows towards the Old Continent.

 A win-win project according to the close advisors of Giorgia Meloni who, let us remember, had, at the UN forum, presented her plan a few months ago as “a serious alternative to the phenomenon of mass migration.”

 Finally, this Italy-Africa Summit, initially scheduled for the beginning of November 2023, had been postponed due to “the worsening of the international security context,” in particular the situation in Gaza, promptly condemned by all the countries of the African Union.