Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni presented the so-called Mattei Plan for new cooperation with countries from the Maghreb to the Cape at an African summit in Rome on Monday. The plan is named after the founder of state energy company ENI, Enrico Mattei. Meloni said that in future cooperation between Europeans and Africans, partners must meet “on equal terms”. Both previous concepts of colonialist exploitation of Africa and development aid from rich countries to poor states must be overcome.
Political correspondent for Italy, Vatican, Albania and Malta based in Rome.
At the summit, which was attended by heads of state and government from 23 countries, as well as representatives from numerous international organizations, Meloni initially named an initial financial framework of 5.5 billion euros. A renewable energy training center in Morocco, several educational institutions in Tunisia and health centers in Côte d'Ivoire will be pilot projects for this purpose. Italy wants to work with the EU, international financial organizations and other donor states on this and other projects in Algeria, Egypt, Ethiopia, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Kenya and Mozambique.
Nigeria, the most populous country on the continent, did not send a representative to Rome. Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, Council President Charles Michel and EU Parliament President Roberta Metsola attended the summit on behalf of the EU. Participants from the 57 delegations spoke in five thematic sessions on economic development and infrastructure, food security, transformation of the energy industry, professional training and culture, as well as security and migration.
Meloni promised that Italy would also use its rotating presidency of the G-7 group this year to put relations with the African continent on a new footing. At the G-7 summit of heads of state and government, in mid-June, in the Apulia region, in southeastern Italy, Africa will be given a “place of honor”.