Italy as the Africa-Europe bridge. That was the core tenet expressed by Ambassador Francesco Talò, diplomatic advisor to Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni, in the speech that opened the Munich Leaders Meeting conference in Nairobi, Kenya, over the weekend. And it’s also a central feature in the Meloni government’s foreign policy, which is being built alongside African partners.
- Ambassador Talò attended the gathering along with Kenyan Prime Minister Musalia Mudavadi and Ambassador Christoph Heusgen, former advisor to German Chancellor Angela Merkel and President of the Munich Security Conference, which organised the meeting.
Security through growth. In his speech, Ambassador Talò also dwelt on the crucial issues of security and related regional challenges. Later, on the conference’s sidelines, he took part in bilateral talks – including with PM Mudavadi, with whom he discussed “bilateral cooperation in the field of space” and “the fight against terrorism and climate change” and remarked that Rome is “looking forward to a joint effort to find African solutions to our common challenges.”
- The Italian official also delved into regional issues with the European Union’s Special Representative for the Horn of Africa, Annette Weber.
“We need an African perspective,” wrote the PM’s advisor on X after his speech, reiterating Italy’s commitment “to listen to the voice of Africa to affirm shared principles for the global order.” The importance that Rome attributes to its ties with African nations was recently on display through PM Meloni’s mission to Congo and Mozambique, geared at bolstering economic and energy cooperation.
- That’s the backbone of the Italian government’s Mattei Plan for Africa, a strategy hinged on a “non-predatory” approach to the region that Rome is writing along with some African countries.
- The Plan was supposed to be unveiled at the Italy-Africa Summit scheduled for early November. Both have been postponed to early 2024 due to the “worsening international security context,” explained the Italian Foreign Ministry in an official note, referring to the crisis in Israel.
- Still, reads the note, the postponement “will allow for better coordination with other events on the international agenda” – notably the meetings between the African Union and the Italian Presidency of the G7, where Africa (and the Global South) “will play a central role.”