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Reframing Italy-Africa cooperation. Rome kickstarts Mattei Plan process

The government approved a decree outlining how the long-awaited foreign policy initiative will be made actionable. The process, which the Prime Minister’s office will oversee, will hinge on promoting a non-predatory approach to investments in the African continent and cooperating across a range of sectors, from critical raw materials to migration

Government approves Mattei Plan primer. On Friday, the Italian executive greenlit a decree that defines the guidelines of the Italy-Africa cooperation framework, known as the Mattei Plan, which has been a key priority for Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni’s government since its inception. The full strategy – which was planned for release in early November, in time for the Italy-Africa Summit, which has been deferred to next year because of the Middle East crisis – is set to be unveiled in the first quarter of 2024.

The concept. The seven-article decree spells out the aims of the “strategic planning document” – the Mattei Plan proper – which will entail the construction of a new partnership between Italy and African nations “aimed at promoting a common, sustainable and lasting development” and oriented “towards regional and global stability and security”. The Plan will identify areas of intervention, ranging from development cooperation to the supply of natural resources, as well as entrepreneurship and the prevention of irregular immigration.

  • It will also coordinate public and private initiatives geared towards African States.
  • It will last four years, be updated within six months of its expiry and “whenever the need arises.”

The oversight. The Plan’s steering committee, established by this decree, is chaired by the PM herself and composed of all the ministers, with Foreign Minister Antonio Tajani acting as deputy chair. Other members include the representatives from Italy’s twenty regions and the heads of the Italian Trade & Investment Agency (ICE), the Italian Export Credit Agency (SACE) and State lender Cassa Depositi e Prestiti (CDP), as well as other State-participated companies and academic staff.

  • This body is tasked with coordinating cooperation activities between Italy and African States and monitoring the implementation of the Plan.

The mission structure. This newly established entity will reside within the PM’s offices and will be divided into a series of units to better manage each part of the Plan’s implementation. It will be headed by a coordinator – a career diplomat –, support the PM in directing and coordinating the Plan and draft an annual report to Parliament.

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