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Rome sets up Mattei Plan governance as it readies for Africa Conference

Parliament approved the “control room” structure of the government’s flagship foreign policy scheme, hinged on holistic, investment-based partnership with African countries, setting the stage for the Italy-Africa Conference (scheduled for late January) that will frame the new cooperation

MPs approve Mattei Plan steering crew. On Wednesday, the Italian Parliament turned into law the government’s decree that sets up the flagship policy’s “control room”. The six articles form the basis onto which the new framework for bilateral cooperation with the African continent will be established. Said strategy, dubbed Mattei Plan, was scheduled for release in early November and would have provided a working platform for the Italy-Africa Conference, but both have been deferred to late January because of the Middle East crisis.

  • The initiative is conducive to unveiling the Plan’s contents and working on them at the Italy-Africa Conference, which will be held in Rome on January 28-29 and is expected to focus heavily on energy investments and supplies.

It jives with the Rome-lead G-7. The Group’s Italian Presidency “offers us the opportunity to put Africa at the centre of the agenda,” propose a “paradigm shift with African partners” and bring forward the “vision of the Mattei Plan that will have to be integrated into the European Marshall Plan for Africa,” Foreign Minister Antonio Tajani told Parliament on Wednesday, stressing that G-7 partners agreed on the need to tackle and fight the “causes of migration flows” and are “aware of the link between development and migration.”

A holistic approach. Cooperation under the aegis of the Mattei Plan is expected to pursue parallel objectives – i.e. fostering mutual growth and supply resilience (especially in the field of energy) through investments, nurturing economic and political links, and addressing the root causes of African emigration.

  • As such, initiatives will encompass the fields of development cooperation and support for entrepreneurship (especially that of young people and women), exports, education and vocational training, research and innovation, health, agriculture and food security, sustainable supply and use of natural resources as well as tackling climate change, modernising and strengthening infrastructures, including digital ones.

The nuts and bolts. The law sets up a steering committee within the Prime Minister’s offices to coordinate cooperation activities between Italy and the African States, promote meetings between representatives of civil society, businesses and associations, monitor the progress and updating of the Plan, and promote initiatives aimed at accessing resources made available by the European Union and international organisations (including international financial institutions and multilateral development banks).

  • The Plan has a four-year duration and can be updated even before its expiry date. Parliament will exert oversight through an annual report provided by the steering committee.

Who oversees it. The steering committee is chaired by PM Meloni, with deputy PM and Foreign Minister Antonio Tajani acting as the second-in-command and her diplomatic advisor Fabrizio Saggio as coordinator. It includes a raft of institutional figures, ranging from the ministers to regional officials. The heads of foreign investment institutions, namely the Italian Agency for Development Cooperation, State lender CDP and its export-oriented Sace and Simest, are also members.

  • Finally, the steering committee also encompasses representatives of publicly-owned enterprises, industrial enterprises, representatives of the university and research institutions, civil society, and representatives of select public and private entities.

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