YAOUNDE’, FEBRUARY 15 – New important bilateral agreements, including one for the construction of the National Stadium, were signed at the end of Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Mario Giro’s visit in Cameroon. In Yaounde’ for four days, Giro met in several occasions the most important Ministers of the African country, such as Louis-Paul Motaze, responsible for the Economy, with whom he discussed the strategic role for Cameroon of Italian textile, marble, wood and agrifood small and medium enterprises.
Cultural cooperation – in particular with the University of Padoa – was on the agenda of Giro’s talks with the Minister of Foreign Affairs Lejeune Mbella with whom the Italian government envoy also discussed the investments of the Italian Cooperation for the humanitarian emergency in the Lake Chad region.
Very important was also the meeting with the Minister of Education Ernest Massena Ngalle Bibehe. “Students from Cameroon – Giro said in a press conference following the talks – have always been the largest group of African students attending Italian universities. When they graduate, they almost always go back to Cameroon and open their own companies, thanks to the know how learned in Italy”. This trend – Giro explained – made possible the establishment of a good number of small and medium enterprises with Italo-Cameroonese ownership.
“I am seeing with my own eyes how President Sergio Mattarella’s long visit last year may have changed the relationship between Italy and Cameroon. Today Italy is no longer considered a foreign country but a friend and one of its most reliable partners,” said Giro, when meeting with Cameroon’s Ministers of Education and Economy at Yaoundé.
In Cameroon, as in other African Countries, economic growth has coincided with the weakening of former European colonial powers, which have given way to China, the USA, and emerging Countries, including Turkey. In this context, the presence of Italian companies in broad investment ventures in Africa is still too marginal and mostly represented by large groups like Eni, Danieli, Enel Green Power, Salini, Impregilo and other large investors. “In this perspective – Mr Giro said – we are here to promote the “Economic Days”, which also include the opening of “Casa Italia”, Italy’s 1,200 square metre pavilion organised by the Embassy also thanks to the involvement of ICE.” Casa Italia puts together approximately 80 Italian companies. “All this is part of the policy strategy designed by the New Development Cooperation service: networking without wasting time and, in fact, making up for the time wasted in the past,” added the Deputy Minister.
He went on: “Thanks to Italy’s points of excellence we can change the Country and, at the same time, support Italy’s business opportunities. We need new partnerships and a new approach to Africa: strengthening economic cooperation instruments, enhancing investments, finding new market outlets, training human resources. Italy, the manufacturing Country of SMEs and cooperatives, can offer a formidable amount of know-how.” (@OnuItalia)