ROME, May 5 – In less than two weeks, on May 18, Africa’s leadership moves to Rome: more than 40 ministers from many African countries, their Permanent Representatives to the UN in New York and representative of about 15 Regional and International organizations of the United Nations System will gather at the Italian Foreign Ministry in Rome for the First “Italy – Africa” Ministerial Conference.
Italian President Sergio Mattarella will open the work during the plenary session, followed by the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Paolo Gentiloni and the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Chad (rotating presidency of the rotating Council of the African Union) Moussa Faki Mahamat.
The conference will be closed by Italy’s Prime Minister, Matteo Renzi. The President of the African Union Commission Dlamini Zuma, AU Commissioner for Peace and Security Smail Chergui, AU Commissioner for Energy Elaham Ibrahim and Director General of FAO Jose Graziano da Silva will intervene as well.
Dlamini-Zuma had met Mattarella in March in Addis Ababa and had asked him if Italy could become “our ambassador to EU.” The meeting on May 18, the first of a series of appointments, is an answer to that request. It will also be the occasion to officially establish the new course of Italian politics towards Africa, launched in December 2013, and followed by three trips of PM Renzi, and the last trip of Italian President Mattarella to Ethiopia and Cameroon. The conference will be divided into a general session and four thematic panels: Economic Sustainability: Italy-Africa, the challenges for a common growth; Social and environmental sustainability: Environmental and social development; 2030 Agenda and a new integrated approach; Migration Sustainability for a new model of dialogue; Peace and security – Peacekeeping, peacebuilding and African ownership.
Prior to the summit, collateral events are taking place, starting on May 16 with a meeting on “The Italian way of Africa, the new paradigm of development”, organized by the group of the Democratic Party (PD) the Chamber of Deputies, aiming at identifying and presenting the party’s policies for a “new way of Africa.” Between May 17 and 19, country presentations will be arranged (Democratic Republic of Congo, Madagascar, Guinea and Rwanda) at the Italian Foreign Ministry and the headquarters of Confindustria. A debate on the future of renewable energy in sub-Saharan Africa organized by Enel Green Power at its headquarters will close the meeting. (@alebal/annaaserafini)