The Prime Minister overcomes the ‘distrust’ of the African Union: after the initial frost, the ‘peace’ with the Italy-Africa summit defined by the AU as a “success both in form and content, now to be materialised”
Five and a half billion. It is the initial equipment of the Mattei Plan for Africa, the project the Meloni government has been working on since it took office. Of these, “around 3 billion” will come “from the Italian climate fund and 2.5 billion and a half from the Development Cooperation fund”, and then other resources “including credits, gift operations and guarantees”. Giorgia Meloni ‘officializes’ the Plan inspired by Enrico Mattei in the Senate Chamber, the hemicycle of Palazzo Madama which yesterday was colored with Africa, welcoming leaders from 25 countries, with 57 active delegations. It is the day in which the Prime Minister, alongside the European leaders, aims to turn the spotlight on Rome by marking a “change of pace”with a “cooperation model to be extended” to allow Africa “to compete on equal terms”.
The route traced for the Mattei Plan: the projects, the missions, the 5 key points
The Prime Minister outlines the direction of the Plan on which the government is working by illustrating some of the principles to the Chamber pilot projects, pieces to put together in a puzzle that “I will follow personally”, he assures. These include a large professional training center on renewable energy in Morocco, education projects in Tunisia, initiatives to promote and improve healthcare in Ivory Coast.
And also projects in Algeria, Mozambique, Egypt, Republic of Congo, Ethiopia and Kenya. The missions “will start in the next few weeks”, and will unfold along 5 trajectories: education and training, agriculture, health, energy and water. But it is not a project “dropped from above”, a “closed box” – Meloni is keen to point out – it is “open to sharing” to truly allow the change of pace to which it aspires, also necessary to slow down waves of migration without previous: “We must guarantee the right not to be forced to emigrate“, reiterates Meloni once again, repeating an old belief of his.
Melons frozen by the African Union: “We were not consulted”. Then the ‘peace’ with the prime minister
Yet the president of the African Union Commission to whom the word is passed initially freezes it. “We would have liked to be consulted”, says Moussa Faki inviting us to “move from words to deeds: we can no longer be satisfied with promises, which are often not kept”. Meloni is unable to hide a look of amazement and surprise. UA doesn’t seem to bring her any luck.
Shortly before, welcoming Faki among others, the prime minister had shaken his hand in favor of photographers and cameramen with a joke: ‘It’s the real one’, she smiled, ironically about the fake phone call last September, with which the Russian comedy duo had made a mistake the security of Palazzo Chigi. The work continues throughout the day, between sessions and bilateral lockouts. At the end, with Azali Assoumani, president of the African Union at her side, the Prime Minister says she is convinced that the summit “is a successful bet, I say this without fear of contradiction”. And the AU leader confirms: “I congratulate the prime minister and the Italian authorities for the success of the summit, both in form and content. Now all that remains is to make it concrete“.
“I absolutely agree on the concreteness, it is the reason why we wanted to talk about this idea of the Mattei Plan starting from specific projects. The theme of sharing can probably arise from there, in the sense that it may have seemed like a closed thing but instead it was not it is. The summit is essential to share not only the strategy but also the final definition of the project. But I may have made the mistake of being too concrete and giving the impression that it was definite“, Meloni’s words at the end of the summit, answering a question about Faki at the press conference.
Meloni’s “concrete” plan to be discussed with the EU
Meloni speaks several times about concreteness and pragmatism. “After this summit, tomorrow’s bilaterals (today, ed.), and extensive work of exchange and sharing – he explains at the end of the day – we will convene the control room, for the final draft and to get the first teams operationally started, and to be concrete immediately“. “I do not – he makes it clear – claim to address the issue alone”, to Africa “serves Europe“.
But for her “starting today we can make a difference”, and the fact that the Italy-Africa summit kicks off the Italian presidency of the G7 gives a measure, she remarks, of the centrality that the government attributes to the African continent. The Mattei Plan is proof of this. But “such an ambitious plan will not be able to work without the involvement of the entire country system as a whole, starting from development cooperation and the private sector which is essential to involve in our strategy”.
For this reason, he explains, “we intend to create a new financial instrument within the year to facilitate private sector investments in the Mattei plan projects together with Cassa Depositi e Prestiti”. AND it is no coincidence that at Palazzo Madama there is space not only for institutions, African states, Europe, but also the leaders of the largest state subsidiaries: from Eni to Enel, from Snam to Leonardo, just to name a few.
Opposition to attack: “Big bluff.” Renzi: “Premier thank Descalzi”
Meanwhile, he attacks the opposition, divided internally by the fibrillations linked to Rai but united in the attack on the Mattei Plan: “A great bluff”, they attack in unison. With the only distinction from Matteo Renzi, who however appears no less scathing: “Thank Descalzi – in fact the leader of IV invites you -: If the Italy-Africa summit didn’t fail, it’s only thanks to him”.