Published On: Mon, Jan 29th, 2024

Giogia Meloni’s new migrant plan: How Italy’s new Africa scheme will work | World | News

Italian Premier Giorgia Meloni initiated a summit on Monday with African leaders, EU and UN officials, and representatives from international lending institutions to unveil Italy‘s comprehensive development plan for Africa.

The primary objective is to address migration issues and establish a new relationship between Europe and Africa.

Italy, a longstanding focal point in Europe’s migration discourse, aims to create secure economic conditions on the continent through its development plan, discouraging dangerous migrations across the Mediterranean.

Despite her hard-right stance, Meloni’s first year in power witnessed a surge in arrivals, with approximately 160,000 people reaching Italy’s shores last year.

The government’s strategy, named after Enrico Mattei, founder of state-controlled Eni, extends cooperation with Africa beyond energy in a new way. The Mattei Plan encompasses pilot projects in education, healthcare, water, sanitation, agriculture, and infrastructure.

Italian Premier Giorgia Meloni highlighted the plan’s unique approach, stating: “The basis of the Mattei Plan is a new approach — non-predatory, non-paternalistic but also not charitable. It’s an approach of equals, to grow together,” during an interview with state-run RAI station.

While Italy, a former colonial power in North Africa, has previously hosted ministerial-level African meetings, Monday’s summit marked the first under the head of state or government level. The Italian Senate hosted the event, highlighting the commitment of all Italian public institutions to the project.

The summit featured presentations by Italian ministers detailing various aspects of the Mattei Plan, with a gala dinner hosted by President Sergio Mattarella on Sunday night.

However, not everyone is on board with the plan. Italian green and opposition MPs organised a counter-conference in parliament, denouncing the Mattei Plan as a neocolonial “empty box” seeking to exploit Africa’s natural resources.

In addition to the Mattei Plan, Meloni’s government has entered controversial agreements with individual countries to alleviate the migration burden.

An EU-backed deal with Tunisia aims to reduce migrants leaving for Europe through economic development projects and legal migration opportunities. A bilateral deal with Albania also involves establishing centres in Albania to process asylum applications for migrants rescued at sea, reflecting the multifaceted approach Italy is adopting to address migration concerns.

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