Italy targets energy, migration with 'non-predatory' plan for Africa

African leaders gathered in Rome on Monday for a summit on Italy's plan for boosting development on the continent and turning Italy into an energy hub, while also curbing migration to Europe.

Opening the event, Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni unveiled a "non-predatory" plan that her far-right government hopes will foster a new relationship between Europe and Africa.

Her approach, which includes energy deals in return for stopping migration, is inspired by Enrico Mattei, the founder of state-owned Italian electricity giant Eni.

It positions Italy as a key bridge between Africa and Europe, funnelling energy north while exchanging investment in the south for deals aimed at curbing migrant departures across the Mediterranean.

Eye on energy

Meloni outlined a series of pilot projects in individual countries that she said would enable Africa to become a major exporter of energy to Europe, helping it reduce its dependence from Russian energy.

“We want to free up African energy to guarantee younger generations a right which to date has been denied,” Meloni said.

Meloni, who came to power in 2022 on an anti-migrant ticket, said the plan would initially be funded to the tune of €5.5 billion, some of which would be loans, with investments focused on energy, agriculture, water, health and education.

Representatives of more than 25 countries attended the summit on Monday at the Italian senate. Also present was European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and representatives UN agencies and the World Bank.

No consultation

Critics have warned the plan favours European priorities and pockets.

Read more on RFI English

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