IN a strategic move to bolster energy collaboration with African nations and address the issue of mass illegal migration, the Italian government is unveiling the ‘Mattei Plan’. This comprehensive initiative, spearheaded by Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni, not only aims to transform Italy into a significant energy hub but also offers support to African countries in various domains, including education, exports, infrastructure development, healthcare, and the sustainable management of natural resources.
Under the proposed draft decree, which is anticipated to receive cabinet approval on Friday, Italy will extend its hand to African nations, fostering collaboration beyond the energy sector. The Mattei Plan emphasises the active participation of African states in defining and executing the initiative.
Italy, previously heavily reliant on Russian gas, has taken steps to reduce this dependency, mainly shifting its imports to North Africa. Leading state-controlled oil and gas company Eni will play a pivotal role in implementing the Mattei Plan. The primary objective is to create a gateway for distributing gas from North Africa and the Mediterranean to the rest of Europe while simultaneously addressing the root economic causes of mass migration from Africa.
Migration has been a pressing concern for Italy’s right-wing administration, with a surge in boat migrant arrivals this year. The Mattei Plan is designed to span four years and includes tailored strategies for different regions within Africa.
Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni will oversee the administration responsible for the project. Additionally, representatives from state lender Cassa Depositi e Prestiti (CDP) and state-owned credit agency SACE will be involved in its execution.
Italy, set to assume the presidency of the Group of Seven (G7) nations in 2024, is committed to making Africa a central theme during its leadership. In July, Italy hosted a conference involving Mediterranean and Middle East countries to explore partnerships. An upcoming summit with African nations was originally scheduled for November but was postponed due to the Israel-Hamas conflict.
This ambitious project not only holds the promise of strengthening energy ties but also aims to address pressing issues related to migration and economic development, fostering cooperation between Italy and African nations.