President Materella of Italy has pledged to increase the collaboration that exists between his country and African countries in order to promote sustainable and equitable development on the African Continent.
He endorsed the idea of closer dialogue with Africa in order to build closer and more comprehensive ties with the Continent. Stressing that such collaboration was mutually rewarding. The President underlined that the common challenges of peace and security, of the need to fight terrorism, of the battle against corruption and of the war against hunger, food insecurity and malnutrition are imperatives that drive the need for closer engagement between Africa and Europe.
The President made these remarks whilst opening the first ever Africa-Italy Ministerial Conference held in May. Organised by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Italy in collaboration with the Italian Institute for International Political Studies (ISPI), the Conference was also addressed by the Italian Minister of Foreign Affairs. Another key address to the Conference was that given by the Chairperson of the African Union, Dr Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma. The Conference drew Ministerial participation from all regions of Africa, as well as top-level Italian Government officials, academics and the private sector.
Elaborating on the long-term nature of the relationship between Italy and Africa, Materella said that Italy, due to geographical and historical reasons, was a bridge between Europe and Africa. This was marked by centuries of cooperation between his country and many African countries in the areas of health care, education, skills training, technical skills transfer and the sharing of technologies backed by Italian soft technology or technological knowledge. The President referred to the thorny issue of migration as a global challenge that calls for joint action on the conditions of despair that drive people out of their own secure communities. He stressed that no one wants to seek asylum. Migration, he said, was the outcome of global catastrophes, the root causes of which needed to be urgently addressed.