Italy’s plan to trade energy for migration curbs with Africa


Italy’s Prime Minister plans to decrease the country’s migrant population whilst increasing energy deals with Africa, according to Reuters.

Italian PM, Giorgia Meloni, proposed the “Mattei Plan”, a strategic scheme in which Italy would act as a “bridge” between Europe and Africa.

The “non-predatory” approach was produced during a summit at the Italian senate on 29th January 2024, in front of the leaders and representatives of over 25 countries.

Tunisia’s president, Kais Saied, commended Meloni’s “novel approach” in addressing the inequalities between the Global South and the West. Meloni has voiced that she hopes Italy and Africa will co-perate “as equals, far from any predatory temptation,” through a series of pilot schemes to reshape relations between the nations.

Some pilot schemes involve modernising grain production, purifying water, providing training in renewable energies, all with the intention of extending these across the continent.

The promise of pilot schemes has been praised by Tunisia – who deems Italy to be a significant solution in the country’s difficulties with the European Union.

However, critics announced that Meloni’s plan is much too focused on fossil fuel extraction and have requested that renewable energy take paramount importance, especially since more than 40 percent of Africans do not have access to energy at all.

Throughout the summit, there was no mention of Italy’s colonial history in Libya, Ethiopia, Eritrea and what is now Somalia.

In spite of their pledges to end migrant boat landings Meloni, and her main coalition partner, Matteo Salvini have actually seen the number of boat landings increase by a third last year (from 105,000 in 2022 to 158,000 in 2023.)

African Union Chairman, Azali Assoumani agrees that authorities need to cooperate to “put an end to the often deadly migratory flows of Africans who have lost all hope of freedom in their respective countries.”

READ: Almost 100 migrant deaths and disappearances in January 2024

It is said that the crossing between North Africa and Italy, the Central Mediterranean that migrant commonly use to escape various socio-economic factors, is the world’s deadliest.

International Organisation for Migration revealed that nearly 100 people have died or disappeared crossing the Mediterranean since the beginning of 2024.



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