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General Assembly – Plenary Meeting on “New Partnership for Africa’s Development: progress in implementation and international support – Item 68”

Statement delivered by Ambassador Stefano Stefanile, Deputy Permanent Representative of Italy to the United Nations, at the General Assembly meeting on “New Partnership for Africa’s Development: progress in implementation and international support – Item 68” —

Madam President,

Italy aligns itself with the statement delivered by the European Union and would like to add a few remarks in its national capacity.

Madam President,

We welcome the latest report of the Secretary-General on NEPAD, which outlines the progress made by the African countries in the implementation of African Union’s Agenda 2063 and UN’s Agenda 2030. The report shows that African countries continue to make important advancements in implementing NEPAD’s priorities, particularly in infrastructure, agriculture, education, gender mainstreaming and public governance.

Among these positive developments – which we sincerely commend – the establishment of the African Continental Free Trade Area stands out as a particularly significant achievement, which could create momentum towards continental integration and help achieve the African Union vision of an integrated, peaceful and prosperous Africa.

At the same time, the SG’s report analyses the challenges that remain to be addressed, including the need to build sustainable partnerships with international actors.

Italy stands ready to work in this direction together with its African partners.

Because of its history, geography and cultural traditions, Italy has always had a strong and profound relationship with Africa.

Over the years, we have invested significant resources in the future of the continent, with an integrated approach encompassing humanitarian assistance, development cooperation and private investments.

Our action has always been and remains inspired by the following principles: African ownership in defining development priorities; transparency and shared responsibility.

Our engagement has been consistent over the years and is scaling up. In 2018 the resources allocated for Africa by the Italian Development Cooperation are worth 182 million euros – 123 million for development and 59 million for humanitarian assistance – with a 11.6% increase from last year.

More generally, Italy is assisting many African countries with training and capacity building programs, from Libya to the Sahel and the Horn of Africa, in different areas, identified in agreement with local Authorities in full respect of the principle of African ownership.

Italy’s engagement is particularly strong in the Horn of Africa. Last week Prime Minister Conte visited Ethiopia and Eritrea to express concrete support to the normalization process carried forward by the leaders in Addis Ababa and Asmara, which will result also in better development prospects for the two countries and the rest of the region.

The Sahel has also become a priority for us. Italy strongly supports the revitalization of the UN integrated Strategy for the region and is particularly pleased to see that the relevant UN Support Plan is moving forward. From the bilateral point of view, we have expanded our presence in the region through the opening of new Embassies in Niamey, Conakry and, soon, Ouagadougou.

Italy has also traditionally put African development at the forefront of its action within major multilateral fora. During our Presidency of the G7 in 2017, we focused on increasing collective support for food security and nutrition in sub-Saharan Africa and dedicated the outreach session of the G7 Summit specifically to the African Continent. In the framework of the G20, we have been actively participating in the “Compact with Africa”, an initiative launched by the 2017 German Presidency which is aimed at promoting private investments in eleven African countries.

We do believe in the need for a stronger involvement of the private sector in order for the African development to be sustainable in the long term. Being already one of the largest investors in Africa, Italy is increasingly engaging its private sector in order to create multi-stakeholders partnerships in Africa, especially with a view to promoting greater and better access to sustainable energy.

I wish to take this opportunity to highlight that the second Italy-Africa Ministerial Conference – which represents a structured framework of the partnership established between Italy and Africa – will take place in Rome on 24-25 October. This high-level meeting, which has reached its second edition, will enable us to strengthen our dialogue and cooperation with Africa in many areas. It will focus on Africa’s economic growth; our enhanced, concerted efforts to promote peace in the Continent; and the promotion of human development. There will be also the opportunity to discuss how the Italian business model – based on small and medium enterprises – can help developing African entrepreneurship.

Madam President,

I would like to conclude by reaffirming Italy’s commitment to bring forward its partnership with the African countries in pursuing the objectives set out in Agenda 2063 and Agenda 2030 and in making further and steady progress in the implementation of the NEPAD priorities. Our long-term engagement alongside the African continent is and will remain a priority.

I thank you.