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

Statement delivered by Ambassador Mariangela Zappia, Permanent Representative of Italy to the United Nations, at the General Assembly Plenary Meeting on “The New Partnership for Africa’s Development: progress in implementation and international support” —

Mr. President,

We welcome this debate under your leadership and the latest reports of the Secretary-General on NEPAD and on the Causes of conflict and the promotion of durable peace and sustainable development in Africa. Challenges remain, it’s true, but progress continue to be made by African countries in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the African Union’s Agenda 2063. Africa is on the right path.

Inclusive and sustainable development is key in addressing the root causes of conflicts and instability across Africa. We welcome the entry into force, this year, of the African Continental Free Trade Area, which represents a major step towards the realization of “an integrated, prosperous, peaceful and people-centered Africa”.

Italy stands ready to contribute to this process of regional integration, promoting inclusive economic growth and sustainable development with an integrated approach encompassing humanitarian assistance, development cooperation and private investments.

We are among the top 10 investing economies by Foreign Direct Investments in Africa and among the top 10 donor countries. The Italian Government is committed to increase even further our development assistance to the Continent.
In line with this committment we have increased our presence in the African Countries and open new embassies in Niger, Guinea and Burkina Faso.

Italy is one of the main partners of Africa in terms of socio-economic development, assisting with training and capacity building programs, identified in agreement with local Authorities and in full respect of the principle of African ownership. Italy invests in a wide range of projects, from agribusiness to infrastructures, from health to education.

As members of the European Union, we have consistently advocated for a strong engagement of the EU in Africa. As members of the G7, Italy remains committed to increase our investments in African countries and most recently, we announced a 10 million euros support to the “Affirmative Finance Action for Women in Africa” launched by the African Development Bank.
Women represent a priority for our action in Africa as women’s empowerment is integral to the 2030 Agenda and Agenda 2063. We are increasingly focus our effort on the protection and assistance of the most vulnerable groups such as migrants, refugees, and IDPs and within those groups to those who is mostly suffering the humanitarian crisis especially women.

Mr. President,

over the last year, many important and positive developments took place. Few weeks ago, Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in recognition of his efforts to promote reconciliation in the Horn of Africa, namely bringing the long lasting confrontation with Eritrea to an end. In Sudan, the successful political transition that led to the formation of the new Government opened a new era for the country. The Bangui Peace Agreement in the Central African Republic had a positive impact on the life of the Central African people, even though some challenges remain.

These are just some recent examples that show how African ownership was key in finding sustainable and long-term solutions. Strengthening the African Peace and Security Architecture will therefore help ensure peace and security on the continent.
Italy commends the progress already achieved in operationalizing the African Peace and Security Architecture and especially the Peace Fund of the African Union. Let me recall, in this regard, that we remain in favor of using UN-assessed contributions for African-led peace operations, provided that appropriate standards in terms of troop preparedness, training, equipment, financial transparency, human rights compliance, conduct and discipline are met.

We have consistently supported the new impetus given by the Secretary-General to the African Union-United Nations partnership and we call upon the two Organizations to further strengthening this strategic cooperation. It is also crucial to deepen the cooperation mechanisms between the United Nations and the relevant African sub-regional organizations, on the basis of complementarity and subsidiarity. We also attach importance to advancing the trilateral cooperation between the UN, the African Union and the European Union.

Reforms are also needed within the UN, in order to allow African countries to contribute more significantly to maintain peace and security in the Continent. Italy supports the legitimate aspirations of Africa to be more represented in the Security Council. In this regard, let me recall that Italy together with the Uniting for Consensus group is promoting a proposal based on the creation of new “long-term” seats assigned to regional groups and with possibility of immediate re-election. This proposal is meant to create a more representative, accountable, democratic, transparent and effective Council in which Africa will be the most represented regional group.

Mr. President,

as the Secretary-General rightly points out, the role of partnerships in implementing on the Continent the 2030 Agenda and Agenda 2063 is crucial. Building sustainable and long-term partnerships is exactly the spirit with which Italy will keep strengthening its relationship with Africa. Our geography, our common history, our friendship and our shared destiny makes the African Continent a strategic priority of our foreign policy.

In line with this commitment, we look forward to hosting in 2020 the third edition of the Italy-Africa Conference – which represents a structured framework of the partnership established between Italy and African Countries.

Mr. President,

I would like to conclude by reaffirming Italy’s commitment to bring forward its partnership with the Africa in pursuing the objectives set out in the 2030 Agenda and in Agenda 2063. Our long-term engagement along with our African friends is and will remain a priority.

I thank you.