The CEO of Eni, the global energy giant, Claudio Descalzi on Saturday said Italy is ready to invest in Africa to get the energy needed for economic growth.
The Chief Executive Officer said investment in the energy sector in Africa would also tackle migration flows.
Eni, Italy’s state-controlled largest importer of natural gas, last year countered lower Russian supplies by shipping increased volumes from Africa, where it has had a presence for decades.
Reuters reports Descalzi saying that stronger ties between Italy and the continent could bring mutual benefits, adding that China had been present in Africa for the last 30 years to get oil, gas and critical materials.
“Italy is ready to invest in Africa … this is also a necessity because energy is now flowing from south to north and we need to be the ones guiding this flow for our sake and for Africa’s sake,” Descalzi said, speaking at a political event in Rome organised by the party of Prime Minister Georgia Meloni.
Meloni’s government has laid out plans to turn Italy into an energy gateway between Europe and Africa, capitalising on demand from neighbours seeking to reduce their dependence on Russia.
So far few details of the government’s diplomatic plan has been disclosed, but some concrete initiatives addressing Africa could be announced next year, when Italy holds the rotating presidency of the Group of Seven.
Descalzi said that until now foreign investments in Africa have not triggered self-sustaining development, adding that Italy could face even bigger migration flows with Africa’s population expected to grow to 1.8 billion by 2030.
Eni has recently announced a multi-year investment plan worth more than $7 billion in Egypt. It also signed a multi-billion euros investment in Libya and launched the creation of agri-hubs in several African countries to grow seeds for biofuel production.