Sunday 28 January 2024


President Mnangagwa has arrived in Italy where he is set to join other world leaders attending the Italy-Africa summit in which authorities in Rome are expected to present a strategic partnership with Africa aimed at improving trade, particularly in the area of energy, diplomacy and migration.

The President is accompanied by Foreign Affairs and International Trade Minister Frederick Shava, Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development Dr Anxious Masuka and senior Government officials.

Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni is expected to present a strategic plan for the African continent towards energy cooperation among other areas.

The scheme, known as the “Mattei plan” and named after Enrico Mattei, founder of state-controlled energy group Eni (ENI.MI), is expected to lay the ground for cooperation beyond the energy sector.

The summit is expected to give impetus to the Second Republic’s thrust to achieve energy sufficiency for sustained economic growth.

Italy will take over the presidency of the Group of Seven (G7) nations in 2024 and has pledged to make Africa a central theme while it is at the helm.

President Mnangagwa will be joining several Heads of state and government who have confirmed their attendance in Rome where he is also expected to hold meetings on the sidelines of the summit aimed at deepening cooperation with other countries as part of engagement and re-engagement thrust.

His presence at the summit dovetails with the Second Republic’s foreign policy trajectory that Zimbabwe is a friend to all and enemy to none and that of engagement and re-engagement.

Prime Minister Meloni wants to showcase the Mattei plan as the crown jewel of her foreign policy, aiming to once again renew Italy’s approach to the African continent.

Italy imports about 40 percent of its gas from African producers and discussions will centre around ways to increase trade with the continent.

Observers have also noted that issues around climate, energy crises, political instability, particularly in West Africa, and migration are some of the issues that ought to be tackled to have strong and sustainable cooperation.

Others have also added that Italy, as a former colonial master, has an obligation to deal with remnant issues of colonialism.

Italy has in the past taken practical steps to deepen cooperation with Africa.


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