President Meloni’s press statement with President Nyusi of the Republic of Mozambique
Friday, 13 October 2023
Thank you, good morning everyone.
I wish to thank President Nyusi for his extraordinary welcome on this visit, which is certainly a brief one. I would have liked it to be longer; the international situation we are facing is not an easy one, but I nevertheless preferred to come here to Mozambique in person, albeit for a shorter amount of time, because our nations have a very long history of cooperation, and are bound by a deep friendship. That bond dates back to before the country’s independence in 1975 and is based on a unique partnership, which is also the result of Italy’s mediation role in bringing the civil war to an end, with the peace agreements signed in Rome in 1992.
There is therefore something more to our connection than normal bilateral cooperation between two nations.
We have had a long and cordial meeting with President Nyusi today, taking stock of the excellent collaboration between Italy and Mozambique, and we agree on the fact that we can do more.
Mozambique is a nation with huge prospects and potential for further growth and has a very important geostrategic role, clearly in the Indo-Pacific region whose prosperity and stability is crucial not just for Africa but also for Europe and, consequently, for the rest of the world.
Our economic and trade relations are extremely solid. Italy has always played a significant role with regard to infrastructure: Italian companies that operate here make their best technological and production expertise available to the local business fabric and for development, and I wish to thank President Nyusi for his words regarding our companies, our know-how, and the concreteness, skills and excellence that Italy is able to bring to the world and that, from our point of view, from my point of view and from the President’s point of view, can be expanded also to new and greater forms of cooperation.
The most important example of our cooperation is clearly in the energy sector, above all thanks to the presence of Eni in this area. We agree with the President that the gas fields discovered off the northern coast of Mozambique are a huge opportunity for the development of this nation, and also to strengthen our relations.
The Italian Government today considers energy to be an increasingly decisive factor, especially in the strategic partnership between Europe and Africa. In my view, we need to leave behind a form of cooperation whose approach in the past was too paternalistic; we may even call it somewhat charity-like. This is not what is needed to build solid, lasting relations between nations. Long-term investments need to be found that are beneficial to all players, bringing together the interests of different nations.
Today, energy is one of these factors, because there has been an international crisis: in Italy, we have found ourselves in a difficult situation with regard to energy supplies, Europe has an energy supply problem, and Africa is potentially a huge producer of energy, of all kinds of energy. We believe that putting these two things together can build a different future of cooperation between our continents.
Today, this regards energy, but it can also be about raw materials. Africa is not a poor continent; Africa is a continent that has very many raw materials indeed. It is about managing to help and support the possibility these countries have and their ability to process those raw materials and therefore their ability to live off and prosper from the many resources the African continent has to offer.
Agriculture is another huge sector: 60% of this continent’s land is arable. That land is not always farmed, which is not the case for Mozambique, as Mozambique is certainly doing very important work from this point of view, with agriculture being a key element of its economy. Also in this area, Italy’s technology and know-how can perhaps help make companies here grow and become more competitive also at international level.
Tourism. I confessed to President Nyusi that I came to Mozambique as a tourist myself a few years ago, several years ago. Objectively speaking, there is incredible and extraordinary potential for the development of the tourism industry here. Also in this regard, we are ready to offer our know-how and investments and to work together to understand where and how also this resource can be enhanced.
We spoke about the fight against terrorism, because, of course, peace and stability are the basis for any strategic investment. We are inviting, we want to push, our companies to invest more and more. There is prior work to be done on the fight against terrorism, and we can do that, continue to do that, together. The President is well aware that Italy participates in European missions with its own contingent; we continue to be ready to do our part.
In July, our strategic defence cooperation agreement came into force and this is perhaps another area in which we can work better together in the fight against terrorism because, without stability, it is much more difficult to produce the level of well-being that is needed.
We talked about the Italy-Africa conference that was scheduled for November but that we have chosen to hold at the start of January instead, to try and understand the international situation better, which is developing in the meantime. The President has guaranteed Mozambique’s cooperation and collaboration to draw up the ‘Mattei Plan’, which we want to present at the Italy-Africa conference, also in his presence.
I am mentioning cooperation to draw up the plan because there would be nothing new about us insisting on writing a plan ourselves to then present to Africa. A new thing may be to write it together, so understanding where priorities should be set and how to pursue a strategy together.
The Italy-Africa conference is clearly where we would like to present this ‘Mattei Plan for Africa’ which, by the way, is supported by our ‘Climate Fund’. Climate change is also a very important issue for us and it above all impacts African nations.
We have already announced, and I would like to repeat, that 70% of our Climate Fund will be dedicated to Africa. We are talking about approximately EUR 3 billion; this is undoubtedly a significant investment, which we would like to use to also push the whole of the European Union towards a new approach and new cooperation.
Italy is the gateway for the relationship between Africa and the European Union; we are the ‘neighbours opposite’ and we must be able to use our geographical role also for political leadership ability. We trust, however, that we are not the only ones to understand this need.
So, continuing to talk to each in order to build concrete responses, because this is what makes the difference: I believe that a friendship that has already been solid in the past, that has been solid for many years, can be strengthened even further in the years to come. This is the reason why I came here, to meet the President in person and to talk about the strategic priorities Italy has set itself with this Government.
Thanks again to the President and all the people of Mozambique, thank you all for your hospitality. It has unfortunately been a brief visit, but that is also an excuse to come back soon.