Business & Finance


ADDIS ABABA-- Visiting Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte has pledged to work with the African Union in promoting peace, stability and development in Africa.

Conte also pledged to help drive the search for comprehensive solutions to migration from Africa by promoting investments which help address the reasons pushing the African youth to leave in big numbers for Europe.

The Italian Premier, who held talks in Addis Ababa with the AU Commission Deputy Chairperson, Kwesi Quartey, called for a structured approach to tackling the migration challenge.

The two discussed measures to enhance collaboration and support in areas of migration, development cooperation and peace and security in Africa.

"The maiden visit of the Prime Minister to the AU headquarters provided an opportunity for the two leaders to affirm their commitment to deepen cooperation and enhance synergy in advancing efforts for stability and sustainable economic development, with emphasis on the nexus between peace and security and development," the AU said in a statement.

The Prime Minister spoke of Italy's strategy submitted to the European Council this year, which moves away from ad hoc treatment of migration and seeks to mobilize and promote integrated solutions that include investment in source and transit countries.

The Italian plan also seeks to impose the sharing of responsibility to handle migration among the EU countries.

Conte said burden sharing among EU countries would also ensure the safety of migrants and their meaningful socioeconomic integration in receiving countries.

Italy's renewed effort to address the migration issue in Africa comprehensively follows an earlier diplomatic tiff with the AU when the Italian Deputy Prime Minister referred to African immigrants into Europe as slaves.

The AU immediately called upon Italy to withdraw the slur and seek to emulate other European countries with progressive migration policies.

During their talks, the Deputy Chairperson restated the AU's commitment to further advance the implementation of the AU Migration Policy which articulates comprehensive and integrated policy guidelines to its Member States and Regional Economic Communities.

The AU migration policy addresses areas of labour migration; border management; irregular migration; forced displacement; rights of migrants; internal migration; migration data management; migration and development; and inter-State co-operation and partnerships.

Conte underscored the important role played by the AU, and expressed Italy's interest in cooperating with the AU on a broader scope of issues.

On the fragile situation in Libya, the leaders exchanged views on the need to encourage and support Libyan leaders and stakeholders towards inclusive political dialogue and as necessary, provide mediation and reconciliation support.

Acknowledging the complex political, security and legislative challenges, they noted the need to create an enabling environment for a successful electoral process and a peaceful completion of the ongoing transition in the northern African country.

Italy has been a supporter of the African Union's peace and security programmes through the Italy � Africa Peace Facility, and recently partnered with the AU Commission to create an enabling policy environment and skills for wider application of renewable energy.

This year, Italy established a dedicated mission to the AU. The Prime Minister's visit to the AUC was part of his trip to Ethiopia and Eritrea to offer Italy's support to the recently signed peace deal between the two states.