Sierra Leone’s Minister of Health, Dr. Austin Demby, flanked by the Italian PM, Giorgia Malone and the Italian President, Sergio Mattarella pose for a photo at the first Italy-Africa Summit in Rome.
Last week, the Italian Prime Minister (PM), Giorgia Meloni, hosted a team of African leaders at the first Italy-Africa Summit in Rome. The highly anticipated summit sought to bolster Italy’s socioeconomic footprints in Africa and establish possible ways of venturing into more mutually beneficial social, political and economic ties with the continent.
Over 45 African countries, including Sierra Leone, represented by the Honourable Minister of Health, Dr. Austin Demby, graced the occasion in the Italian capital.
Prime Minister Meloni laid out details of what she dubbed the “Mattei Plan”, an ambitious flagship policy that was inspired by the founder of the oil company Eni, Enrico Mattei. In the 1950s, Mattei advocated for greater support from Italy for African countries to develop natural resources and improve the continent’s economies.
Meloni wishes for Africans to be helped at home to stem the flow of migrants from the continent seeking economic opportunities in Europe. Prime Minister Meloni detailed a series of initiatives, called the Italian plan, which focuses on five main pillars for Africa including education and training, agriculture, health, water and energy. The summit placed much emphasis on energy, education, health and agriculture, with the Italian government wanting to boost energy efficiency and promote the use of renewable energies.
The Minister of Health, Dr. Austin Demby, led the Sierra Leone delegation that represented President Dr. Julius Maada Bio and Vice President Juldeh Jalloh. Dr. Demby and the Sierra Leone delegation participated in several important deliberations that spoke to a broad range of key issues including health, trade, education, training and culture, among others. Minister Demby described the summit as “a great opportunity for Sierra Leone.”
The Italian Prime Minister did commit an initial 5.5 billion euros, that’s $USD 5.95 billion, for the Mattei plan. Meloni did mention a pilot of small projects including one on training on renewable energy in Morocco, improving primary care for mothers in Ivory Coast and supporting farmers in northern Egypt, to name a few.