Italy must not fear "uncertainties" due to the COVID-19 pandemic and should seize the investment opportunities offered by Africa's strong economic growth, deputy foreign minister Emanuela Del Re said on Monday.
"Now is the time to invest in Africa," Del Re told a video conference of the 4th edition of Italy-Africa Business Week, in which Madagascar's foreign minister Tehindrazanarivelo Djacoba A. S. Oliva also took part.
"Despite the uncertainties related to the consequences of the pandemic, we must not be afraid of entering Africa," Del Re continued.
The government must instead do its utmost to ensure Italy's economy reaps the maximum benefit from Africa's "dynamism that is at times surprising," Del Re argued.
"For over a decade, Africa has been the continent that has recorded the fastest economic growth in percentage terms and last year was the second continent for its year-on-year percentage increase in exports," Del Re said.
For businesses to exploit Africa's economic growth, "tools for internationalization", international agreements to give "legal certainty" are needed, as well as "the growth of local skills", Del Re argued.
With other European partners, Italy has planned a strong investment in human capital in the continent through an Africa-Europe alliance for sustainable investment and employment, Del Re noted.
Italy has also been a promoter within the European Union of various trade preference schemes with African countries, Del Re underlined.
"There have never been so many resources for Africa, also thanks to the European External Investment Plan: by far the largest investment program ever launched for Africa," said Del Re.