African conference to promote development and halt European immigration PDF Print E-mail

African conference to promote development and halt European immigration
8 October 2010

Jose' Maria Aznar

TAORMINA - Promote development in Africa to prevent migratory pressures which may become ''unbearable'' for Europe, which is called to review its approach to the African Continent, dealing on an equal footing, and increase invested resources.

Such is the appeal made by the Taormina International Forum, the two-day event comprising debates and meetings sponsored by Fondazione Banco di Sicilia (Bds) and organised by European House - Ambrosetti, which saw the participation of ten ministers from as many governments, the representatives of 20 European and African Countries and more than 300 participants from the world of politics and economy.

Former Spanish premier Jose' Maria Aznar stated that ''Africa is a very serious and enormous complex reality where the weight and role of Islamic fundamentalism is growing. Without development, there will be an acceleration of immigration towards the EU, but as yet we will not be able to integrate these people. Migratory pressures are becoming unbearable for our system''. Furthermore, Aznar claimed that the penetration of Islamic extremism and therefore of al Qaeda, in major African regions, creates global security problems, also linked to the growth of drug trafficking, which undermines the power of African States.

And ''by weakening African governments, it will not be possible to defeat terrorism, or to guarantee security''.

But Europe must do more: China saw the volume of trade grow from 10 billion dollars in 2000 to 70 in 2007, whereas Europe lowered its own by more than 15%. A significant blow, according to Fondazione Bds president Giovanni Puglisi, who stated that ''The future of Europe is closely related to that of the African Continent, this is hard to deny''.

In this context, a change of mentality is urgent, we must think of Africa as a market in which to invest to promote development and not only in terms of assistance programmes to deal with emergencies. Puglisi added that ''Africa because of its progress no longer needs assistance alone, but also needs agreements capable of creating the conditions for a truly reciprocal growth''. He believes that this new approach must include the stop of arms sales, a ''bloody business'' worth 1.2 billion dollars.

Zambian economist Dambisa Moyo stated that Italy in particular should ''think of Africa as a market in which to invest'', and adopt a leading role in this sector, ''not limiting itself to assistance, which in its current form is not needed'', but rather promotes corruption and misgovernment. The reply was quickly provided by deputy minister for Economic Development Adolfo Urso: ''We sponsored an extraordinary plan for Africa, with numerous international missions and meetings with the African delegations in Rome, which were able to meet hundreds of Italian enterprises. Our objective is to double commercial interchange over the next three years arriving to 9 billion euros from the 3 we currently achieve''. According to the deputy minister this is ''an achievable objective considering the fact that Italy is the largest trade partner of Mediterranean Africa with approximately 40 billion euros of interchange''.

More specifically, two tools have been identified: microcredit, which has already been met with success in south-eastern Asia, and a modern and commercial form of bartering, 'counter-trade', which creates a positive triangulation between those who supply assets and those who supply products.

Source: ANSAmed.

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