Italy launches ‘ambiguous’ Africa plan fuelling fears over fossil fuels role

(Climate Home News, 30 Jan 2024) Italy plans to channel billions of euros from its climate fund into a development programme for Africa that observers fear could promote fossil fuels and “false solutions” to global warming.

At a summit in Rome with two dozen African and European leaders on Monday, Italian prime minister Giorgia Meloni unveiled a long-awaited initiative aimed at boosting economic ties and curbing migration.

The transformation of Italy into “an energy hub” that creates “a bridge between Europe and Africa” is a central plank of the ‘Mattei Plan’ – named after Enrico Mattei, founder of state oil and gas company Eni.

Meloni said initial resources for the scheme would total 5.5 billion euros ($5.95 billion), including loans, guarantees and grants. Over half of the budget would come from a climate fund set up in 2022 to finance international projects in line with the Paris Agreement, she added.

Widespread concerns

Campaigners in Italy and across Africa have expressed concerns over the initiative.

Silvia Francescon, from Italian think tank Ecco, told Climate Home that the plan presents “enormous ambiguities” that leave the door open to fossil fuel investment.

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Climate Home News, 30 Jan 2024: Italy launches ‘ambiguous’ Africa plan fuelling fears over fossil fuels role