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Partnership, accountability, sustainable development, ownership, innovation: these key words opened the event on "The new External Investment Plan in Africa and in the Mediterranean", which was held on 16 January 2018 at the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Rome (Farnesina).
The Conference was organized by the NGOs network "Link 2007 – Cooperazione in Rete" and it was divided into thematic sessions, involving representatives from several institutions, NGOs and enterprises in a fruitful discussion on the role of development cooperation. As claimed by Elisabetta Belloni, Secretary General of the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, there is an important interrelation on development cooperation between Italy and the EU and the new External Investment Plan (EIP) will contribute to implement sustainable development in partner countries, encouraging private investors in participating in this challenge.
The EIP is built on a three-pillar approach to improve the conditions of investment, good governance and policy dialogues and it will promote the business environment in partner countries contributing to address the root causes of migration. Stefano Manservisi, Director-General of Directorate-General "International Cooperation and Development" (DEVCO) and Roberto Ridolfi, Special Advisor on Strategy and Financing Development at FAO, presented the EIP as an ambitious instrument which will promote job creation and synergies among member states, in the framework of the Agenda 2030.
The Plan foresees funding for 4,1 billion for the three-year period 2018-2020 and it will focus on five core investment areas: sustainable energy and climate change; digitalisation; agriculture and agroindustry; sustainable cities; micro, small and medium enterprises financing.
The European message of implementing sustainable development strategies to achieve the ambitious targets set by the Sustainable Development Goals was fully supported by several representatives of the private sector, who attended the conference. Among them, Maria Cristina Papetti, Head of Sustainability Projects and Practice Sharing ENEL, highlighted the importance of promoting cooperation instead of competition among enterprises and remarked the need of finding sustainable solutions in the longer term.
Generally, representatives from both public institutions and the private sector expressed their full commitment in improving the External Investment Plan and in fulfilling the objective of leaving no one behind, developing sustainability at local and regional level.