Italian deputy foreign minister Emanuela Del Re has said that the Sahel region is, in Italy's eyes, "the true border of Europe". Del Re underscored that the countries in the region are a priority and "crucial for migration management".
On November 19, Italy's deputy foreign minister Emanuela Del Re opened an online event entitled 'Peace and Human Mobility in the Sahel'. The event, focused on taking stock of the situation in the Sahel region and highlighting Italy's growing role there, was organized by the Italian trade union CGIL.
"In recent years, Africa has taken on growing importance for our foreign policy. Due to its strategic geographical position linking sub-Saharan Africa and the Mediterranean basin, the Sahel region today holds priority importance," Del Re said, underscoring that countries in the area are "crucial for migration management".
Italian contribution rose in past three years
"In no (other) area of the world as much as in the Sahel," she said, "has Italy's contribution risen in such a significant manner over the past three years. The Italian Cooperation is particularly active in the Sahel in activities aiming to foster conditions for economic development, through the development of entrepreneurial capacity and support for SMEs, with growing attention to attracting private investment for social and environmental impact, the valorising of human capital, and the professional training of women and the young."
'Sahel is true EU border'
"As is well-known, the countries in the Sahel are also crucial for managing migration as they are transit countries for migrants making their way to Europe," Del Re said.
The deputy minister explained that the Italian foreign ministry set up a migration fund to cooperate with countries of priority importance for migration movement. Almost 50% of its resources were allocated to the countries of the Sahel, the deputy minister said.
"The physical, political, and human geography of the Sahel makes it the true border of Europe. How we take advantage of the opportunities (and manage the challenges) of this contiguity that cannot be eliminated will determine the future security and well-being of Europe and Italy," she added.
"Italy's commitment to supporting the stability of the Sahel is designated to last over time, as part of the wider framework of strengthening Italy's strategic partnership with African countries, a partnership founded on the values of equality in political dialogue, shared development, and full African appropriation of responses to African challenges," she stressed.