Italy is intending to restore ‘full cooperation with Libya’ and involve Africa in European development, an Italian government official has confirmed.

Speaking on Italian radio, the Minister of Enterprises and Made in Italy, Adolfo Urso, noted that ‘Libya is a fundamental partner’ for Italy in energy, oil and gas.

Urso added that Libya’s wind and solar farms could be connected to the Italian grid and bring energy to the rest of Europe.

He was speaking following the signing of a joint statement between Libya’s Ministry of Industry and Minerals and the Italian Ministry of Companies and Industry.

He also expressed interest in Libya’s minerals, and in enhancing the partnership between the two countries by assisting Libya to become a hub for ‘digital green energy’.

The joint statement was signed on the side lines of the Libya International Conference on Industry and Technology in Tripoli, which took place earlier in May.

During the meeting, the Italian minister highlighted that Libya’s proximity to Europe geographically means that it is ideally placed to manufacture and export these products.

The establishment of factories in Italy to produce solar panels and semiconductors for joint projects between the two countries were also discussed.

Libya’s Minister of Industry and Minerals, Ahmed Abuhisa, emphasised the importance of tapping into global expertise and partnerships in order for genuine development to be achieved.

The joint statement is intended to enhance cooperation between the two countries in renewable energy and green hydrogen; facilitate direct investment and joint initiatives between the two countries and exchange research and innovation experiences in the manufacturing industry.

Italy’s strategy in Africa, the so-called Mattei Plan, named after the founder of Italian energy company Eni, envisages cooperation with the continent to supply Italy’s energy needs.

The intention is to create a hub in Italy from which African gas and oil can be transited to other parts of Europe, as the EU continues to adopt further boycotts against Russia.

The Mattei Plan was officially announced by the Italian government in 2022, and initially will have funding of €5.5 billion. This includes public guarantees for investment projects and €3 billion from a climate fund set up in 2021 to promote international environmental projects.

The intention is to involve international financial institutions, the EU and other nation in the plan.

“We are very encouraged by these latest developments, which highlight a growing interest by the international community in Libya’s oil and gas as well as renewables sectors,” said Tarek Eltumi, founder and partner at Eltumi Partners. “As a firm, we are ideally placed to provide commercial and legal advice to businesses looking to explore opportunities in Libya.”

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