African leaders have criticised a Ksh963 billion ($6 billion) plan that Italy intends to implement in Kenya and six other African countries stating that the project formulation was not inclusive.
The African leaders including the Chairperson of the African Union Commission, Moussa Faki Mahamat have stated that African leaders were frozen out of conceptualisation, making it a hard sell for the continent.
“African countries would have liked to have been consulted before Italy rolled out its plan,” he said during his address on Monday.
“We cannot be happy with promises that are never maintained,” Mahamat stated.
Italy, which is now implementing the Mattei Plan as an approach to collaborate with African countries has stated that the plan is non-predatory and aims to foster collaboration as equals.
A Kenyan delegation receives President Ruto for the Italy-Africa Summit in Italy on January 28
However, African leaders have been keen on ensuring that Italy’s partnership plans are scrutinised.
On Monday Moussa Mahamat, in his speech during the summit emphasised that Africa had a lot to offer and was not begging for partnerships.
“Here, to be clearer, I must reiterate some previous statements and strongly underscore that Africa does not extend its hands to partners as a beggar,” stated Mahamat.
Another African leader who was a parliamentarian in Italy, Aboubakar Soumahoro, reiterated the AU chair’s sentiments noting that many Sub-Saharan countries were being left out of the discussions.
“At the Italy-Africa summit, where the so-called Mattei Plan written by the Italian government for Africa without consulting Africans is being discussed, the absence of the countries of greatest origin of Sub-Saharan African immigrants weighs heavily,” he said.
Soumahoro, who is also the deputy and coordinator of the parliamentary intergroup for Sub-Saharan Africa, emphasised that Africa’s youth deserved a fair partnership.
However, Kenya’s President William Ruto is yet to express his sentiments on the position taken by the dissenting African leaders.
He, however, has been keen on forging stronger plans for Kenya’s collaboration with the country, with the Head of State celebrating Italy’s choice to make Kenya its medical services hub in Africa.
“We are excited by the decision taken by Italy to settle on Nairobi as its medical services hub to serve our region. This will enhance our Universal Health Coverage plan. Kenya looks forward to broadening its ties in other strategic areas such as security, water and transport,” the President stated.
President William Ruto with Italy Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni during a meeting on January 30, 2024.