Less than a week after the conclusion of the third Italy-Africa ministerial conference and the Italy Africa Business Week, both held in Rome, relations with Africa remain high on Italy’s institutional and economic agenda. 

The introductory event of the Global Business Forum Africa at the Italian Pavillion
The introductory event of the Global Business Forum Africa at the Italian Pavillion

On the 13 and 14 of October, Expo 2020 Dubai hosted the sixth Global Business Forum Africa. The forum focused on new models of cooperation in the exploitation of energy resources as well as in the fields of infrastructures and digital transformation. Expo 2020 represents a unique opportunity for dialogue with Africa, given that, for the first time at a Universal Exposition, all the countries of the continent are present with their own pavilion. Moreover, they are joined by the African Union, which has its own exhibition space too.  

The Global Business Forum Africa was opened on 12 October by the High-Level Meeting “New Frontiers of Energy, Infrastructures and Digital Transformation in Africa“, an introductory event that was held at the Italian Pavilion. Promoted by the Italian employers’ federation Confindustria, the Italian Trade Agency and the Italian Chamber of Commerce in Dubai, the event explored the economic opportunities offered by Africa. As the event demonstrated, Italian and Emirati companies have the opportunity play a leading role in promoting business models aimed at securing and driving development projects in each emerging African country, sharing the benefits of new technologies and approaches to generate economic value.  

Massimo Dal Checco, President of Confindustria Assafrica e Mediterraneo, at Global Business Forum Africa at Expo 2020 Dubai
Massimo Dal Checco, President of Confindustria Assafrica e Mediterraneo, at Global Business Forum Africa

Representatives of Italian institutions and companies active in the energy and communications sector took part in the discussion. Among the speakers, Fabrizio Botta, Global Sales & Strategy Director at Saipem; Alberto Piatti, Head of Sustainable Development at ENI, Elisabetta Romano, CEO of Sparkle, and Massimo Dal Checco, President of Confindustria’s Africa office.  

We must promote enhanced cooperation for the recovery of our economies, meaningfully integrating the Mediterranean, the Middle East and Africa. To achieve this, the European-Mediterranean-African region must build a development strategy based on promoting local and regional economies that will be the engines of sustained and sustainable growth” stated Barbara Beltrame, Confindustria Vice President for Internationalization. 

Speaking of digitization, in a continent where everyone has a mobile phone, even in the most remote areas, the implementation of digital technologies can have a decisive impact on the development process” said Massimo Dal Checco.

Elisabetta Romano, CEO of Sparkle, at Global Business Forum Africa at Expo 2020 Dubai
Elisabetta Romano, CEO of Sparkle, at Global Business Forum Africa

With new technologies we could reduce costs and language barriers and improve transport and logistics systems. Digital transformation should be among the top priorities of the 2063 Agenda of the African Union“. 

Elisabetta Romano, vice president of Confindustria’s Africa Office and managing director of Sparkle, the global operator of Italian group TIM, presented the first results of a research on the impact of broadband Internet and ICT on the economic development of the African continent. As Romano explained, digital infrastructures, in addition to being a driving force for sustainable economic development and driving growth and employment, also represent an opportunity for strategic international collaborations.