BY BILLION TEMESGHEN | ERITREA PROFILE
After the recent visit to of Italian Prime Minister Conte to Eritrea, Italian Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs, Emanuela Del Re, arrived in Asmara this week leading a large delegation that included several entrepreneurs. On Wednesday morning, she met and held extensive talks with President Isaias Afwerki.
Q&A caught Del Re soon after her two hours-long meeting with the President. This is what the Minister had to say:
Q : Thank you for your time, Deputy Minister. What is the impression of Eritrea?
Eritrea is a fantastic country. I have to say, I was very excited before coming and I am more excited now that I have seen it. Although I am here for a short time I think that the charm of the country and the warmth of its people come straight to the hearts of the people who visit this country. That is why so many people, from around the world and especially Europe, particularly Italy, are attracted to this country.
Q : You had a rather long discussion with Eritrea President Isaias Afwerki. Could you tell us about the points you talked about?
Above all, I was honored to have this discussion with the Eritrean President and I can say that this is a huge opportunity for Italy and Eritrea. We had intensive talks discussing the future of Eritrea in terms of entrepreneurship, investments, and projects to revive several economic sectors as well as the development of human resources that I think are very important to the President of Eritrea as well as to Italy because I am convinced that if Eritrea grows we will also grow.
Eritrea is part of the global world and most importantly, it is a country ready to be an important country in the world. I started my trip to the Horn of Africa from Eritrea as I believe Eritrea is number one and we really need to focus on it, especially, within the framework of the long-standing friendship that exists between the peoples of Italy and Eritrea.
Q : You might have learned that core policies of the Eritrean government evolve around visions of nation-building that include, for example, the set-up of viable infrastructure. On what terms can the two countries work towards common understanding and undertakings for mutual benefits?
Infrastructure is a very important aspect of the development of a country and obviously, it is something that needs to be accessed and understood very carefully. Because, in Eritrea, the potential is there but, once again, there is the need of technical teams to discuss potential projects; how to develop them as well as to discuss investment. It is still a work in progress; but most importantly, it is a process that has already started.
Q : What would be, in your opinion, the next step the two countries might need to do to advance bilateral cooperation?
Italian Prime Minister Conte was here two months ago, and here I am today also to start an operational project. The first steps have to be about exchanging technical teams as well as bringing investors. In fact today many entrepreneurs have arrived in Asmara from Italy ready to explore the market and see what can be done.
These investors are of different sectors. I would like to mention those of fisheries because I convinced them to come. There also more investors of several specialties because, really, this is something that the Italians believe is very important and you can be sure that we have all the will to partner-up with Eritrea. My visit, in particular, attests that this is true.
Q : Putting in consideration the historic ties between the two peoples, what are your wishes for them?
Yesterday, after visiting the Italian School in Asmara, I realized that Eritreans are a population who have confidence in and allowed the Italian educational system to be a partner in raising their children. I think this is a fantastic sign of amity. On the other hand, this is an opportunity, for us Italians, to grow to learn. My wish is for both the peoples of Eritrea and Italy to grow together. I think that together we can do a lot.
Q : Deputy Minister, any final notes?
I would like to bring my children here to Eritrea. Because I think they will be delighted to make Eritrean friends. They are citizens of the world and I think that missing on the opportunity to learn from the Eritreans, their history, their fantastic resources, and great opportunities is something I don’t want to deprive them of. So, the next visit will be a family visit.
Italy Approved Eritrea Humanitarian Aid Package
BY INFO AFRICA
Italy will provide a humanitarian and emergency aid package to the people of Eritrea with a total value of over 1.6 million euros. This was reported by the Foreign Ministry, on the occasion of the visit to Asmara by the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Emanuela Del Re.
The Italian contribution will be used, through UNICEF, in the fight against maternal and child malnutrition, in the administration of measles vaccines and therapies and prevention against acute dysentery of minors, and through the FAO, in the supply of seeds, livestock and agricultural tools.
Civil society organizations involved in strengthening basic health services, preventing malnutrition, rehabilitating small water supply projects and promoting good sanitation practices in the Asmara and Massawa areas will also be beneficiaries.
The Deputy Minister inaugurated in Asmara the cardiological department of the Orotta hospital, [partly] financed by the Italian Development Cooperation with 400,000 euros.
High-level meetings include the one with the Eritrean president Isaias Afwerki, to whom Emanuela Del Re stressed the presence of vast opportunities for Italian investments in the Horn of Africa and expressed her firm conviction that future investments will promote actually fair benefits for the peoples of the region and for the Italian people.