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Friday, 29 September 2017

Italy looks to its African entrepreneurs to ease migrant pressure

Italy has turned to its homegrown African entrepreneurs for help in easing the economic pressures driving hundreds of thousands of migrants onto the country's southern shores. In a small initiative billed as symbolically significant, Rome's foreign ministry this week unveiled a programme under which business people with African roots are offered financing to pursue job-creating projects in their countries of origin. Struggling with the financial, logistical and political pressures generated by the influx of more than half a million migrants in the last four years, Italy's centre-left government says Europe must do more to create the kind of opportunities that will keep ambitious young Africans at home. The business scheme is being launched at a time when Italy has faced criticism from humanitarian organisations over the main plank of its strategy to end the migrant crisis: stopping trafficker boats from leaving Libya. "The resources of the African diaspora (in Italy) have been hugely under-estimated," says Marco Santori, chairperson of the Etimos Foundation, one of the organisations involved in the fledgling "Migraventure" scheme. "And that has been neglected in recent years when the focus has been on saving lives and helping those migrants who have reached Italy." Migraventure has approved 10 initial projects, ranging from a film school to a fish farm via a number of organic agriculture ventures. The fish farm in Cameroon is the brainchild of Le Jeune Noubi, a 31-year-old medical student in Florence.

Source: News 24