A conference promoted by Harambee with the patronage of the Metropolitan City of Rome was held on Saturday 25 March at Palazzo Valentini in Rome. Entitled: ‘Africa’s underestimated economic and social revolution’, the aim was to take an in-depth look at the changes and phenomena that explain Africa’s constant growth, despite difficult challenges.
The event kicked off with the institutional greetings of Mariano Angelucci, Councillor of the Metropolitan City of Rome Capital, who stressed the importance of promoting knowledge and mutual listening “Through meetings like this one because, as always, knowledge is not only memory of the past and study of the present, but a springboard towards the future” and by Piero Sandulli, president of Harambee, who emphasised “how fundamental it is to change the point of view on Africa, considering the continent’s great internal diversity and evaluating opportunities to create a bridge for mutual development between Africa and Europe”.
Among the speakers was Ambassador Fabio Lobasso, Deputy Central Director for Sub-Saharan African countries at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, who illustrated some points of the Mattei Plan for Africa: “We are interweaving cultural, commercial, legislative, and institutional dimensions with a view to a new egalitarian and inclusive partnership, as a meeting and dialogue of values, focused on people and on the development of African communities, youth, and women“.
Antonella Baldino, head of Cassa Depositi e Prestiti’s International Cooperation and Development Finance Area, then presented the Arcipelagus, Terra, and the Italian Climate Fund programmes, all conceived with a view to cooperation with African states.
Gianfranco Belgrano, editorial director of InfoAfrica and Africa and Business, highlighted how the constant economic growth rate (3.8% in 2024) and population increase (in 2030, one out of every five people on Earth will be African) represent, at the same time, levers for development and complex challenges to be faced, explaining how new technologies can contribute to building more resilient economies.
Alessandra Colarizi, sinologist and editorial director of China Files, emphasised the importance of political and cultural exchanges between China and Africa, explaining how the continent has become even more important in China’s foreign agenda after the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the fear of a new Cold War “On the other hand, one should not forget that Africa is an active interlocutor that can choose what it wants, or does not want, to take from the Chinese model“.
Raquel Rodríguez de Bujalance, journalist and author of the book ‘Women of Ebony’, then joined in. She highlighted the efforts of African women in helping others, creating industrial fabrics, promoting education and providing health care to the most vulnerable, emphasising the importance of women’s empowerment to achieve full and sustainable development.
Lastly, David Boanuh, Ghanaian filmmaker and winner of the 9th Harambee Award “Communicating Africa” spoke about the goals of his production company -Beautiful Stories Studios- “We want to introduce Africa and its stories beyond stereotypes, with an African perspective. Through the telling of positive stories, we wish to inspire Africans on the continent and in the diaspora to be proud of their heritage, history and culture.” The ‘beautiful’ stories are also difficult stories but told with hope and respect, he explained.
The event, therefore, stimulated reflection on the different opportunities for growth that Africa can offer and how it is now even more appropriate to strengthen collaboration for the good of all.