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The Africa Report

Sameera Casmod |
30 January 2024 | 23:00 SAST
2-min read

Egypt decries West’s UNRWA cuts, Africa ought to eye Italy’s development plan cautiously

The Prime Minister of Italy, Georgia Meloni, at a summit on Monday, discussed the details of a project called the Mattei Plan. It is aimed at curbing irregular immigration to Europe by investing in development on the African continent.

“Countries tend to enter into these kinds of agreements, push these sorts of proposals, of course, for their own interests,” Mr Mikatekiso Kubayi, a researcher at the Institute of Global Dialogue said in the Africa Report on Radio Islam International today.

He noted that it is in principle a good thing for Africa to partner with other countries to develop its industries. However, he cautioned that Africa ought to be careful to negotiate the best deals for itself and noted that Italy might exploit countries in Africa to solve its own resource and energy shortages.

He elaborated on Africa’s agency in such partnerships, emphasising the need for careful negotiation to ensure real African development.

Mr. Kubayi expressed concern about potential ulterior motives behind the Italian plan, citing speculation that it aims to curb immigration.

“I read commentators and analysts arguing, that Italy is trying to use the development of Africa’s economy as a means to stop the influence of immigrants.”

The recent suspension of UNRWA funding by Western countries was discussed.

“It’s shocking, you know, that something of this nature can happen today. We talk human rights all the time. We talk humanity all the time, all of these things, there’s global cooperation on this, that, and the other. But today, people are being massacred. And instead of looking at increasing access to aid, we take a critical lifeline away from them,” Mr Kubayi said.

He further criticised the timing of the funding cuts, coinciding with ongoing macabre Israeli bombardments in Gaza and the International Court of Justice’s (ICJ) pronouncements.

“Just after the judgment on the interim measures, massive bombardments came out in Gaza. Massive bombardments, hundreds of people killed. Just literally hours, actually, not even a day, hours after that judgment. And they’ve carried on, they’ve continued,” he said.

Mr. Kubayi concluded by painting a grim picture of the situation in Palestine and urging renewed humanitarian efforts.

“The court has made a pronouncement, a judgment, and then they cut funding. I mean, it doesn’t make any sense. This is the worst, the worst, absolute worst scenario. They could not have chosen a worse thing to do at this point in time, where all argument is in favour of increasing humanitarian aid unhindered in Gaza and Palestine.”

Mr Mikatekiso Kubayi is a researcher at the Institute for Global Dialogue associated with UNISA (IGD). He is also a fellow at the Institute for Pan African Thought and Conversation (IPATC) at the University of Johannesburg (UJ) as well as a PhD Candidate, also at UJ.

Listen to the Africa Report on Sabaahul Muslim with Moulana Junaid Kharsany.


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