Italy sees Kenya as a priority in its plans to become Africa’s leading trading partner

Italy-Flag 1NAIROBI, 1 February, 2010 - With two high-level visits in one month, Italy is signalling to Kenya its plan to become a leading trading partner. The visit of Italy's Minister of Foreign Affairs, Franco Frattini last month paved the way for the roll out of Italy's Africa program, which re-engages Africa as a partner of equals. In this new approach, Kenya's role, as a regional economic power house, is seen as central to boosting exports to Africa from the current level of Euros 3.2 billion. In a press briefing at the African Trade Insurance Agency (ATI), His Excellency Pierandrea Magistrati, the Ambassador of Italy in Kenya and the Honourable Adolfo Urso, Deputy Minister for Economic Development responsible for International Trade outlined Italy's commitment.

The "whole of country" approach, compliments the industrialized country's "Pact for Africa" conceived during the Italian-hosted G-8 meeting last year in L'Aquila, Italy. This new approach to development targets investments, public-private partnerships and international trade to trigger development. Central to this approach will be, SACE, Italy's export credit agency. The Agency has already made inroads into the continent with the opening of a Sub-Saharan Africa office in Johannesburg in 2008 followed last year by a US$10 million investment and membership into ATI.

In 2009 Italy saw a significant reduction in exports to several trading partners in Africa, including Kenya with a 23% reduction. Using SACE to increase penetration into regional markets and through partnerships with institutions like ATI, Italy intends to increase exports to the continent, which represents some 900 million consumers. At the same time, Italy plans to create domestic markets for African products.

SACE provides insurance and financial instruments to support Italian investors doing business in Africa. The partnership with ATI will help expand support and attract Italian investors and suppliers to Africa.

Italy's primary export markets are Angola, the Congo, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa and Sudan. 

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