Tunisia, Cdp and Simest forum to promote Sme investments

ROME (ITALPRESS) – The promotion of opportunities for exchange and growth between Italian and local businesses, in particular SMEs, identification of new investment opportunities and increase collaboration in joint projects with other international and European financial organisations are the themes at the center of the forum held between a delegation of the Cassa Depositi e Prestiti Group, led by President Giovanni Gorno Tempini, the CEO Dario Scannapieco, and the President of Simest Pasquale Salzano, and the Minister of Economy and Planning of Tunisia, Feryel Ouerghi Sebai, the general director of Invest in Tunisia Agency – Fipa, Jalel Tebib, and the ambassador of the Republic of Tunisia to Italy, Mourad Bourehla. Also addressing the meeting were the Deputy General Director for the Promotion of the Country System at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Fabrizio Lobasso, and the President of Confindustria Assafrica, Massimo Dal Checco.

The event, organized at the Rome headquarters of the CDP Group in collaboration with Maeci and Confindustria-Assafrica, represented an opportunity to delve deeper into the main investment opportunities in Tunisia, the largest beneficiary of financing from the Rotating Fund for Development Cooperation (FRCS) managed by CDP.

The meeting also aims to identify the best projects in the field by the local government for the development of the country, in particular in the renewable energy and agri-business sectors. In this context, new partnerships and financing methods will be identified, also in collaboration with other national promotional institutions and multilateral development banks already involved in the North Africa region.

In recent years, CDP has participated in financing programs in Tunisia directly or indirectly for around 150 million, especially through resources drawn from the FRCS. Furthermore, in 2023 alone, CDP provided support to sustainable development projects in Africa, in the sectors of food and energy security, the agri-business supply chain and the financial inclusion of local SMEs through the granting of loans for a total of 385 million to multilateral financial institutions as Trade Development Bank Group (TDB), Afreximbank and Africa Finance Corporation (AFC) and the development bank Banque Ouest Africaine de Dèveloppement (BOAD).

Across the entire continent, in recent years, CDP has launched around 70 initiatives for a total amount of around 1.2 billion. CDP has also collaborated for years with its Tunisian counterpart Caisse des Dèpòts et Consignations, as part of the broader Forum of Deposit Banks, the platform for exchange and dialogue between financial institutions in Europe and Africa made up of financial banks from 13 countries (of which 10 on the African continent) established in 2011.

Simest, through the instrument of participatory investments, has developed, in partnership with excellent Italian companies, projects in Tunisia in the mechanical, metallurgical engineering and services sectors. In Africa, Simest has 16 participatory investment projects in its portfolio for 52 million. Starting from 2022, it has financed 39 Italian companies that have undertaken internationalization paths for an amount of 12 million and supported 35 export credit operations in the continent (94% supplier credit) for a total underlying value of 707 million. Overall, Simest’s portfolio on the African continent amounts to over 4 billion.


– Photo: Cdp Press Office –

Source: medNews

Malta, PM refuses to remove Central Bank governor

VALLETTA (ITALPRESS/MNA) – Maltese Prime minister Robert Abela declared that former Finance Minister, today occupying the post of Central Bank of Malta governor Edward Scicluna will not be asked to resign. Scicluna is facing criminal proceedings for suspected fraudulent gain and misappropriation in connection to the inquiry into the fraudulent of three state hospitals concession.
Meanwhile, Robert Abela has also confirmed that his predecessor Joseph Muscat will be keeping his generous severance package and perks including a diplomatic passport despite facing charges of money laundering and bribery in relation to the controversial hospital concession deemed fraudulent and cancelled by the courts.
Former PM Muscat will be charged before court on May, 28 while former Finance Minister Edward Scicluna will be accused the day after. The charges were issued after the conclusion of a four-year magisterial inquiry into the Vitals Global Healthcare hospitals deal, which was struck down by the civil court last year.
Prime Minister Abela confirmed that he is refusing to remove or seek the resignation of Central Bank of Malta governor Edward Scicluna, and declared that he considered him among the people who he pledged to defend and support for “loyally serving the state”.
Scicluna sits on the council of governors of the European Central Bank and is also a member of the board of the Malta Financial Services Authority.
The Nationalist Opposition, the civil society and various NGOs and associations are insisting on Sciclunàs resignation. While the Opposition organized a protest infront of the parliament last Monday, the civil society led by NGO Repubblika will organize a national protest for justice in Valletta next Thursday.
-foto DOI –

Source: medNews

Italy authorizes the electrical interconnection project with Tunisia

ROME (ITALPRESS/MNA) – The Ministry of Environment and Energy Security authorized Elmed, the electrical interconnection between Italy and Tunisia. Terna and STEG, the operator of the Tunisian network will carry out the project following the decree issued on May, 10.
The power line, with a total investment of about 850 million euros, will have a total length of about 220 km, most of which consists of a submarine cable. The 600 MW current connection will reach a maximum depth of about 800 meters along the Sicilian Channel.
“The authorization of the new interconnection between Italy and Tunisia,” said Minister Gilberto Pichetto Fratin, “in addition to being an important milestone within the challenging objectives of energy transition set in the PNIEC, will allow the country, by its strategic geographical position, to strengthen the role of electric ‘hub’ in Europe and the Mediterranean area, becoming a protagonist at the international level.”
“Interconnected and technologically advanced networks are the basis of a safe and sustainable electrical system. Elmed is one of the most significant projects of the Terna Business Plan 2024-2028, and the authorization obtained by the Ministry of Environment and Energy Security is an important step towards its realization,” stressed Giuseppina Di Foggia, Managing Director and General Manager of Terna. “Once in operation, the investment will make a significant contribution to less carbonization. In this sense, interconnections are a necessary tool to increase our country’s level of energy independence and to diversify its energy supply sources. Africa today represents a land of opportunity: investment, infrastructure, and skills transfer are the key factors for solid and lasting collaborations,” explained Di Foggia.
“The definitive authorization of the new power line that will connect Italy and Tunisia is a great achievement in the energy transition process that sees our country on the front line,” commented the President of the Sicilian Region Renato Schifani. He described this latest development as “a goal for which Sicily has played a leading role and represents a great strategic opportunity for the new challenges that see Europe and Africa increasingly linked. Thanks to its geographical location and its environmental characteristics, the Island is a candidate to become an important national energy hub, with considerable repercussions in terms of economic development”.
The work authorized by the Ministry of Environment and Energy Security, which will consist of an 18km terrestrial cable will start from Castelvetrano (Trapani) to a newly built station in Partanna (Trapani), near the existing electrical station. In Tunisia, the power station will be built in Mlaabi, on the Cape Bon peninsula.
This authorized project forms part of the Mattei Plan. The Italy-Tunisia electric interconnector is also part of the strategic work for the Italian electricity system within the framework of the energy transition objectives set by the National Integrated Energy and Climate Plan (PNIEC). It aims to improve the integration of the markets of the European Union and the North African countries. Elmed also ensures greater development of renewable sources and improved security of energy supply.
Of the total investment, 307 million euros from the total investment, were allocated by the European Commission through the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) funding program for the development of key projects aimed at strengthening the Community’s energy infrastructure. This is the first time that the European Union has financed a project in which one of the countries involved is not part of the Union.

– photo Terna –

Source: medNews

Eni promotes access to more modern cooking systems in Africa

PARIS (FRANCE) (ITALPRESS/MNA) – Eni relaunches its commitment to promoting improved cooking systems on the occasion of the “Summit on Clean Cooking in Africa” organized by the International Energy Agency (IEA). Eni has also joined the “Clean Cooking Declaration: Making 2024 the pivotal year for Clean Cooking” to accelerate universal access to more modern cooking systems, essential to ensure everyone has access to economical, reliable and sustainable energy systems, as set out in the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 7. The declaration was signed by governments, the private sector, international organizations and civil society who attended the Summit in Paris.
According to the International Energy Agency, around 1 billion people in Africa still cook their meals with basic cooking systems, breathing the noxious smoke released by combustion. The lack of access to Clean Cooking systems has significant health, social, economic and environmental impacts, and contributes to 3.7 million premature deaths every year, especially to the detriment of women and children.
With this membership, Eni is committed to continuing to promote access to more modern cooking systems in Africa, which can bring benefits in terms of health, productivity, gender equality, forest conservation, biodiversity and emissions reduction.
Eni launched a large Clean Cooking program in 2018 which to date already involves around 500,000 people in Congo, Ivory Coast, Mozambique, Rwanda and Angola, and on the occasion of the Summit has set itself the objective of achieving 10 million across sub-Saharan Africa by 2027. Furthermore, Eni intends to encourage the transition from improved solutions, which guarantee a reduction of over 60% in woody biomass, to advanced solutions, which are characterized by the total reduction of use of unsustainable biomass derived from trees. With this evolution the goal is to reach 20 million people by 2030, with an expense of 300 million dollars.

– Photo IEA –


Source: medNews

IOM declares Libya as the deadliest route for irregular migrants

LA VALLETTA (MALTA) (ITALPRESS/MNA) – The International Organization for Migration (IOM) declared Libya, strategically positioned as a transit gateway between Africa and Europe, has become the primary conduit for migrants attempting the perilous journey across the Central Mediterranean. In its “Global Migration Report 2024’, the IOM said that this route has been the deadliest, claiming over 20,000 lives of irregular migrants between 2014 and 2022. According to the report, these networks are responsible for the most perilous migration route in the world, with a record number of human rights abuses including torture, forced labor, and extreme violence. The rise of these smuggling networks can be traced back to the chaos following the 2011 overthrow of Muammar Gaddafi, which left Libya in a state of political and social disarray. This turmoil provided fertile ground for smuggling syndicates, often linked to local militias, to thrive by exploiting vulnerable migrants desperate to escape conflict and poverty in their home countries. Despite concerted international efforts to address these challenges, including initiatives by the European Union and the United Nations, progress has been stymied by Libya’s ongoing internal conflict and fragmented governance. The lack of a stable, unified government complicates any coordinated international action or enforcement of laws against such criminal activities. The IOM report emphasizes the urgent need for a comprehensive approach to tackle the root causes driving these hazardous migrations. (ITALPRESS).

Foto: Agenzia Fotogramma

Source: medNews

Malta, protesters shouted “mafia, mafia” at government MPs as they left parliament

LA VALLETTA (MALTA) (ITALPRESS/NNA) – A large crowd of protesters carrying Maltese and EU flags, and holding placards lambasting the “theft” of the public hospitals gathered outside the Parliament in Valletta. The protest was called by the Leader of the Opposition Bernard Grech over the damning public hospitals’ inquiry and the subsequent filing of criminal charges against several top officials, including former prime minister Joseph Muscat, former Health Minister Konrad Mizzi, former Finance Minister and Malta’s Central Bank Governor Edward Scicluna and former Deputy Prime Minister Chris Fearne. As soon as government’s MPs exited parliament behind police barriers and made their way up a side street away from the crowd, PN supporters loudly jeered and chanted “mafia, mafia” at Labour MPs. Nationalist Leader Bernard Grech told protesters that Prime Minister Robert Abela is attacking the “bastions” of democracy. “He has been attacking three institutions at once – journalists, the parliamentary process and the judiciary. What do these institutions have in common? They are the three democratic institutions which cannot be controlled by him,” he said. He added “for the prime minister and the speaker, parliament is not the country’s highest institution but a bunker from where they cannot hear the democratic cries”. The protest was called after Grech declared that the Opposition would resort to ‘parliamentary disobedience’ after two rulings by the speaker denying the Opposition’s request for the immediate publication of the criminal inquiry and an urgent debate on the accusations facing the deputy prime minister Chris Fearne, who then resigned last Friday. Yesterday the Parliament’s Speaker rejected for the third time a request by Opposition leader Bernard Grech for an urgent debate on the prime minister’s failure to sack Central Bank Governor Edward Scicluna who faces criminal charges concerning the hospitals deal and the permanent secretary at the Ministry of Economic Affairs, who is also facing serious criminal charges in what it’s being described an unprecedented situation for the country. While former PM Muscat will be charged over fraud and corruption on 28 May, former ministers Chris Fearne and Edward Scicluna will be criminally charged in court the following day. While addressing the crowd, the Leader of the Opposition declared, “on June 8 it is not Abela who will tell you what to do. Rather, you can tell him what he should do,” with reference to the scheduled MEP and local councils elections. He added if it were up to the Labour government, the hospitals deal would have never been annulled. “It was thanks to the Nationalist Party that the government was forced to pull out of the deal and it was thanks to NGO Repubblika that a magisterial inquiry was carried out.” The Vitals case has dominated headlines since the magistrate concluded her four-year inquiry into the government’s grant of a concession for the management of three state hospitals to Vitals Global Healthcare in 2015. Vitals later transferred the concession to Steward Healthcare and the concession was declared null by Malta’s highest court in February after finding fraud. Yesterday, it was revealed that Steward Healthcare is planning to sell off all its hospitals after announcing this week that it filed for bankruptcy protection hoping to finalize transactions by the end of the summer to address its $9 billion in total liabilities.


Foto: Net News

Source: medNews

Malta, Italian boy in risk of dying

LA VALLETTA (ITALPRESS/MNA) – An Italian boy is fighting for his life after he fell into a private swimming pool.
Investigators said that the six-year-old boy was seriously injured and almost drowned on Monday afternoon. The accident happened at 2.15pm in a residence in St. Andrew’s road, Swieqi, in the Northern region of the island.
The Italian boy was given first aid on site and then taken to Mater Dei Hospital for further treatment. He was certified as having sustained serious injuries.
A magisterial inquiry is underway while the police are still investigating the incident.
-photo Agenzia Fotogramma-

Source: medNews

EU urges Libya to protect its cultural heritage from criminal activities

MALTA (LA VALLETTA) (ITALPRESS/MNA) – The European Union Ambassador to Libya, Nicola Orlando, has called for the protection of Libyan cultural heritage from looting, trafficking, and vandalism. Orlando inaugurated an international conference on the protection of Libyan cultural heritage in Tripoli, with the participation of 20 experts from five European countries. Among the participants were archaeological missions, and representatives from law enforcement agencies from Italy, in cooperation with the Department of Antiquities and Tourist Police of the Ministry of Interior. “Libyan cultural heritage is extraordinary. It belongs to all Libyans and to humanity. It represents our rich, common Mediterranean roots. Its economic and employment potential is remarkable,” he said. “This is why together we must protect it from looting, trafficking and vandalism,” he added. He emphasised that the European Union and its member states are proud of their partnership to protect and preserve Libyan cultural heritage, contributing to national unity and reconciliation. (ITALPRESS).

Foto: Ufficio Ambasciatore UE in Libia

Source: medNews

Libya and Tunisia discuss cooperation to tackle illegal migration

LA VALLETTA (MALTA) (ITALPRESS/MNA) – Libya and Tunisia agree to increase the consultation and coordination at both regional and international levels, particularly concerning the challenges of irregular migration and human trafficking. The emphasis was on a collaborative approach to address these pervasive issues that affect both nations. This follows a high-level meeting between Nabil Ammar, the Tunisian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Migration, and Tunisians Abroad, and Taher Salem, who is in charge of managing the Libyan Foreign Ministry under the Government of National Unity (GNU). This meeting underscores the ongoing commitment between Tunisia and Libya to work together on critical regional issues, including enhancing security measures and tackling the complex challenges posed by migration patterns in North Africa. Earlier this month, Algerian Interior Minister Ibrahim Murad announced that Algeria has agreed with Libya and Tunisia on a joint approach to develop border regions as part of efforts to combat irregular migration. This agreement was revealed during a quadripartite meeting held in Rome, Italy, chaired by Italian Interior Minister Matteo Piantedosi and attended by Imad al-Trabulsi of Libya’s Temporary National Unity Government and Tunisian Interior Minister Kamel Feki. The German NGO Sea-Watch International is reporting that the Tunisian National Guard is being accused of deliberately leading to the capsize of a boat with 42 migrants on April, 5. 16 migrants lost their lives, while survivors spoke about the brutal actions of the Tunisian authorities. Meanwhile, the Libyan authorities said that the Oil Crescent Security Directorate had thwarted an attempt to smuggle 33 illegal immigrants on the seashore in the Al-Arasa area, west of the city of Brega. Two boats and four cars were seized, which were used to transport immigrants from the desert roads to the seashore. Two Libyans and an Egyptian smuggling boat captain were arrested, as well as two Palestinians and a Mauritanian involved in an attempt to smuggle immigrants, most of whom hold Egyptian nationality. (ITALPRESS).

Foto: Agenzia Fotogramma

Source: medNews

Malta, Deputy PM Fearne resigns over fraud charges

VALLETTA (MALTA) (ITALPRESS/MNA) – The Maltese deputy prime minister Chris Fearne has presented his resignation from the Labour government’s Cabinet, following the criminal charges filed against him on the controversial privatisation of three state hospitals that have inundated the Labour administration.

Fearne is set to be charged with misappropriation, obtaining money or property by false pretences and other fraudulent gain. All charges are aggravated by damages over €5,000, although the exact amounts are not yet known, and the fraud is said to have taken place at the government’s expense.

Chris Fearne, also Labour’s deputy leader for parliamentary affairs, has also resigned from the post of deputy Prime Minister as well as minister for reforms.

In his letter of resignation, he also informed the Maltese Prime Minister Robert Abela that he was withdrawing his nomination for European Commissioner.

“I am resigning with immediate effect from the posts of Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Government. Having the same respect for European institutions I also ask that my nomination to the College of European Commissioners be withdrawn. My solitary and humble hope is that the judicial process to clear my name is expeditious. If, upon its conclusion, the country calls on me to serve again, it shall find me ready,” Fearne said in his letter of resignation to Robert Abela.

Fearne is insisting on his innocence, noting that though he did not know the contents of the inquiry, he knew what he did and did not do. He also quoted the findings of the National Audit Office in its damning assessment of the concession that was ultimately cancelled as fraudulent by the courts, and which found that Fearne was being kept away from any significant involvement in proceedings.

– Photo Department of Information Malta –


Source: medNews

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