Tunisia Awaits European Funds to Develop Energy Sector, Curb Migration

The Italy-Africa summit with the participation of many officials (Tunisian presidency)
The Italy-Africa summit with the participation of many officials (Tunisian presidency)
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Tunisia Awaits European Funds to Develop Energy Sector, Curb Migration

The Italy-Africa summit with the participation of many officials (Tunisian presidency)
The Italy-Africa summit with the participation of many officials (Tunisian presidency)

– Tunisian President Kais Saied participated in the Italy-Africa summit in Rome, held under the "Mattei Plan for Africa," in the presence of 27 heads of state and government.

The summit comes amid disagreements over illegal migration and the demand of the South countries for financial aid to provide employment opportunities to curb the phenomenon from growing.

Top officials on both sides of the Mediterranean want to benefit from this international gathering to achieve the development goals in energy in the long and medium term. They also seek to launch a new phase of cooperation.

The summit considers issues affecting Africa and Europe, including climate change, food security, irregular migration, and clean energy.

Several observers believe the summit aims to secure the European Union's energy supplies and accelerate development in African countries. They also think it seeks to slow down migration flows toward Europe.

However, many do not believe the summit will result in immediate decisions due to the conflict of interests between the two parties.

It may also apply to a large extent to Tunisia following the signing of a strategic partnership agreement between Tunisia and Europe.

Italy, which leads the list of European negotiators, is seeking to curb the flow of migrants to its coasts and is brandishing a crucial financial aid package to achieve this goal. Still, Rome seeks to ensure the flow of energy after the shock that the markets experienced as a result of the outbreak of Russia's war on Ukraine.

Saied stressed the importance of energy development, highlighting Tunisia's keenness to provide a sound and appropriate investment climate to encourage businessmen to establish partnerships and exchange relations with their Tunisian counterparts in promising sectors such as renewable energy, water desalination, health, and pharmaceuticals.

Tunisian energy expert Ghazi bin Jami said Tunis plans to enhance work on investment in renewable energy in the coming years, explaining that the national energy plan aims to reduce the country's dependence on gas production.

Bin Jami told Tunisian News Agency (TAP) highlighting the importance of overcoming the structural challenges by working to produce alternative energies, such as solar and wind energy.

The ELMED Interconnector Project between Tunisia and Italy is a planned bi-directional power exchange link among the most critical projects.

Italian electricity transmission system operator Terna and Tunisian state-owned electricity and gas utility company STEG will develop the project.

However, Tunisian authorities hope this summit would go beyond investing in energy to demanding a radical treatment of illegal migration from the coast of Tunisia towards Italy.

Last July, Rome hosted a conference that resulted in a preliminary agreement to confront the influx of the growing number of migrants to Europe.

The meeting agreed to provide the necessary funding for aiding countries of origin and transit for asylum.

The conference was held with the participation of 20 countries to reduce irregular migration and build partnerships in agriculture, infrastructure, and health sectors.

Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni promised to hold a donors conference on undocumented migration.

Saied said that the issue of such migration cannot be solved through unilateral movements, describing it as a "form of modern slavery."

Seven months ago, Tunisia and the EU signed a "strategic partnership" deal that includes combatting human traffickers and tightening borders during a sharp increase in boats leaving the North African nation for Europe.

Europe also pledged to provide aid worth $1.1 billion to support the Tunisian economy.

The Italian authorities say that about 80,000 people crossed the Mediterranean and reached the coast of Italy during the first half of last year, compared to 33,000 during the same period in 2022, most of whom set off from the Tunisian coast.



High Risk of Famine Persists Across Gaza, Global Hunger Monitor Says 

Men and children search through debris in the yard of the Asma school run by the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA), in the Shati camp for Palestinian refugees west of Gaza City, in the aftermath of overnight Israeli bombardment on June 25, 2024 amid the ongoing conflict in the Palestinian territory between Israel and Hamas. (AFP)
Men and children search through debris in the yard of the Asma school run by the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA), in the Shati camp for Palestinian refugees west of Gaza City, in the aftermath of overnight Israeli bombardment on June 25, 2024 amid the ongoing conflict in the Palestinian territory between Israel and Hamas. (AFP)
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High Risk of Famine Persists Across Gaza, Global Hunger Monitor Says 

Men and children search through debris in the yard of the Asma school run by the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA), in the Shati camp for Palestinian refugees west of Gaza City, in the aftermath of overnight Israeli bombardment on June 25, 2024 amid the ongoing conflict in the Palestinian territory between Israel and Hamas. (AFP)
Men and children search through debris in the yard of the Asma school run by the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA), in the Shati camp for Palestinian refugees west of Gaza City, in the aftermath of overnight Israeli bombardment on June 25, 2024 amid the ongoing conflict in the Palestinian territory between Israel and Hamas. (AFP)

A high risk of famine persists across the whole of the Gaza Strip as long as conflict between Israel and Hamas continues and humanitarian access remains restricted, a global hunger monitor said on Tuesday.

Over 495,000 people, or more than one fifth of Gaza's population, are facing the most severe, catastrophic level of food insecurity, said an update from the Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC).

The IPC said increased deliveries of food and nutrition services to northern Gaza in March and April appeared to have reduced the severity of hunger in the area, where the UN-backed body had previously projected that famine was likely.

But Israel's offensive around the southern city of Rafah from early May and other hostilities and displacement have led to a renewed deterioration in recent weeks, it added.

"The humanitarian space in the Gaza Strip continues to shrink and the ability to safely deliver assistance to populations is dwindling. The recent trajectory is negative and highly unstable," the report said.

The Rafah offensive led to the closure of the crossing on Gaza's border with Egypt, which had been a main route for the delivery of food and other supplies, as well as an evacuation point for civilians who were critically ill or injured.

This factor, along with disruptions at the nearby Israeli crossing of Kerem Shalom, reduced humanitarian access to two million people in southern Gaza, the IPC said.

Within Gaza, displacement to areas with less water and fewer health services "increases the risk of disease outbreaks, which would have catastrophic effects on the nutritional and health status of large segments of the population", it said.

Israel's military campaign in Gaza was launched after Hamas-led fighters raided southern Israel on Oct. 7, killing around 1,200 people and seizing more than 250 hostages, according to Israeli tallies.

The Israeli response has killed almost 37,600 people, according to Palestinian health authorities, leaving Gaza in ruins and repeatedly displacing much of its population within the blockaded coastal territory.