Today, the Interior Minister Matteo Salvini is in Sicily to visit secure centres for refugees, in order to understand what kind of initiatives the government should implement and carry on in the next months. How can we stabilise migratory flows from Africa? China, I think represents one possible solution, perhaps one of the few one.
One of the five fundamental pillars of the Chinese economic success (GDP growth of 9.5% per year for 40 consecutive years, unprecedented in the history of mankind) is a model based on
a) building infrastructure and urbanisation
b) welcome migrants.
China is trying to stabilise the economic situation in Africa, not because it is Santa Claus, but because it has economic interests. Since China has been investing in Africa over the past 15 years, the poverty rate in the continent has started to decrease from 50% to around 40%.
In fact today, China is the only country in the World, which is able to simultaneously mobilise capital and human resources, raw materials and even know-how. In other words, China has higher knowledge than any other country in the world on how to manage 1 billion people, on how to manage the migration of 1 billion people, on how to manage urbanisation for 1 billion people. If we are lucky, China might be able to replicate its successful model in Africa as well. Italy can play an active role alongside China in Africa, helping China to “help people in their own countries,” which is not a slogan but the reality of this new globalised world.
Western countries by using, what I call, the Bob Geldof model based on charity, didn’t bring significant benefits to African countries, where poverty has increased, whereas, in China, it has decreased by 800mln people. These statistics are factual and prove that we shouldn’t really have any complex of superiority vis-à-vis China.
Italy must understand, as I have been saying for years, that China represents both a challenge and an opportunity. However, we must carefully study it, understand it (as I said in Piacenza) and approach it in a more systematic way. On one side, Italy must wake up: on one hand, we must learn how to face new challenges, on the other, we must learn how to seize the opportunity, as missing them we could prove even more negative. It should do this systematically, coordinating all entities of the country: government, firms, and citizens. Only in this way, Italy can boost its cooperation with third-countries and truly understand what The New Silk Road, the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), the Silk Road Fund and lots more, really mean.
N.B. Below some useful links where the topic of China in Africa was already discussed, together with the Chinese migration management system.