Minister Carfagna presented Southern Italy's SEZs at EXPO Dubai 2020

21 March 2022

"The new eight Special Economic Zones will be the hubs of a highly efficient system of rail, port and road connections. Thanks to European and national resources, we are going to build real intermodal hubs in the next five years, so that the trade routes from the Far East and the Atlantic can find a gateway to Europe and an easier connection with Northern Africa’s most developed regions." Mara Carfagna, Minister for Southern Italy and Territorial Cohesion, stated it on the occasion of the SEZs presentation event at Italy Pavilion at EXPO Dubai 2020. The initiative, organised in recent months, is the first appointment of the tour announced by the Minister within the campaign aimed at promoting Southern Italy’s SEZs in Europe and worldwide.

"We are convinced that in the next decade the Mediterranean will play an increasingly central role – in its enlarged dimension to the Arabian Peninsula – in the economic, energy, cultural and political scenarios. The expansion of the Suez Canal, the increase in trade between the two sides of Our Sea, the growth of Africa as a market of producers and consumers, the construction of new energy infrastructures between the Middle East and Europe, and between Africa and Europe. There is no doubt that a significant part of the redefinition of the planet's geopolitical balances will pass exactly through the enlarged Mediterranean."

Within this framework, Minister Carfagna explained to the authorities and investors present in Dubai that "Italy is a candidate, with its South, to become a real logistics, energy and production hub for the entire Mediterranean region. It is a strategic action strongly advocated by the Draghi Government with the National Recovery Plan, funded with European Union funds."

Within this project, SEZs play a major role: "Port, dry-port and industrial areas to attract businesses and new investments thanks to a new “zero-bureaucracy model” and decreased taxation, as well as large infrastructure investments in ports, high-speed networks, and road system."

The Director-General of the Territorial Cohesion Agency, Paolo Esposito, remotely attended the event from Italy and illustrated the Agency's role in supporting the development of Southern Italy’s SEZs: "The Agency fosters institutional relations and liaising with relevant central and territorial public administrations, enabling for the administrative processes for planning and implementing the new infrastructural interventions, and for the tax incentives and benefits provided."

"Our objective - said Minister Carfagna in her speech - lies in making the ports and the SEZs of Southern Italy the most convenient place to unload goods and raw materials, ready to be exported anywhere in Europe and the world."

"This is the vision we have for the future of Southern Italy. No longer the periphery of Europe – rather, the advanced point of the Continent in the enlarged Mediterranean. No longer a land to be refunded for its gaps versus the rest of the Country, rather a land rich in skills and opportunities. Southern Italy is no longer a territory from which to emigrate, rather the centre of a new strategy of reindustrialisation, green energy production, circulation of people and goods."

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