Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni said on Thursday that pushing development in Africa and developing a global rulebook for artificial intelligence (AI) would be among Italy’s priorities this year, as it takes over the rotating presidency of the Group of Seven (G7) countries.
Though it took place in January, Meloni’s address was officially her end-of-year address for 2023. Her remarks were delayed twice due to illness.
Meloni, who became Italy’s first female prime minister in 2022, focused much of her remarks on development in Africa, which is part of her broader effort to curb the number of refugees arriving in Europe, many of them from poor and war-torn African countries.
“What I think needs to be done in Africa is not for charity,” Meloni said. “What I think needs to be done in Africa is to build cooperation and serious strategic relationships as equals.”
On the topic of AI, Meloni said she intended to call a special session of G7 leaders to address the topic before the main leaders’ summit, which Italy will host in June in the southern Italian region of Apulia.
“I am hugely concerned about the impacts (of artificial intelligence) on the labor markets,” the Italian leader said.
The G7 is a group of seven large, industrialized countries: Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, and the United States. Italy last held the presidency of the group in 2017.
Meloni said that discussions of the conflicts between Russia and Ukraine and between Israel and Gaza would also be on the G7 agenda.
The prime minister’s year-end address also touched on economic matters, including Meloni’s prediction that the Italian economy would outpace the economic growth in the European Union as a whole — contrary to estimates from multilateral organizations that have predicted a modest economic growth for Italy. ■