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joint Italy-Libya declaration on the promotion of economic and industrial collaboration initiatives.

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Tripoli, May 22, 2024 (Lana): The Italian Nova News Agency stated in a report that the Minister of Industry and Minerals, Ahmed Abuhissa, and the Minister of Business and Made in Italy, Adolfo Urso, signed yesterday in Tripoli a joint declaration on the promotion of economic and industrial collaboration initiatives in the energy, critical raw materials, and green technology sectors.

According to Nova Agency, the Libyan-Italian agreement aims to facilitate direct investments and joint initiatives between companies of the two countries and to explore forms of cooperation in dual environmental and digital transformation through the exchange of information and knowledge in the area of research and innovation applied to the manufacturing industry and training new skills.

The agency quoted Minister Urso, who is currently visiting Tripoli, as saying, “Italy and Libya have numerous points of complementarity on an economic and industrial level. For this reason, increasingly close cooperation between countries represents an added value both for the European Union and for the African continent, as envisaged by the Mattei Plan. Our countries have a historic cooperation in the energy sector that we intend to strengthen, especially in renewable energy and its transport through interconnection cables between countries. The attention to renewable sources also emerges in light of the fact that Italy will soon become the first European producer of new-generation photovoltaic panels with the 3Sun plant in Catania."

According to Urso, Italy's companies can make "a valuable contribution" to achieving Libya's renewable energy production objectives, outlined by the Libyan national strategy 2023–2030. “ With the presence of Eni, which develops the production and marketing of oil and gas, Libya can affirm its leadership as an energy hub in the Mediterranean and North Africa.

"But it is clear to everyone that what has been achieved and what needs to be strengthened in the gas and oil sectors can be done even more in the mining and renewable energy sectors in this historical phase of Italy, Europe, Libya, and the Mediterranean,” Urso stated.

Italy is becoming a world leader in the production of the latest generation of solar panels with the Enel Group's 3Sun Gigafactory in Catania, Sicily. It will be the largest solar panel factory in Europe, producing very high-performance bifacial photovoltaic panels with a production capacity of 3 gigawatts per year and cutting-edge technology unique in the world. And Libya needs to develop a dedicated infrastructure for the transport and export of energy from renewable sources. Also in this field, Italy will support Libyan plans and projects for the creation of interconnections with Europe for the transport of electricity from renewable  sources," Urso said.

According to Nova, Italy is Libya's first trading partner, with a trade of 9,067 billion euros in 2023, ahead of China, Germany, Greece, Turkey, Spain, and France. Italy is Libya's third-largest supplier, with 1,7 billion euros, behind China and Turkey, but it is the first European export partner ahead of Greece, Germany, Spain, and France.

The majority of exports to Libya (52.3%) are fuels refined in Italy (889 million euros), while about a third are agri-food (10.9%) and machinery (8.6%),, an increasingly consistent trend.

On the front of Italian imports from Libya, there are still no significant growth margins for products other than gas and crude oil, given the absence of an industrial fabric on site.

"Libya's top customer has a value of 7,365 billion euros, ahead of Germany, Spain, France, and China, 96.4 percent of which are hydrocarbons. It is no coincidence that Libya is known in Italy, above all, for its oil sector. Libyan crude oil is in fact particularly valuable as it is light and "sweet" (with a low sulfur content) and can be refined at a lower cost. As for gas, Libya can potentially export over 10 billion cubic meters of gas to Italy per year via the Greenstream, the gas pipeline that connects Sicily to Eni's fields in the North African country, but gas production is in constant decline," Nova added.