iten

The impact of the North African revolution on Italian business

The revolutionary movements in the region of north Africa have collapsed the old understandings between these countries and Europe, but it is Italy that lies at the heart of the upcoming political and economic negotiations, as the geographical location of the country, once again proves to be a powerful tool after a time of warfare.

Italy’s location turned out to be useful in the past, as NATO’s easternmost outpost, the country was crucial in establishing peace and understanding between the west and the east, but after the fall of the Berlin Wall, Italy lost its status as an essential player in the game of politics and economy. Yet now at a time when North Africa and Europe are rebuilding their relationship, Italy is in prime position to make an impact on every move that is made by recreating its own relationship with the countries of North Africa. Italy’s position has even been acknowledged by American President, Barack Obama, who has been in contact with then Italian Prime Minister, Silvio Berlusconi. 

Certain European countries no longer have as strong an influence over the North African region, as they did when the dictators were in power. For example France’s influence over Tunisia has decreased significantly since Ben Ali’s fall from power. This gives Italy the perfect opportunity to build its own bridges. 

However this is easier said than done, as Berlusconi and Colonel Gaddafi had a close relationship and so Italian businesses were also heavily linked with the dictatorship governments of North Africa. Libya had shares in businesses such as Fiat and Juventus Football Club and these shares were frozen after Gaddafi’s descent from rule and have now been seized by the Italian authorities. 

The current state of affairs with the new Libyan government doesn’t look to be promising for Italy’s hopes of rebuilding business relationships that will allow the two countries to import and export each other’s goods. So, as some countries remain open to the prospect of business connections with Italy and others try to forget the country’s previous links, the question that remains to be asked is, will the North African revolution prove to be beneficial to Italy’s international business vision or has the change been for the worst?