Recover, rebuild, reinforce
Italy’s plan for post-pandemic investment and innovation
Sustainability and resilience have never been more important than in the wake of the recent health crisis. On the critical road to recovery, Italy has ambitions to emerge stronger than ever through the launch of its National Recovery and Resilience Plan (NRRP).
Economic growth is at the heart of the programme, with €191.5bn of the NextGenerationEU funds earmarked to achieve it. The plan has been developed around three strategic pillars: digitisation and innovation, ecological transition and social inclusion. The aim is to address the damage caused by the pandemic at both an economic and a human level and, by doing so, to improve the lives of citizens across the country. Weaknesses in the Italian economy will be addressed, thereby protecting against future turbulence.
As well as facilitating a green revolution, the NRRP is committed to strengthening generational, socio-economic and gender cohesion across the country’s regions. It is firmly dedicated to achieving a stronger, more innovative and more sustainable future for Italy.
The NRRP framework has been designed to enable various reforms. It has a number of wide-ranging goals,
including: improving healthcare, education and research and developing green mobility and sustainable
tourism and culture. Its economic focus will also support improvements in important areas such as
justice, competition, public administration and procurement. The ultimate aim is to create a solid
foundation for higher growth and greater sustainability. This will result in improved productivity and,
according to the Italian government, a 3.6 per cent rise in GDP by 20261.
As part of its bid to strengthen the economy, the NRRP aims to attract more foreign investment by making the country more accessible to international investors. A more open approach, fostered by the government’s extensive diplomatic network, will bring foreign investors into contact with a variety of first points of call, such as embassies and consulates, plus the Italian Trade Agency with its FDI desks, ready to advise on investment approaches.
A green and digital tomorrow
The Italian government is allocating the largest chunk of NRRP funding – which at €59.46bn is just over 31 per cent of the total pot available – to enabling the country’s green revolution and ecological transition. The money will be used to promote the circular economy and to develop renewable energy sources and more sustainable agriculture.
The second largest – €49.2bn – is being invested in supporting digitisation,
innovation and competitiveness. This level of funding acknowledges the way in which the pandemic has
accelerated Italy’s development and adoption of new and advanced technologies and its recognition
of them as a key driver for recovery. SMEs – which contribute a huge amount to the economy and
provide a vast proportion of the country’s jobs – will be a special area of focus. The
money will also be used to build ultra-fast fibre and 5G networks and to invest in satellite monitoring,
with the aim of getting the whole population connected by 2026.
The government’s commitment to promoting Italy as an innovation hub was showcased at the recent two-day G20 Innovation League event. This special summit, hosted by the Italian presidency, was attended by more than 100 start-ups from the G20 countries. It aimed to stimulate international investment in technological innovation and to foster cooperation in the search for innovative solutions to global challenges.
A key aim of the NRRP is to improve the lives of citizens in all regions and for technology to play a major role. By digitising public administration, strengthening transport networks and making public health facilities more accessible and efficient, the goal is to create a more cohesive Italy.
Part of the process will be an overhaul of the labour market, with the ultimate aim of improving opportunities across gender and age. A major strand will see extra support for the growth of female-owned businesses through programmes such as the Fondo Impresa Donna, which supports women’s entrepreneurship. There will also be improved access to STEM education, an expansion of childcare options, greater opportunities in leadership roles and improved specialist employment training. The government estimates that investment in this area will result in a 4 per cent growth in female employment in Italy by 20262.
The legacy created by the ambitious and wide-ranging NRRP will be an Italian economy and society that is capable of withstanding future instability, that is more inclusive, and that supports ongoing and sustainable economic growth. Following a challenging and at times damaging period, Italy is heading for a future of recovery and resilience.
Find out more about Investing in Italy