The extraordinary potential of Southern Italy. An address by CEO Carlo Messina

The image accompanying the News on the Lectio magistralis by Carlo Messina, CEO of Intesa Sanpaolo, for the delivery of the Honoris Causa Master's Degree in Management Engineering conferred on him by the Polytechnic of Bari, portrays Carlo Messina alongside the rector of the University while they exchange Degree Diploma

On the occasion of the conferment to Carlo Messina of the Laurea Magistrale Honoris Causa (Honorary Degree) in Management Engineering by the Politecnico di Bari, Intesa Sanpaolo’s CEO delivered and address entitled: "A new South for the Italy of tomorrow and Intesa Sanpaolo’s support for growth and cohesion."

Highlights from his address:

1. The extraordinary potential of Southern Italy

  • "We must accelerate the growth of Southern Italy and I believe that this is the time to invest strongly in these territories: we strongly believe that accelerating growth in the South can benefit the whole country by multiples of the investments made."
  • "In terms of the size of industry, Southern Italy ranks between Spain and Slovakia, so we are talking about an area with a very significant industrial component and with talent that is absolutely top-notch."
  • "As a country, we benefit from the supply chain mechanism... We need to attract companies operating in Northern Europe and Northern Italy, because they will benefit by investing in the South, whether through the supply chain or more directly."
  • "I tell young people that investing in their own territories as much as possible is a top priority and, should they move outside Italy, they should go occupy positions of responsibility elsewhere in Europe, making sure that our interests are addressed in Europe: this will benefit our country."

2. The role of the South in the Mediterranean

  • "Southern Italy will increasingly be a central hub in the world's new geopolitics. I don’t believe that globalisation is finished, but undoubtedly we must imagine more regionalisation within globalisation, we must imagine... regions within which relations with other regions of the world become more concentrated, and I believe that the Mediterranean, in particular Southern Italy, is a natural point of interconnection."
  • "The Mediterranean will become increasingly strategic as a major area of contact between Asia, Africa and Europe, a preferred basin for short sea shipping. By taking on the role of a logistical and energy bridge between Europe and North Africa, Southern Italy can go from being 'peripheral' to becoming a 'hub' of the economy."
  • "Developing renewables and hydrogen is the way to strengthen economic cooperation with North Africa, and Southern Italy can play the role of strategic bridge between Europe and the Southern Mediterranean in this area as well."

3. Tourism: the South's hidden gem

  • "The real challenge is to focus on the triad of tourism, culture and food, which enhance value-added and international attractiveness."
  • "Tourism is an absolute strength, but if you compare it with other regions, they receive a greater contribution from tourism than Puglia, Sardinia, Sicily... There is a need to create opportunities that go beyond 'come and go to the seaside', creating a link between tourism, culture and cuisine."

4. Intesa Sanpaolo in Southern Italy

  • "We are the most important bank in the South in terms of size, expertise and ability to work closely with companies."
  • "We have supported the economic growth of Southern Italy, particularly local SMEs, through some €3 billion in loans in the first half of 2022, with a special focus on agribusiness and tourism – two of the leading sectors in the South."

Read the full text (Italian only) of the lectio magistralis address "A new South for the Italy of tomorrow and Intesa Sanpaolo’s support for growth and cohesion" by Carlo Messina, CEO of Intesa Sanpaolo.

Watch the event the conferment of the Honorary Degree in Management Engineering, held at the Politecnico di Bari on 14 October 2022.