AfroLife has been overwhelmed with enquiries from within Europe and parts of Africa, especially Nigeria

The Social Media and some news outlets have been awash with news that some Italian towns and villages have thrown open invitation to especially foreigners to come and dwell in these places, apparently to  swell their fast declining population. AfroLife has been overwhelmed with enquiries from within Europe and parts of Africa, especially Nigeria.

Yes it is true that some regions in Italy are offering monetary gifts and incentives to new arrivals to populate their towns and villages. The latest region to make that offer is Molise. It is the offer that has gone viral on the internet. Molise comprises of nine towns and villages. The last few years have seen its young people moved away, and in 2018, not a single birth was recorded in the nine towns and villages.

This has got the President of the region Donato Toma worried, so much he is now offering €25,000 to each new resident. According to the President, every town with fewer than 2,000 inhabitants will offer €700 per month for three years to newcomers.

But there is a caveat to this offer. Mr Toma said to get the payment, the newcomer must promise to open a business. “They can open any sort of activity: a bread shop, a stationery shop, a restaurant, anything. It’s a way to breathe life into our towns while also increasing the population,” he emphasised.

It is not only in Molise that offers are coming, earlier in the year, Giovanni Bruno Mattiet, the mayor of the tiny Alpine village of Locana, in Piedmont, the mountainous northwestern region of Italy that borders France and Switzerland, announced that he was willing to pay up to €9,000 over three years to families willing to move in and take up residency there, as long as they have a child and a minimum annual salary of €6,000.

“Our population has shrunk from 7,000 residents in the early 1900s to barely 1,500 as people left looking for a job at Torino’s big factories,” declared Mattiet in an interview. “Our school each year faces the risk of shutting down due to few pupils. I can’t allow this to happen.”

At the beginning of 2019, Mussomeli, a town in Southern region of Sicily, was offering  ($2.50)  abandoned homes for about €2, as long as buyers made renovations.

Nicola Gatta, mayor of Candela, a small town in the Puglia region, had also pledged to pay people moving into the town €2000. Gatta desires with the offer to bring the population of the town to its 1990s figure of 8,000 inhabitants.

The hilltop town of Riace in Southern Italy, was almost a ghost town 15 years ago. Houses were derelict and the local school was near to closing as residents migrated to Italian cities and abroad. To solve the problem, the then mayor, Domenico Lucano set up a scheme, funded by the Italian government, which ensured he threw the town’s door open to immigrants. Under the scheme, migrants were offered training and the abandoned apartments. Within the years, the scheme has aided in boosting the population of the town and revival of its economy.

“The multiculturalism, the variety of skills and personal stories which people have brought to Riace have revolutionised what was becoming a ghost town. There were people without a house here, and there were houses without people here. It’s simple,” declared Lucano, who was named by Fortune Magazine as one of the world’s 50 greatest leaders.

Donato Toma, the Governor of Molise Region of Italy is offering €700 to new arrivals to the Region


Figures by ISTAT, the Italian Bureau of Statistics, has revealed that the Italian population is at it lowest in 90 years at 55 million. Italy is just one of many European countries suffering from an ageing populace. In the last 30 years, one in four small communities have become ghost towns in Italy. There are now 139 villages with fewer than 150 residents. The author of the acclaimed Mafia novel Gomorrah,  Roberto Saviano said in a recent interview that migrants are the future for Italy’s economy.


These Nigerians own and run this Bar in Riace


The arrival of Migrants to Riace has revived a dying town