Molise, an underpopulated southern Italian region is offering newcomers, including Nigerians €700 (N276,635) per month for three years accruing to about €25,000 (N9,879,852), just to live in one of its villages.
The newcomers are, however, mandated to open a business and the population of each village is to be kept under 2,000.
The President of Molise, Donato Toma told the Guardian UK that the reason for this initiative is to breathe life into the towns while also increasing the population. He said:
“It’s a way to breathe life into our towns while also increasing the population. If we had offered funding, it would have been yet another charity gesture,”
“We wanted to do more; we wanted people to invest here. They can open any sort of activity: a bread shop, a stationery shop, a restaurant, anything.
Toma said if a village can keep its population under 2,000, they will be given €10,000 per month to build infrastructure and hold cultural activities.
“It’s not just a matter of increasing the population. People also need infrastructure and a reason to stay, otherwise we’ll end up back where we started in a few years,” he added.
The International Organisation for Migration reports that in the second quarter of 2018, Nigerians made up 13 percent of the migrant population in Italy, a spot it shared with fellow West African state, Guinea.