by Stefano Caselli and Guido Corbetta*
The goal of the group Why not Italy? (WNI?) is to promote, demonstrate and present the aspects of greater quality and relevance of the Italian system as a whole. The idea came to a group of Italian private equity operators with long experience and international visibility, who wanted to make international investors aware of the fundamentals of the Italian economy and entrepreneurial system, which are largely unknown. If the original intent of the group was to increase the ability of the “Italian System” to attract financial resources, the ambition of Why not Italy? becomes, by its nature, broader and more general, acquiring the value of a service in support of the country, calling attention to Italy’s positive strength and dignity, also in a comparative logic, with respect to other comparable countries.
The experience of the last few months in the matter of attraction of financial resources to Italian government bonds has clearly shown that the overall picture of the Italian system and its ability to present itself to the investors on the international market is not limited to a merely financial dynamic, but significantly impacts the entire economic system, conditioning its activity and development. For this reason, WNI? has organized a solid platform of presentation of the strong points of our country, with the aim of reaching investors who are interested in evaluating investment opportunities.
The result is a picture based on nine fundamental elements starting first of all with an overview (often disregarded in haste and superficiality by the international market) of the macroeconomic aspects in play in Italy, which make it resemble France and Germany much more than the countries in the PIGS group. These points include the wealth of the families (and their ability, therefore, to sustain the investments), the solidity of the banking system and the vast number of extremely talented entrepreneurs who often manage companies in niche and other sectors according to the model of the family business, capable of enduring and developing at the international level. In addition to this we can add the potential of the environmental and cultural heritage, the role of the south as a logistic platform, the plurality of particularly attractive sectors in terms of investment (infrastructures, private-public partnerships, financial and other services, tourism and healthcare). The existence of a mature, solid private equity system and of a Stock Exchange of significant dimensions, integrated at the international level, completes the picture, illustrating the presence of an adequate financial infrastructure to support foreign investors.
Taken together, these aspects are neither an exercise of forced optimism nor an attempt to deceive with regard to the real situation of the country; they should be viewed simply as a contribution to the effort that so many men and women of good will are making, often with understatement and sense of duty, in various sectors of the world of business and institutions, to promote the hidden capital that is the excellence of Italy.
*professors at the Bocconi University