In Malta, the private sector works hand in hand with the government to ensure that Malta successfully meets its strategic positioning as an innovative tech hub in Europe. David Xuereb, the President of Malta Chamber of Commerce, tells us how.
The Maltese economy has doubled since 2013, to what do you attribute this accomplishment?
Malta is a country of entrepreneurs. With limited natural resources, we rely on our people and invest in their education and agility. Our resilience lies in entrepreneurship, the creativity of our people, our nation and our politicians. Our economy is also widely diversified and this renders it more resilient when difficulties hit particular sectors. During the global recession, Malta focused on finding innovative ways to strengthen the economy. We looked into reforms of the education system, reducing the country’s bureaucracy and exploring new economic niches. Malta’s relatively small size allows us to be nimble, connected and aligned in our plans. We were able to reorganize rather swiftly, reducing the national bureaucracy and reforming the legislative and regulatory framework, which enabled us to grow significantly by developing a culture that welcomes investors from all over the world.
Furthermore, if you look at Maltese history since the time of the knights, Malta has always been a strategic base due to its location. Nowadays, we attract the attention of numerous foreign investors that perceive Malta as their base of operations for the EU markets, the markets of the Mediterranean region and North Africa.
Which sectors do you expectto grow stronger in the next years?
Innovation is key for Malta’s economic growth strategy, whether it comes to traditional sectors such as retail and manufacturing, or cutting edge technological advancements. We are the blockchain island, the country that champions Artificial Intelligence, iGaming, etc. We tend to have the mindset of resourcefulness in our DNA. Every obstacle or challenge that we face, we are able to overcome in a relatively short time because we small and nimble, solution oriented and target focused. This is vital for the ever-changing sphere of cutting edge technological advancements. Malta may not have resources such as land or minerals, but we offer unparalleled regulatory framework and well-educated population, which is why investors from various sectors are choosing Malta as a base for their research and development centers.
The Chamber is always taking a leading role in being at the forefront of innovation. We are currently at the final stage of concluding a new economic vision for the country, a document to be published in December, following consultations with the CEOs of leading companies in Malta with a strong international dimension. From our apolitical perspective, we have allowed ourselves to dream of where we want to take the country and its industry in the next five to 10 years.
Internally, there are other sectors which are experiencing growth, especially the transport sector when it comes to finding alternative transport solutions and alternative energy mobility solutions. We’ve seen a massive growth in, for instance, shared transportation solutions which are predominantly powered by alternative energy. We are supporting this wave of shared mobility since the Chamber is dedicated to championing environmentally friendly and green business. We are working with the Government to change policies in favor of green economies. Being a small country, this could make a tremendous difference in quality of life for everyone.
How is the Chamber cooperating with the government in establishing Malta as the destination worthy of investments?
First of all, we have Trade Malta, established as a very strong partnership with the Government and focused on internationalizing Maltese business. Trade Malta focuses on several regions, including the Gulf through its office in Dubai.
Another important collaboration with the Government is the newly established, but very important entity Tech.mt, which is dedicated to promoting innovative technologies, and marketing Malta in key tech areas, such as AI, distributed ledger technology (DLT), the internet of things, big data technology, and others. This entity is envisioned to assist us in positioning Malta as a leader in the area of technology, because that is where the future lies.
Furthermore, one of our main priorities has always been education, for which we have established Education Malta, an entity that endeavors to assist educational entities established in the country to attract international students to study in Malta, as well as assist in the development of partnerships with other education institutions from the world.
It is our mission, as a Chamber, to take upon a holistic approach which will protect the interests of the private sector and will provide sustainability for our growing economy.