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MALTAAT THEEXPO 2O2ODUBAI

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1971 - 2021

invest | travel | media | retail | property | jobs


Your Group, for 50 years. 1971 - Launch of the ROCS Group. Launch of the first hospitality venue. • 1973 - Launch of the Property Division. ROCS Property would go on to construct and manage 4 apartment

Investments Division. • 1996 - Launch of the second hospitality venue. • 1997 - Launch of the Travel Division.

blocks for tourism rental purposes.

1992 - Launch of the

ROCS Travel would go on to open 3 more Travel Offices, including the new ROCS Group Head Office in Floriana. • 1998 - First guided group departure to Dubai. ROCS Travel would also be confirmed as the top passenger sales agent for Emirates Airline to Dubai and Cyprus for 23 consecutive years. • 1999 - Launch of the Insurance Division. ROCS Insure would go on to open 3 more Insurance Offices. • 2000 - Launch of the Media Division with the launch of Tista’ Tkun Int! which would go on to become Malta’s most-viewed TV show. • 2007 - Launch of the Retail Division with INGLOT Malta, Libya & Yemen Franchises. Opening of Sliema Flagship store, ROCS Retail would go on to open 5 more INGLOT Malta stores, 4 new INGLOT The Studio locations, plus 29 INGLOT Libya stores. • 2008 - Launch of perfumes&more Franchise. ROCS Retail would go on to open 6 more perfumes&more stores. • 2013 - Appointed General Sales Agents of Emirates Holidays in Malta. Opening of first Emirates Holidays office in Floriana. ROCS Travel would go to open 2 more Emirates Holidays Offices. • 2017 - 2020 - ROCS Travel awarded MCCAA Top Award in Service for the Travel & Tourism Industry. • 2018 - Launch of MINUSTHREE, a full floor of retail brands at Malta’s largest shopping mall: The Point Shopping Mall. • 2019 - Launch of the Jobs Division. • 2020 - Launch of Dune London Franchise in Malta. Opening of the flagship store at MINUSTHREE. • 2021 - Expansion of the ROCS Group operations in Libya.

ROCS GROUP, THE BASE, DEVELOPMENT HOUSE ST. ANNE STREET, FLORIANA, FRN 9010, MALTA WWW.ROCSGRP.COM | +356 2015 1515 | INFO@ROCSGRP.COM


Over 300 sunny days a year, with a Mediterranean lifestyle

Over 8,000 years of diverse history A nimble jurisdiction in a geostrategic location at the crossroads of Europe, Africa and the Middle East

Home to around half a million people with 25% being expats

Sandy and rocky beaches ideal for diving and other water sports

WHY MALTA? An economically and politically stable business hub

An EU, Schengen and Eurozone Member State

Providing your business access to the EU and its market

English as the main language for doing business

A skilled and dynamic labour force

Government incentives & support for your business operations

GOVERNMENT OFFERS A TAILOR MADE SERVICE TO THOSE INTERESTED TO INVEST IN MALTA. Malta Enterprise is the government’s economic development agency providing assistance with various fiscal and financial incentives. Malta Enterprise will assist with setting up your business and relocation of your family and staff.


THEREFORE, IF YOU OPERATE IN ANY OF THESE SECTORS... Manufacturing

Pharmaceuticals

Digital Games

Digital Technologies

Internet of Things

Lifesciences

Artificial Intelligence

International Education Services

Aviation Maintenance, Repair & overhaul

Medical Cannabis

Software

Blockchain

Logistics

Research & Development

Drones – Build, Test, Train

Big Data

MALTA SHOULD BE ON YOUR RADAR Take a look at what other entrepreneurs have said on their experience of investing in Malta. GARETH GENNER | CEO, TRUST STAMP “The incentives and support that Malta offered to allow us to create a research and development centre that will accelerate our growth were very important. Malta has a long-term commitment to working with a number of African governments, and there are tremendous opportunities for us to partner with both Malta’s government and Maltese companies.”

RUZBECH BACHA | FOUNDER & CEO, CITY FALCON “We would like to express our gratitude to Malta Enterprise and the Government of Malta for the opportunity to accelerate our research efforts with their generous grant, and we are excited to embark on this journey that will transform our company from a small Anglosphere-centered company to an international, multilingual juggernaut.”

WALID SULTAN MIDANI | FOUNDER, YOU RUN “We decided to come to Malta because of 3 main pillars. Firstly the ease to do business - it was swift and easy with a very good soft landing. The second part was the financial support that we received which attracted us and helped us move quicker. The third part is the lifestyle– as a start-up we are also attracted by the way of living and it’s great to be able to live and work in Malta.”


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FFl Frr Again

SHOWCASEMALTA

EXPO 2020 DUBAI

#MoreToExplore


Vaaeea


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The Maltese Islands have become a hive of activity for Technology, Finance, & International Business

EXPO 2020 DUBAI

WHY MALTA?


Over 60 double taxation treaties

A multi-lingual workforce

State-of-the-art technology

Attractive Mediterranean lifestyle

Various tax incentives

A strategic geographical position

The Maltese Islands have become a hive of activity for technology, finance, and international business, fueled primarily by attractive fiscal advantages and low business costs. As a result, the quantity and quality of international businesses establishing a presence in Malta is increasing at a steady rate. Tech.mt aims to position Malta as a quality, creative, tech-savvy country, and promote Malta as a suitable set-up for foreign direct investment, whilst also promoting the local technological industries abroad. Tech.mt has successfully assisted with several international and local merger and acquisition transactions, tender offers, placements, corporate restructurings, and transfers of business. At Tech.mt we are geared to assist buyers, sellers, investors, investment banks, commercial banks, private equity and venture capital funds, institutional lenders, and management groups, and offer a truly all-round service in this fields.


Wherever your business is going, we are with you throughout the journey. The €250million HSBC International Business Fund As you steer your business towards success, it takes planning, control and a steady hand. HSBC is the right kind of wind in your sails. We are present in over 60 countries and through our global reach and expertise we help over a million business customers worldwide. Through our capabilities we make it easier for you to conduct international business. See how we can help your business grow with our €250million HSBC International Business Fund. Call us on 2380 8000 or visit www.business.hsbc.com.mt/hibf

Approved and issued by HSBC Bank Malta p.l.c. (116, Archbishop Street, Valletta VLT1444), a public limited company regulated by the Malta Financial Services Authority and licensed to carry out the business of banking in terms of the Banking Act (Cap.371 of the Laws of Malta). (Ref No. 114459 – 07/2021)



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CONTENTS Malta – where you can do a lot in a day The Malta Chamber of Commerce, Enterprise and 13 Industry Published by The Malta Chamber of Commerce, Enterprise and Industry 64, The Exchange Buildings Republic Street Valletta, VLT, 1117 - Malta T: +356 2123 3873 E: info@maltachamber.org.mt www.maltachamber.org.mt with the support of

A very desirable connection indeed The Malta Chamber of Commerce, Enterprise and Industry The bridge that brings business together The Malta Chamber of Commerce, Enterprise and Industry Building a new Prosperity The Hon. Robert Abela, Prime Minister of Malta

In association with

mintmedia Editor Sylvana Debono Production Petra Urso

mintmedia

Photography Alan Carville

Design Ramon Micallef - BoxDesign

Constructing a real economy The Hon. Dr Bernard Grech, Leader of the Opposition The carrot is stronger than the stick Environment in Malta The key to success Networking Malta: we are open for business Malta Enterprise Harmony and counterpoint in industrial property Indis Malta

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Malta Leading the Way in the Tech Sphere TECH.MT

44

Easy to do business with Malta Finance Malta

48

Aiming for the “Happy to go again” tourist VISITMALTA

54

Shared Identities - the future in the past Heritage Malta

58

Malta – A Hive of Activity for International Business TECH.MT

62

Helping businesses grow safely and sustainably HSBC

66

Solid as ROCS ROCS

70

The Time for Quality DHALIA

74

A whole new bus ride MALTA PUBLIC TRANSPORT

78

15

16

18

22

26

28 Malta as a destination for investment migration and digital nomads 84 RESIDENCY Malta

34 How The Malta Chamber

Fresh woods and pastures new TRADE MALTA

helps businesses grow

38

internationally

88


Welcome

Malta, the island of resilience T

he economic challenges brought about by the pandemic did not sway our commitment to effectively ramp up the country’s investment in greener business models for our private enterprises. We believe in a sustainable economic vision that continues to build on the diversified growth experienced over the past 10 years. A dynamic economy and industry-oriented policies, whilst safeguarding people’s health, helped the island weather the pandemic storm. Targeted incentives such as one of Europe’s most successful wage support schemes and other measures supporting working capital resulted in Malta enjoying one of the most resilient labour markets in the entire eurozone. Strengthening our employment base is allowing our economy to bounce back rapidly towards recovery and growth. Beyond survival however we are rolling out growth-oriented schemes that allow Maltese businesses to remodel themselves in order to augment their competitiveness in a post-covid commercial environment. The objective of these incentives is to boost the transition towards a smarter and more sustainable Maltese economy through a high level of aid intensity. Expo 2020 Dubai will further help cast a spotlight on global issues in a postpandemic world, and provide a platform to discuss the challenges it brings. It will bring countries together to present solutions from the realms of science, technology, business and culture. The Expo is offering Malta an opportunity to showcase our unique identity. We are ‘Connecting Cultures, Generating Opportunities’ to show the world the elements that Malta embraces close to its heart; our history, our culture, our lifestyle, our work ethic and much more. We look forward to being part of this world gathering that will inspire people and help create a better future.

Dr Miriam Dalli Minister for Energy, Enterprise and Sustainable Development

Malta’s participation in the Expo 2020 Dubai is coordinated by the Ministry for Energy, Enterprise and Sustainable Development.


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Welcome

Malta - where you can do a lot in a day M

alta is an island state and a full member of the European Union located in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea, where civilisations have crossed paths for centuries. It is a natural hub for business, where a tradition of hospitality is intertwined with a flair for entrepreneurship. The Maltese economy is highly diversified for a country of half a million people. Since its independence in 1964, Malta has managed to attract and cultivate foreign investment from a wide variety of countries. It has built a resilient manufacturing industry; an internationally recognised financial services industry; one of the top maritime and aviation registers globally; a robust gaming industry; an innovative technology sector; and world class healthcare and education facilities, alongside a broad tourism industry offering anything from sun and sea to English language teaching, to conferences and events, to cultural tourism. One of the unique selling points of Malta is that you can really do a lot in a day, in terms of both work and play. This is why it continues to attract ambitious young people who want to enjoy the Mediterranean island lifestyle and climate, while they develop their careers and build their business in a stable jurisdiction that offers the benefits of full access to the EU market and proximity to emerging markets in Africa and the Middle East. In addition to having a very open economy, Malta today prides itself in having a very diverse society that offers equal opportunities for advancement to people of all genders, ethnicities, and beliefs. It is this dynamism in the face of some of the greatest economic challenges of modern times that will shape the country’s future. That future is rife with opportunities for those who are smart enough to recognise them and pursue them. At The Malta Chamber of Commerce, Enterprise and Industry, we are fully engaged in promoting a future of opportunities, where economic development truly delivers a better quality of life for everyone.

Marisa Xuereb President The Malta Chamber of Commerce, Enterprise and Industry president@maltachamber.org.mt


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Welcome

A very desirable connection indeed I

nvesting in Malta is, really, a very natural thing to do. Apart from its economy, Malta’s strengths include its strategic location and its multilingual population, as well as its productive labour force, low corporate tax and well-developed finance and ICT clusters. Exporting from Malta offers several benefits because of very good bilateral relations with the EU major countries and those in the Commonwealth, as well as other countries such as China, the United States, Canada, Russia, the Middle East and emerging African countries. Furthermore, there are myriad opportunities for smaller companies to join forces with more established one – ‘stronger together’ is going to be an important catchphrase in the future. The Dubai Expo is a perfect opportunity for Malta and other participating countries to create a network for partnerships and relationships; to work together and communicate our vision to others. We all share the same global challenges and need to overcome the same kinds of obstacles. The expo is a rare occasion when we can meet like-minded people looking to grow their businesses and explore new markets under one ‘roof ’ – whether physically or virtually – so we may work together to find innovative and workable solutions. As the Malta Chamber of Commerce, Enterprise and Industry, we wish to incentivise cooperation, promote innovation,and generate real opportunities in export and business. In Europe, Malta is considered one of the most desirable destinations for foreign investments and it has also achieved one of the highest growth rates in science and technology in the EU. The potential for countries in other continents investing in Malta is huge. Exporting from Malta offers several benefits, not least because of very our good bilateral relations with the major EU countries and those in the Commonwealth. Make a connection with Malta. The time is now.

Chris Vassallo Cesareo Deputy President The Malta Chamber of Commerce, Enterprise and Industry


Welcome

The bridge that brings business together T

he Malta Chamber of Commerce, Enterprise and Industry has been representing business since 1848 making it the longest established business chamber in Malta and the highest echelon of business representation. It is by far the largest and most influential independent business network and lobbying organisation, representing business in all its various forms and size across all sectors of the economy. As a matter of fact, it is the only business organisation recognised by the laws of Malta in the Commercial Code. This automatically translates in The Malta Chamber’s strong representation on mainstream boards, both at a national level and even at EU and international level. At EU level, The Malta Chamber is affiliated to Eurochambres and BusinessEurope and also forms part of the Enterprise Europe Network. We pride ourselves in giving business the opportunity to build valuable connections through our networking events and profile-matching opportunities that facilitate introductions, the sharing of ideas and business materialisation. At The Malta Chamber we pride ourselves in being the bridge that gets business together facilitated by the strong alliance partnership network, contacts, and good reputation that we have built over the years. We are fully committed to continue promoting, encouraging, and facilitating international trade, commerce and investment. Malta has been welcoming investors into the country since the early 1950s and despite its small size it has built a reputation of being one of Europe’s preferred locations for doing business, particularly with businesses and investors looking for a business-ready European location. Alongside its diversified economy, Malta offers a highly professional and multi-lingual workforce, coupled with a can-do business approach. We are the Voice of Business. The Malta Chamber’s team looks forward to facilitating your trading and to help in connecting you with the right people.

Dr Marthese Portelli CEO The Malta Chamber of Commerce, Enterprise and Industry marthese.portelli@maltachamber.org.mt


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Interview:

The Hon. Robert Abela, Prime Minister of Malta

Building a new Prosperity

A

fter having tackled successfully the COVID pandemic, Malta can now look once again to building a new prosperity. Prior to 2020, our nation’s real GDP rose by 75% over a single decade. This was four times the growth observed in the rest of the European Union. We not only created enough jobs to reduce our unemployment rates to historical levels, but also created opportunities for tens of thousands of foreign workers. Malta has quickly transformed itself into a cosmopolitan centre for trade in services and goods, a cross point of cultures straddling Europe, Africa and Asia, a natural place to set up one’s business. At the onset of the pandemic, some had thought that Malta would undergo a period of high unemployment and slow recovery due to the significance of the tourism sector on the islands. However, this thinking failed to consider three elements. Firstly, Malta’s economy has truly transformed itself. Our information and technology sector’s value added has doubled in real terms in just five years, while our professional services sector grew by just a quarter less than that. The European Commission ranks Malta as the fifth most advanced EU digital economy and society. The boost to the digital economy which resulted from the pandemic benefitted Malta’s digital sectors greatly, with them growing in double-digits even at the height of the pandemic. Secondly, years of fiscal surpluses and careful management of public finances had created a buffer which could be used to provide unprecedented support to businesses. Since COVID-19 started, the Maltese Government has provided support to the tune of more than 11% of GDP. At the same time, our banks, flush with liquidity, could offer comprehensive moratoria to their clients. Instead of having higher bankruptcies, during 2020 the number of businesses in Malta grew by nearly 4%. Instead of having a high unemployment rate, firms are now focusing on how to fill the thousands of vacancies that they have.

j Malta has quickly

transformed itself into a cosmopolitan centre for trade in services and goods, a cross point of cultures straddling Europe, Africa and Asia, a natural place to set up one’s business.


Thirdly, few would have conceived that the smallest state in the European Union would become a world leader in the vaccination campaign. We have managed to quickly deploy an array of vaccines, raised awareness among the population, and efficiently carried out a wholesale vaccination of our adult population, including resident foreign workers. We are now even in the process of vaccinating teenagers and also foreign visitors who are staying for more than two months. Malta’s Vision Documents

f

We have in place plans for billions of euro in investment in green and digital technologies, with opportunities in a plethora of sectors such as renewable energy generation, water production, recycling, wasteto-energy, greener construction methods, and digital networks.

We have recently issued three important vision documents that will drive policy in the coming decade. The first is our nation’s economic vision based on five pillars, qualityof-life, infrastructure, education, governance, and the environment. The second is our post-pandemic national strategy, which seeks to ensure Malta is a safe, healthy, and prosperous nation built on principles of equality, good governance and sustainable development, ready to harness the green and digital transitions to enhance the wellbeing of current and future generations. The third is our recovery and resilience plan based on a multi-million allocation of dedicated European Union funds. The latter plan sets out six key strategic objectives. The first is a set of projects to address climate neutrality through enhanced energy efficiency, clean energy, and a circular economy. Related to this, the second objective is to address carbon-neutrality by decarbonising transport. Then the plan includes a strand of initiatives to foster a digital, smart, and resilient economy. Given the lessons of the pandemic, the fourth objective is to strengthen the resilience of the health system. To facilitate the transformation of the economy and enable the digital and green revolutions of the coming decades, the plan then envisages measures that will enhance quality education and foster socio-economic sustainability. Finally, the sixth pillar of the plan is a renewed focus to strengthen our country’s institutional framework. My administration’s key priority is to look outwards, beyond the European Union to seek new strategic partners. Malta does not just offer a springboard to enter European or North African markets. In the coming decade it presents excellent opportunities in itself. We are projected to be the fastest European Union economy with double-digit growth in investment. We have in place plans for billions of euro in investment in green and digital technologies, with opportunities in a plethora of sectors such as renewable energy generation, water production, recycling, waste-to-energy, greener construction methods, and digital networks. A business base in Malta is a must-have for any business that intends to tap the European market and beyond. Malta offers a centrally located location with excellent trade and transport links, an advanced digital infrastructure, access to the largest markets in the world, an excellently trained and competitively priced labour, a pro-business Government, a well-regulated environment together with a Mediterranean quality-oflife of the highest standard. Proud of our nation’s past success, we look forward towards the new prosperity in which you will be our trusted partners. n


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Interview:

The Hon. Dr Bernard Grech, Leader of the Opposition

Constructing a real economy

M

alta is a great place to do business. The party I lead is committed to, once again, trigger the next wave of our economic growth and be a credible partner to companies making Malta their home. We are a dynamic, open, European economy. Over time we have turned our dependence on Foreign Direct Investment into a capability to integrate foreign operations into the fabric of our competitiveness. The country’s international strengths in aviation, financial services, high value- added manufacturing, iGaming and maritime services were moulded on companies that came and grew in Malta. They found in successive Partit Nazzjonalista (PN) administrations, serious partners with a clear vision to build a high value economy based primarily on the skills of our people. Long term vision and clear direction instigate investors to create wealth and establish long term relationships with their host countries. This was our experience when, with our eyes set firmly towards membership of the European Union, the

j The party I lead is

committed to, once again, trigger the next wave of our economic growth and be a credible partner to companies making Malta their home.


f

It is high time we realize that an economic model built on population growth and domestic consumption, measured solely by growth in GDP, cannot be sustainable for an open island economy like ours.

country went through an economic, social, and political transformation in which FDI played a central role. Malta joined the common European currency a few years later, with the clarity of vision and resolve once again proving essential for the retention and growth of FDIs in Malta. Being open for business is much beyond the cliché’. In Malta’s case, it meant an unprecedented investment in the infrastructure of the country in the early 1990s, the establishment of regulatory authorities to address Governance issues and the focus on education at both an academic and a vocational level. Creating an ecosystem of economic growth is what the PN’s vision has always been, in which putting in place building blocks like education, infrastructure and incentives is accompanied by a sterling, authentic service to companies considering their next investment location. In this sense, Malta’s economy of today owes much to some milestone investments in the past, such as Lufthansa Technik, a number of pharmaceutical companies, the expansion of high value-added manufacturing firms and the setting up of key financial services operations. Clear vision and delivering what we promised meant that many companies made Malta their base. The Middle East (ME) market is an important one for our future economic prosperity. It is important that we acknowledge that since Malta opened a consular office in Dubai a number of years ago, the country has received a good record of companies from the region as well as indigenous companies exporting food, engineering, software, and other products to Dubai and the ME. Dubai, like Malta, is strategically located to serve as a hub for trade and commerce in the region. We remain committed to the Middle East and the EXPO is an opportunity for us to illustrate the vision of the PN for Malta and our economy. The PN believes it is time to build the components of a real economy, one based on value-added products and services that are offered transparently to international buyers. It is high time we realize that an economic model built on population growth and domestic consumption, measured solely by growth in GDP, cannot be sustainable for an open island economy like ours. We cannot continue trying to build economic pillars on the basis of activities that are contentious for our European partners, or which stand on dubious Governance and ethical grounds. I want to see an economy built around people, using the capabilities of people and technology to come up with innovative and competitive services and solutions with which to participate in global value chains. My vision is to ensure more and more of our companies are involved in international business and more young people take up technology jobs. Building a real economy and being credible partners on a commercial and political level requires us to have solid Governance structures in place. Over the last years, from the Opposition benches, we have been insisting with Government to address the deficiencies that international institutions have pointed out from time to time. We have been proposing ways in which the country re-attains its place in the world by being known to be transparent, committed, and efficient. The Opposition is committed to the national effort deployed in safeguarding Malta’s reputation as a credible, responsible partner both on the level of investors, fellow Governments, and international institutions and maintains that the necessary legal, legislative, and administrative measures is essential to uphold the national values of integrity, credibility and solidarity. The EXPO, like so many other occasions of international exchange, is an opportunity for us to show that we are open for serious business. n


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Your technology partner

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“Our purpose is to drive a digital Malta where no one is left behind. Being one of the largest investors in the Malta’s digital infrastructure, GO lies at the very heart of the Maltese business community, offering bespoke solutions to every business need. Our efforts to roll out a TrueFibre network across the island continue, ensuring all our clients get to enjoy the benefits of ultra-fast digital services. Our latest investment in a 3rd submarine cable makes us the first operator in Malta to have 3 international links and the only link to France and Egypt, forever changing Malta’s international connectivity landscape and ensuring that all businesses have the redundancy required to operate with ultimate peace of mind.” Nikhil Patil, CEO, GO plc

gobusiness.com.mt



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Environment in Malta

The carrot is stronger than the stick If, as Charles René Mackintosh said, art is encapsulated by the flower and life by the leaf, then Minister Aaron Farrugia certainly has life in his crosshairs. Speaking to Showcase Dubai, the minister responsible for the environment portfolio gave a 360° viewpoint of how his ultimate vision for a sustainable and greener Malta can be achieved – and the vision was an exciting one.

G

reenification is high on the agenda of Minister for the environment Aaron Farrugia. In his typically direct and no-nonsense approach, he was adamant, throughout the interview, of the need for the country to sharpen its focus on the colour green. “Greenification needs a substantial investment, similar to what has been ploughed into road infrastructure. We need a strategic and planned approach to landscaping our cities, similar to what happens in other countries,” said Minister Farrugia.

When stone goes green

Planning to go green in this way is a major challenge but it is also a case of making lemonade out of lemons, the lemons being the issues raised by the construction industry. Minister Farrugia minces no words. The recently published Quintano Report had identified various weak links in the construction industry and all the major stakeholders had gone on record accepting the report as seminal. “We will be adopting the recommendations of the Quintano Report, we will be updating the Structure Plan for the Environment and Development (SPED), we have published a Rural Policy for consultation and we are working in the direction of sustainability,” listed Minister Farrugia. These four elements, in themselves, should provide an excellent basis for an overhaul in the construction industry, but they were not enough for Minister Farrugia. Conscious of the moans of those whose eyes water at the sight of crudely designed buildings, the minister said that work is at an advanced stage on the compilation of a policy on aesthetics. “We are also planning on giving financial assistance and incentives to those who design development which is more sensitive and pleasing. We have, indeed, already implemented incentives for those who green their façades,” said Minster Farrugia. There is a caveat: comprehensive development will become mandatory. With laws of inheritance in Malta following the Mediterranean rather than the Nordic legal concepts, land fragmentation has not only affected agriculture but, nowadays, also construction. The minister was adamant that comprehensive construction is a way in which the discomfort caused by development in residential areas can be ring-fenced to a minimum number of months. “And we shall also be giving incentives for this to happen,” pointed out Minster Farrugia. Growing Malta

The rate of construction in Malta has accelerated exponentially over the past few years. This has brought several beneficial spin-offs but also, inevitably, some challenges. A major challenge has been the disposal of construction waste. “We cannot keep on digging holes and re-filling them with construction waste,” said Minister Farrugia, referring to the current practice of the re-use of stone quarries as construction landfills. Looking to the future, the minister had a more creative solution: land reclamation. This solution has been successfully applied in various countries and with different end-products: from the residential model such as Dubai to the afforestation and nature conservation model such

j We will be adopting the

recommendations of the Quintano Report, we will be updating the Structure Plan for the Environment and Development (SPED), we have published a Rural Policy for consultation and we are working in the direction of sustainability


f

Through the

ECOHIVE

project, which is a stateof-the-art project and will be up and running by 2024/2025, we are going to have four new plants which will revolutionise the way waste is processed here in Malta. This is a

€500 million

investment by government, which will revolutionise the way we look at waste management as in the Netherlands. With a gleam in his eye, the minister said that land reclamation, with the appropriate studies and due respect to environmental issues can be the solution for the disposal of construction waste. He said that the reclaimed land need not be simply residential development but can also be key to providing greener environments for recreation. State of the art waste management

The challenge of waste management is not restricted to construction waste. In a densely populated and affluent country like Malta, it is hardly surprising that a high volume of waste is generated. “This challenge we have faced and we are now in the process of transforming waste into a resource,” said Minister Farrugia. One of the first projects Farrugia announced when he was made minister a few months ago was the ambitious ECOHIVE project which is set to revolutionise the way the country approaches and manages waste. “Through the ECOHIVE project, which is a state-of-the-art project and will be up and running by 2024/2025, we are going to have four new plants which will revolutionise the way waste is processed here in Malta. This is a €500 million investment


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by government, which will revolutionise the way we look at waste management,” declared Minister Farrugia. One plant will be a waste-to-energy plant converting waste to energy. Another plant will transform organic waste to compost. A third plant will involve material recovery to recycling and finally, a fourth plant for medical waste incineration. Even where commercial waste is involved, Minister Farrugia was adamant on separation. This is a 10 year waste management plan which would put Malta on the forefront of waste management capabilities. Away from single use

On the same vein of waste generation, Minister Farrugia pointed out that Malta was one of the first countries to move away from single use plastics. He said that in January 2021, Malta banned the importation of a large number of single-use plastic objects. The commercial sector had been advised, indeed, noted the minister, had been fully on board. He observed that in this issue, the industrial and commercial sector had clarity, both of target and of the way the target would be achieved “…and they were on board. They were also given a year’s time to be able to adapt and exhaust their current supplies. In January 2022, there will now be a ban on sale of single use plastics,” said Minister Farrugia. This was a brave step but one which seems to have paid off handsomely. #ClimateOn

Waste is not always tangible. It can also be rather more difficult to grasp. In this category falls the thorny issue of emissions. Malta is aiming at meeting its carbon emissions reduction target of 19% by 2055. Minister Farrugia noted that of all the emission types which Malta has to deal with, those caused by transport top the chart both in volume and in damage. This is a difficult conundrum. In a tiny island, everyone over the age of 18 seems to be wedded to their car even for the most minor of distances. This makes the challenge that much harder. “With the EU’s recovery and resilience plan now approved by parliament we can now plan ahead. We are planning to electrify 65,000 vehicles by 2030. This includes all the cars owned by all government entities as well as the start of an incentive scheme which will give the beneficiary up to €9,000 in grants to change from fossil fuel to electric car,” said Minister Farrugia. He added that currently there is a public consultation process underway to determine the optimum cut-off date for the importation of ICE (fossil fuel) vehicles. Towards a more innovative lifestyle

The second major culprit in emissions is the construction industry. Again, Minister Farrugia insisted on the use of incentives, adding with a smile his belief that the carrot always works better than the stick. He added that the costings on the plan have already been carried out and the targets mapped. To achieve these targets, Minister Farrugia is proposing a focus on renewables in the industry, such as the use of solar power, offshore wind installations and hydrogen among others. “Malta has committed to also move towards the EU’s collective efforts of climate neutrality by 2050,” said Minister Farrugia. Indeed the same ambition is also embedded in Malta’s post-pandemic economic vision and incentives. This change calls for a paradigm shift towards policy-making, which centres around intelligent development principles. And within this line of thought, said the minister, Malta will fulfil its commitment though the adoption of the Low Carbon Development Strategy (LCDS). Furthermore, it calls for further public awareness and education to facilitate this transaction. “ ‘Turn On the Power for Change’, the #ClimateOn campaign aims at changing the general public’s habits towards a more innovative way of life,” smiled Minister Farrugia in conclusion. n

j With the EU’s recovery

and resilience plan now approved by parliament we can now plan ahead. We are planning to electrify

65,000 vehicles by 2030


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Networking

The key to success Using the word ‘indomitable’ when referring to Minister Miriam Dalli may be something of an understatement. Showcase Dubai caught up with the Minister for Energy, Enterprise and Sustainable Development and she gave us a breath-taking sweep of the initiatives which her portfolio is responsible for.

“Despite the fraught Covid-19 Pandemic times, the Government of Malta didn’t hold back from increasing opportunities for entrepreneurs who are just starting out. Rather, we have increased initiatives by recently launching Start in Malta,” said Minister Miriam Dalli as an opening gambit. This directness is part of her modus operandi, in interviews as well as in the management of her portfolio. With Start in Malta as its platform, Malta Enterprise, one of the main drivers which Minister Dalli has at her disposal, launched three main initiatives. Business Start is a scheme offering seed-and-growth funding to small start-ups having an innovative idea, a “light-bulb moment”, where feasible. Start Up Finance is a repayable advance structure, supporting business ideas with good potential, which are based on a sound business plans and market studies. Business Development covers financial aid, depending on how much the business contributes to the economy. This would support entrepreneurs at the initial stages of various activities, such as the initial development phase of undertaking’s establishment of activities, and the re-engineering of business processes. Sustainable growth

Minister Dalli is not one to get carried away with entrepreneurial zest. She is equally mindful of the sustainability aspect of her portfolio. “Sustainability is key to economic growth. We are working hard to ingrain sustainable development in all our policies and in everything we do because we strongly believe that this is the only way forward to ensure our competitiveness,” emphasised the minister. Among the platforms which entrepreneurs can use is the Eco-Friendly Retail Investment Grant. This supports the retail value chain in investing in in-store solutions which allow reusable containers, and in related investments required to reduce the use of single-use plastic. Another scheme is the Investment Aid for Energy Efficiency Projects. Malta Enterprise, in collaboration with the Energy and Water Agency, is supporting undertakings in investments leading to improved energy-efficiency. The aid awarded through this measure is in the form of a cash grant or a tax credit or a combination of both. The Change to Grow 202I, is an innovative scheme where Malta Enterprise is funding consultation programs for companies to renew their business models and be more competitive. Self-employed and micro enterprises can now also apply as the criteria have been widened. Malta Enterprise has also recently announced that it will start paying One-Time Grant aid to eligible companies.

j Sustainability is key to

economic growth. We are working hard to ingrain sustainable development in all our policies and in everything we do because we strongly believe that this is the only way forward to ensure our competitiveness.


Connecting Cultures

The world Expo in Dubai is aimed at exploring aspects such as ‘Opportunity, Mobility and Sustainability’, challenges which the whole world, including Malta, is coming to grips with. This Expo, observed Minister Dalli, will give Maltese companies, businesses and entities the unique opportunity to explore this multi-cultural gathering that fuses together various elements. “Malta’s theme ‘Connecting Cultures, Generating Opportunities’ looks at a number of elements that Malta holds close to its heart, such as the country’s history and the journey up to where we are today, together with the opportunities that Malta has created to enable it to move forward as a Republic,” said Minister Dalli. “Besides showcasing Maltese Culture, the Expo gives us that extra push for the tourism sector, since it began to flourish once more following the initial impact of coronavirus,” observed Minister Dalli. Events such as the Expo help immeasurably for businesses to obtain contracts, deals, partnerships, and, consequently, sales. The navel of the world

Not for nothing is Malta referred to as the omphalos of the world. Strategically located at the centre of the Mediterranean, it is midway between mainland Europe and Africa, with international flights to major airports the world over. Malta has a highly qualified workforce, and the standard of education is very high. Since one of the two official languages is English, this makes communication with the rest of the world much easier. Notwithstanding this, there is a multilingual workforce available. A business based in Malta would automatically benefit from the sound local banking system, free trade agreements between member countries, a common currency, and a ready market. A showcase of strengths

Minister Dalli said that the Malta Pavilion will showcase the business strengths of the Maltese industry and culture that should attract visitors to the Expo to visit Malta. “Networking is key. We are aiming to organise a number of meetings between the business delegations from various countries, in collaboration with the other country pavilions we also want to host seminars, talks and workshops as part of our programme of activities throughout the six months of Expo,” clarified Minister Dalli. In the telecommunications sector Malta remains well connected when it comes to internet access and all-purpose telecoms solutions. With a robust legal framework, political stability and a secure country, it pays to do business in Malta. As an EU member state, it attracts business in the Euro-Mediterranean region. It provides a highly qualified and flexible workforce and a proactive business environment making it the ideal location for foreign direct investment and international trade. n


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Malta Enterprise

Malta: we are open for business For Malta Enterprise CEO Kurt Farrugia, it is always business o’clock where Malta is concerned. Speaking to Showcase Dubai in an exclusive interview, Mr Farrugia emphasised that showcasing the country is an on-going exercise both physically and digitally. He underscores not only the enviable political stability of the island but also other advantages which the country offers. Malta Enterprise is showcasing the major economic activities in Malta as well as Malta as a place to do business.

A

t a time when keeping your distance is perhaps the safest maxim, we seem to forget that physical networking is still valid in a digital age. While one may accomplish much through virtual meetings, in the context of connecting international cultures nothing beats the human touch. In this way, an Expo serves the global community in a multitude of sectors: tourism, education, doing business or whatever the case may be.

An established rapport

As Mr Farrugia pointed out, Malta and Dubai have a well-established rapport. Current data with regards to imports/exports between Malta and the UAE shows a wide spectrum of trade sectors. Imports into Malta at 2020 stood at €27 million while exports to the UAE stood at €36 million with transactions focussing on services, and food exports from Maltese based companies into UAE, which also provide service beyond the region.


Dubai is a bustling city highly contributing to the diverse economy of the UAE which, like other countries in the Gulf Cooperation Council, is focusing on diversifying the economy. This provides for opportunities, bringing business connections closer on various industrial sectors. Malta Enterprise, said Mr Farrugia, maintains its constant efforts in the region whilst also collaborating with Malta’s diplomatic presence. In this way it can identify potential business opportunities on various levels. “The region is adapting to new business models and operations and Malta does offer an interesting proposition especially in the emerging sectors and new areas of tech, as well as sharing of expertise and joint collaboration projects,” said Mr Farrugia. Spotlight: Malta

f

“Malta is open for business and Malta Enterprise is the key facilitator to do business in Malta, as it offers financial and fiscal incentives as well as guidance throughout. Also, the political and economic stability of Malta and its economy is enviable”

Malta Enterprise is a major contributor to Malta’s presence at the Dubai Expo as it brings together all the financial and human resources required. “Malta is open for business and Malta Enterprise is the key facilitator to do business in Malta, as it offers financial and fiscal incentives as well as guidance throughout. Also, the political and economic stability of Malta and its economy is enviable,” said Mr Farrugia. In a classic case of turning a limitation to an opportunity, Mr Farrugia pointed out that because of its size and its eclectic population, Malta is the ideal testing ground for products and services. Sustainability

In the Dubai Expo, Malta Enterprise is also placing a spotlight on sustainability as it dedicates major section in the Malta Pavilion to trade and investment. Sustainability, pointed out Mr Farrugia, is what places Malta in pole position for competitiveness and adaptability to change, especially in a post-covid scenario for achieving economic recovery. The section of trade and investment is a walkthrough section at the Pavilion. Here, investors and visitors may expect to become acquainted with the level of service they will receive from Malta Enterprise to assist them in doing business in Malta as a country in the European Union. The section shows off major assets such as the Schengen Zone, the Euro zone, the strategic geo-location in the heart of the Mediterranean and connected to Europe, Middle East and North Africa. It will also bring out the beauty of the country beyond the Malta Pavilion. Malta’s participation is aimed at moving beyond perceptions enabling visitors to get a reality check of Malta. Meeting locals and government representatives at the pavilion will make it easier to get the required info and set the record straight. Thriving sectors

Malta will not be going to Dubai cap in hand. While always open for opportunities, Mr Farrugia was justifiably proud of Malta’s thriving economic sectors. Malta has over 250 Foreign Direct Investment operations in manufacturing ranging from the US, UK, Germany, India, Israel, Spain, Italy, Canada and more. Manufacturing companies have been established in Malta since the 1960s as Malta was opening up its economy as a newly minted state. Manufacturing activities range rubbers and plastics (Playmobil, Trelleborg, Toly), electronic components (ST Microelectronics, Carlo Gavazzi, MSC, Prominent Controls), automotive (Methode, Trelleborg, Hustchinson part of TOTAL group), aviation sector (Lufthansa, SR Technics), security and currency printing (Crane and De La Rue). As Mr Farrugia pointed out, products made in Malta feed into global supply chains and big brands such as Apple, Bosch, Audi and Chanel as well as the aviation sector such as Boeing and Airbus. In ICT and digital technologies Maltese products are equally varied: software technologies offered to various sectors such as health care, transport and communications such as drone operations; digital games with main players including 4A Games, Exient, Playmagic, NARC, Flying Squirrel and YouRun ltd. Most of these companies are hosted within the private sector as Malta accommodates various work arrangements for tech based industries. Malta has created various remote working


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locations and co-working spaces while Malta Enterprise also supports tech based companies at the Digital Hub in San Ġwann. In the vast realm of Life Sciences, Malta’s involvement ranges from manufacturing of pharmaceuticals and batch release (Aurobindo, Pharos), to medical devices (Baxter, Cardinal Health) and also manufacturing of medical cannabis for medicinal and research purposes. The majority of these activities are located at the industrial zone of Hal Far strategically located between the Freeport and the Airport. The Lab based spaces are at the Life Sciences Park in San Gwann, located cleverly next to the general hospital and the University of Malta. LSP shall also be expanding imminently to be able to host more companies. Malta is also an educational services hub in the Mediterranean with various global universities and colleges setting up their campuses in Malta. The latest addition is Barts Medical School, of Queen Mary University of London, which is based in Gozo. An ideal testing ground

The CEO of Malta Enterprise described Malta as “the ideal test bed to test your product and services.” He added that Malta Enterprise has recently launched the ‘Malta Drone Innovation Ecosystem – Built, Test, Train’ as Malta, he pointed out, is ideal to host drone activities whether it is to manufacture your drones, to test them or to provide training. “Our long hours of sunshine and stable climate provide for a constant space to drone operators,” smiled Mr Farrugia. Malta Enterprise recently also launched the startinmalta.com initiative, a national platform for start-ups, both local and foreign. This is a repository for all the information a potential business person would need when considering Malta as a business location. This includes the various financial incentives which highly innovative startups can access – up to €1.2 million in assistance for the startup, scale up and growth phases. “We already host a range of highly innovative startups in Malta ranging from fintech, cyber security, KYC/AML solutions, Medtech, digital games and others, coming from various countries such as US, Germany and Tunisia,” concluded Mr Farrugia with satisfaction. His eyes however, remain firmly fixed on the future. n For more information please contact Malta Enterprise - info@maltaenterprise.com

j “We already host

a range of highly innovative startups in Malta ranging from fintech, cyber security, KYC/AML solutions, Medtech, digital games and others, coming from various countries such as US, Germany and Tunisia”



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Indis Malta

Harmony and counterpoint in industrial property If one were to play a game of word association, ‘sustainability’ would hardly be the average response to the stimulus ‘industrial property’. And yet, when speaking to Showcase Dubai, INDIS Malta Chairman Dr Jean Pierre Attard quickly made that association. And, as the interview evolved, the logic was flawless: a sustainable environment makes for happy workers which makes for a profitable industry. Evolution

Previously operating as Malta Industrial Parks Ltd (MIP), INDIS Malta has evolved over time, now focusing more on its core vision: supporting investment. In its previous guise, its portfolio of properties comprised mainly factories used by the various niches within the traditional manufacturing industry, as well as two villages dedicated to local artisans. As Malta’s economic repertoire expanded, particularly with the opportunities afforded by accession into the European Union and the eurozone, the portfolio needed to change into a more flexible and dynamic one, a portfolio that would adapt as quickly to market needs as the market itself. Nowadays, INDIS Malta also provides other facilities that facilitate further growth in the newer industries, such as laboratories for the life sciences industry, hangars for the aviation clusters, as well as office type space for the ICT and other knowledge-intensive industries. Innovation

INDIS Malta’s support of investment comes through the continuous development and management of qualitative, sustainable, and industrial innovative property solutions. “While we are concerned with the present needs as we have to address the current shortages in industrial properties, our eyes are also firmly fixed on the future. Thus, besides ensuring we have the amount of space the country needs to keep developing and growing, we also want to provide it with the kind of development that caters for its future needs,” said Dr Attard. INDIS Malta, he added, has embarked on a number of projects aimed at ensuring that the necessary infrastructure is available. This innovative trend was the direct result of foreign direct investment requirements. Malta’s agility in servicing the needs of a fast-changing market enabled it to accommodate further growth for those who are already operating in the country and keep attracting new investment. This meant that more wealth and prosperity could be generated and, in turn, ploughed back into the burgeoning economy. To support this economic activity and facilitate further growth, INDIS Malta provided the infrastructure that private businesses operating in a variety of industries required. “In so doing, we had one major stumbling block to overcome: the lack of readily-available properties that investors could start operating from within a short period of time,” noted Dr Attard. This slowed down an enviable growth rate since investors wanted to hit the ground running without unnecessary delays.

j Nowadays, INDIS Malta

also provides other facilities that facilitate further growth in the newer industries, such as laboratories for the life sciences industry, hangars for the aviation clusters, as well as office type space for the ICT and other knowledgeintensive industries.


We are future-proofing the industrial property solutions Malta can offer to investors.

Ħal Far Industrial Estate

Gozo Innovation Hub

Planning for future needs

Ta’ Qali Artisan Village

Dr Attard described how INDIS Malta has, in this way, embarked on an ambitious infrastructural investment programme to address not only the current shortages, but also to plan ahead for the envisaged needs for the years to come. “In this way we are future-proofing the industrial property solutions Malta can offer to investors,” noted Dr Attard with satisfaction. The programme comprises a wide variety of projects, some of which are being developed from scratch, while others seek to upgrade and remodel existing facilities to current needs. Among others, the latter include the expansion of the Malta Life Sciences Park, the rebuilding of the Kordin Business Incubation Centre, as well as the rehabilitation of a former landfill and its eventual allocation for industrial and sports facilities. This upgrade is, however, nowhere more evident than the Ta’ Qali Artisan Village, an artisanal hub which has been regenerated from buildings dating back to the


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Mosta Technopark

war era, into modern facilities that provide a comfortable environment for a multitude of artisans to practice their trade, whilst at the same time welcoming visitors that are able to view them in action. As Dr Attard pointed out, in such a location the needs of the industry are of great importance but the appreciation of the work of the artisans is just as important. “It is a question of balancing harmony and counterpoint: the needs of the industry with the needs of the community,” smiled Dr Attard. Sustainability

To achieve such a fine balance, Dr Attard said that there must be one common underlying value. In this case: sustainability. INDIS Malta, he said, is striving to address the shortage of properties in a sustainable manner so that it strikes a balance between optimizing the space available, while respecting the environment and the communities that live and work within. The infrastructural investment programme initiated by INDIS Malta was based on studies which observed the type of industry currently based in Malta as well as other industries which were finding Malta attractive. Other factors which played a part included the demand for floor space in the various industries which was being anticipated for the coming years, and what type of properties are being requested. “In addition, it also incorporates several green initiatives, making the facilities more welcoming to the people who spend long hours working there as well as to the clients that visit them. In recognising the importance which the environment and surroundings play in our lives, we signalled an important notch by way of sustainability. Industry is ultimately made up of people and if the people are happy and comfortable, they will not seek to move out, making the use of space sustainable,” said Dr Attard. Green Initiatives

Investments in green initiatives are not only being made in new projects, said Dr Attard, but also where INDIS Malta can improve and enhance the living and working environment in existing facilities and common areas within the industrial estates. Such initiatives include the installation of green walls or green infrastructure, as well as general embellishment, green areas, and open spaces. Dr Attard said that these will be further complemented by other services that will be introduced within a number of industrial estates to further improve their users’ experience. This is planned to be carried out through the development of administration buildings, childcare centres, health and fitness facilities, and parking areas, among others. Dr Attard said that to minimize the impact of industrial use on the surrounding environment, wherever possible new facilities are being built on multiple levels. “This will help to accommodate more tenants without increasing the built-up footprint,” observed Dr Attard. This is also being applied to older facilities which for various reasons may be returned to INDIS Malta, and which are then upgraded or rebuilt in a more efficient manner as multi-level facilities, thereby further reducing the impact on the environment. n

j Industry is ultimately

made up of people and if the people are happy and comfortable, they will not seek to move out, making the use of space sustainable.


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TRADE MALTA

Fresh woods and pastures new

In an interview with Showcase Dubai, TradeMalta CEO Anton Buttigieg emphasizes that Malta has precise aims for its presence in the Dubai Expo. He details not only the services which TradeMalta offers but also the return on investment which participants in the Expo are likely to expect.

T

he interview with Anton Buttigieg was very much a ‘let’s do business’ affair. Clearly, He is a man with a mission, driving a team which follows the same aim: polite and courteous but focused and committed. “Malta is not new to Dubai and the Emirate is important because it is a regional hub,” explained Mr Buttigieg. Indeed, Malta already has connections in Dubai in the food and beverage sector and would like to expand its reach in professional services and manufacturing. He underlined that the Dubai Expo is an important event which will create opportunities to promote Malta and also particular companies. The Middle East is already a stomping ground for Maltese industry but there is much room for improvement and opportunity. “The main message we want to put across in the Expo is to showcase Malta’s capabilities and what we excel at,” said Mr Buttigieg, adding that this work was being carried out in strict collaboration with the Commissioner for the Expo. ‘We offer variety’

In spite of our small size, Mr Buttigieg observed that Malta offers a large variety of goods and services. He said that TradeMalta will promote companies which excel in specialized areas, from education to manufacture and any sector in between. The variety of goods and services, and the specializations which various industrialists have carved out for themselves in a highly competitive world market, will stand them in good stead in this Expo. Assistance given

TradeMalta assists companies which are based in Malta. This includes companies which are Malta-based and have significant operations in Malta. “There are various sectors which are eligible for assistance through TradeMalta and we encourage them to submit applications for participation so that we can be in a better position to help them,” said Mr Buttigieg. The assistance consists of a range of initiatives. From the partial refund of expenses incurred to exhibit in trade fairs, to the organization of trade missions,


“The main message we want to put across in the Expo is to showcase Malta’s capabilities and what we excel at” Anton Buttigieg


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Mr Buttigieg said that TradeMalta tries to cover all the bases in not only encouraging and facilitating participation in events such as the Expo, but also by providing means to create contacts, holding information sessions and advising on norms and customs. For example, Mr Buttigieg added that having a regional partner is a requirement in the Middle Eastern markets, and then, there are linguistic and cultural hurdles. He noted that small things, in different cultures may take on different significance: “Formal business attire is a requirement when doing business in the Middel East, for example,” smiled Mr Buttigieg, adding that such things are not to be taken for granted. Apart from services such as the introduction between potential trade partners, TradeMalta also encourages industrialists to keep in touch: “it normally takes 18-24 months for results to show,” cautioned Mr Buttigieg, adding however, that constant follow up will bear fruit. Explorative missions

The trade missions carried out by TradeMalta cover a broad spectrum in an effort to enable as many sectors as possible to explore the possibilities of doing business. “We have had instances where we organized sector specific missions, but, due to the large number of micro sectors we have in our economy, we prefer to organize multi-sectorial missions,” said Mr Buttigieg. An important aspect of these missions is the work TradeMalta does in guiding the government to look at hitherto unexplored markets and open doors for the country to the possibility of trade there. “Currently we are in the process of opening diplomatic links with Ethiopia, in addition to the existing High Commission in Ghana. Now the Dubai Expo in these cases is important because Dubai provides for these companies an important regional hub,” explained Mr Buttigieg. In opening these diplomatic relations, Maltese businesspeople can be assured of safer verification methods and security for their business plans. A shared journey

For TradeMalta, explained its CEO, an event such as the Dubai Expo, provides the opportunity of a journey with the various companies. This is a journey into new markets with a confidence that such trust and confidence can yield substantial added value not only to the economy, but also to the individual industrialists who participate. This ties in completely with the pro-client mentality adopted by the organization. TradeMalta is a public-private partnership between government and the Malta Chamber. Asked about success, Mr Buttigieg promptly replied “Success for TradeMalta relies on sound business principles of putting clients first.” Libya

While, as Mr Buttigieg explained, Libya is a market on its own, it is an upcoming priority and an important neighbouring market. He observed that stability is setting in in the country and this is very important news for Malta. “Not only do we need to make sure that we get our foot in that market as early as possible, but we must also remember that the business links with Libya go a long way back.” He recalled the revolution in Libya which ousted Col. Ghaddafi was a blow to many Maltese who had substantial investment in that country. “For Malta, the normalization of Libya is very good news.” n For further assistance and information kindly contact Mr Anton Buttigieg, CEO, anton.buttigieg@trademalta.org

“Success for TradeMalta relies on sound business principles of putting clients first.”


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TECH.MT

Malta Leading the Way in the Tech Sphere

Tech.mt CEO Dana Farrugia is very confident that Malta will be able to service any digital demands which arise out of the Dubai Expo. In an interview with Showcase Dubai, Ms Farrugia is the embodiment of a country and a culture open to ideas and trade – an ally of choice in a strategic geo-political location. “Although Malta is the smallest EU member state, its location makes it very attractive to foreign investors.” This was the opening gambit which Dana Farrugia, CEO of Tech.mt chose for this interview. Indeed, as she explained, the geo-political location for Malta is the gift which keeps on giving over the centuries. The reasons may change but the central Mediterranean position and EU membership render Malta as very attractive in the eyes


of potential digital investors, particularly after Brexit. Ms Farrugia said that, coupled with these benefits, the Maltese workforce is also very fluent in English making the country an accessible and vibrant economic hub. “The economy has proved to be resilient and the financial sector robust. Malta has ranked 5th in the Digital Economy and Society Index (DESI) 2020 and 29th globally in Global FDI Country Attractiveness Index 2020,” observed Ms Farrugia. She added that political stability and robust legislation in technological matters also help. Ms Farrugia cited cryptocurrencies as an example. “The regulation with regards to blockchain has been conservative to ensure a good legislative framework,” said Ms Farrugia. Innovative approaches

Not all aspects of the COVID pandemic were forgettable. One of the more positive aspects is the rise of the Digital Nomad. Smelling out an opportunity, Tech.mt worked with other government enterprises to create a Digital Nomad Visa. This provides the entrepreneur with a year’s gateway into Malta without having to officially set up shop in Malta. Ms Farrugia said that this has made Malta very attractive in the eyes of the digital nomads. “Together with the Malta Digital Nomad Association - NomadIsland. org, Tech.mt launched a campaign to discover what digital nomads think about Malta. Testimonials show that they would gladly recommend Malta as a place to relocate, attracting successful business in the technology sector,” said Ms Farrugia. If a company then decides to settle in Malta, or make Malta its base, it can count on high quality graduates. “Malta’s accessible economic environment and tax incentives demonstrate a flexible working setting. It offers numerous benefits to foreign investors who are searching for an attractive and reliable business environment. Current investors are confident about their future business potential on the island,” noted Tech.mt CEO. Savvy digital savants

With a student population which is increasingly turning to further and higher education, Malta’s workforce is becoming not only increasingly literate but also more digitally savvy. Also, the country manages to retain the services of 95% of its graduates, which is a clear demonstration of the attractiveness of the country in the eyes of its youths. In 2019, the proportion of ICT specialists in employment for Malta was 4.6% which is 0.6% higher than the EU average of 3.9%. The previously quoted DESI analysis noted that almost 60% of Malta’s population have at least basic software skills. “Recently Tech.mt spearheaded a cooperation agreement signed between University of Malta and eight Italian universities. This initiative highlights the importance of mutual co-operation by creating employment networks for graduates, collaboration by way of joint studies, research, training activities and educational exchanges of mutual interest, between University of Malta and each respective university in various fields of related to technology,” said Ms Farrugia. Tech.mt, she emphasised, aims to fulfil its mission to bridge the gap between academia and industry, to ensure that the educational system keeps producing high-quality individuals across industry verticals. In this way it will meet the demand required to keep the local tech sector flourishing.

j Testimonials show

that they would gladly recommend Malta as a place to relocate, attracting successful business in the technology sector

High scores

This is not just wishful thinking, the results which Malta has achieved in the European Innovations Scoreboard 2021 are impressive. Malta’s strengths in this report are mainly in three areas: environmental sustainability, the use of information technologies and the Human Resources area – specifically within the indicator measuring new doctorate graduates. Environmental sustainability looks at improvements aimed at reducing the negative impact on the environment. This cohort assesses three indicators: resource productivity, exposure to air pollution by fine particulates PM2.5, and the development of environment-related technologies. Malta was the best overall performer among the EU member states in this area, with the highest rate of performance increase (57.9%). This, in spite of the fact that overall, the performance between 2014 and 2021 has increased across the majority of the Member States. In the Use of Information technologies, enterprises are actively increasing the ICT skills of their personnel and employed ICT


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specialists. According to the report, one of the highest rates of performance increase is observed in Malta (51.5%) as it ranked 2nd overall amongst 23 Member States between 2014 and 2021. In the field of Human Resources three indicators measure the availability of a high-skilled and educated workforce. Performance has strongly increased for Malta, with respective steady increases in both 2018 and 2019. Malta ranks 3rd from 21 member states (30.9%) as a high performer between 2014 and 2021. The three pillars

Tech.mt CEO Dana Farrugia outlined three main areas which are crucial to whoever wants to invest in Malta as a digital hub. With the country in pole position in the international tech world and 4G and 5G available with almost total coverage, the connected lifestyle is easy. Couple this with an energetic population and the result is increased cost-effectiveness. Ms Farrugia added that legislation is also very similar to that of major international jurisdictions such as the EU and the US, so adaptation is not onerous or laborious. Salaries in Malta are also quite competitive as well as rendering a high-quality workforce. While banks in Malta remain risk averse, posing a hurdle to tech companies, a solution has been found. When a tech company seeks financing for a product, the stamp of approval by the digital regulator would mean that the banks would be assured of the viability of the product. Tech.mt also acts as a go-between in these cases and Malta Enterprise also has alternative financial resources. Looking ahead

A rising star on the horizon of opportunity is the Arts sector. Take NFTs for instance. Ms Farrugia said that this area is new and ripe for development. To be very simplistic, NFTs are the digital version of copyright and enable the artists, whatever the genre of art, to not only ensure that they monetise their creation but that they get paid each time their creation is used. Artificial Intelligence is another. Ms Farrugia added: “A Strategy and Vision for Artificial Intelligence in Malta 2030, aims to map the path for Malta to gain a strategic competitive advantage in the global economy as a leader in the AI field. The vision is for Malta to become the “Ultimate AI Launchpad”, a place in which local and foreign companies, and entrepreneurs, can develop, prototype, test and scale AI, and ultimately showcase the value of their innovations across an entire nation primed for adoption. The ambition is to create the conditions for AI to springboard from Malta to the rest of the world.” Mutual cooperation between Malta and Dubai can potentially be explored through trade in services, and the provision of expertise, skills, and training in those areas where both countries require mutual support. “Companies in Dubai operating in Technology may benefit from the opportunity to promote new investment opportunities that will arise for businesses in Malta. Extending their international operations to the Maltese jurisdiction means that such companies can also access other European markets,” concluded the CEO of Tech.mt n For further assistance kindly contact Ms Dana Farrugia on techmt.contact@Tech.mt Phone: +356 22262100 Facebook: @Tech.mtMalta Instagram: @Tech.mtmalta Linkdin: linkedin.com/company/tech-mt

j The economy has proved to be resilient and the financial sector robust. Malta has ranked

5th 29th in the Digital Economy and Society Index (DESI) 2020 and

globally in Global FDI Country Attractiveness Index 2020



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FinanceMalta

Easy to do business with Malta As the world economy is gearing up to go again after a pandemic that brought it to its knees, Malta has set itself in pole position to reap the benefits of a well-managed, Covid-19 situation, a thorough and successful vaccination program and the very solid basis of a vibrant and dynamic economy. Showcase Dubai tapped into the thought processes of FinanceMalta’s Chairman Rudolph Psaila.

M

alta plays host to one of the most dynamic and globally connected international finance centres, which is gaining a reputation as an incubator for innovation. “The depth and breadth of Malta’s financial sector along with its world-class products and services is what gives Malta the competitive edge over other jurisdictions,” observed Mr Rudolph Psaila, Chairman of FinanceMalta. Describing Malta as a transparent international business partner, he said that the country offers investors a diverse portfolio of high-quality and well-regulated services for funds, insurance, securitisation, trusts and foundations, banking and financial institutions, payments, maritime and aviation management services.

Best performing economy

Rated as one of Europe’s best performing and one of the fastest growing economies in the world, Malta has seen steady GDP growth in excess of 5% per annum in recent years. Mr Psaila pointed out that for a small island nation, Malta’s economy is surprisingly diverse. Financial services, tourism, iGaming, maritime and aviation services and high value manufacturing are among the sectors that form the basis of the economy. “Malta has one financial services regulator, the Malta Financial Services Authority (MFSA), which means companies can benefit from reduced bureaucracy and more streamlined processes,” said Mr Psaila. He described the MFSA as ‘serious yet approachable’, adding that, from his point of view, the MFSA strives to ensure that rules allow innovation without ever compromising the highest standards of consumer protection. Malta’s financial services legislation is tried and tested and in line with EU law. It also received the stamp of approval from global institutions such as the OECD and the IMF, while the island’s economy has been given a clean bill of health by all major rating agencies. Access to the EU

Malta’s EU membership provides companies with access to the European Union’s massive internal market of over 500 million people, but, commented Mr Psaila, “…the island’s connections go far beyond that, and Malta is an ideal jumping-off point for accessing the growing markets in Africa and the Middle East”. The international business community, he added, is strongly supported by an impressive selection of corporate service providers as well as accounting and auditing firms, ranging from the global ‘Big Four’ accountancy firms to small boutique practices. In addition, said Mr Psaila, a large number of law and

j The depth and

breadth of Malta’s financial sector along with its world-class products and services is what gives Malta the competitive edge over other jurisdictions


f

While the country’s dynamic and entrepreneurial attitude renders it frequently able to punch well above its weight, there is another aspect where small size is actually a benefit: it makes access to decision makers relatively easy.

consultancy firms operate on the island, providing new entrants with the right insight and guidance to make the most of the opportunities that Malta’s finance sector offers. Malta’s size may, at first glance, seem to provide big challenges. While the country’s dynamic and entrepreneurial attitude renders it frequently able to punch well above its weight, there is another aspect where small size is actually a benefit: it makes access to decision makers relatively easy. The MFSA, emphasised Mr Psaila, is approachable and open to meetings with international companies seeking to operate from Malta – a level of access that is rare in other financial centres. He also added, speed to market has been the key selling point of Malta’s financial centre for many years. International Brand Hub

“The rising status of Malta as an international financial services centre is reflected in the increasing number of international brands that operate from the island,” explained Mr Psaila. Companies such as HSBC, Aon, Mapfre, Munich Re, Citco, Alter Domus and Apex, he said, have been based in Malta for many years and are among the companies that continue to re-invest on the island. In addition, a number of Fortune 500 companies have set up operations here, including multinationals such as BMW, Citroën, Peugeot and Vodafone, continued Mr Psaila. According to the Chairman of FinanceMalta, one of the major factors for this international interest is connectivity. The Malta International Airport offers connections


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to almost every major city in Europe and to key destinations in North Africa and the Middle East, including direct flights to major finance and business centres such as London, Frankfurt, Paris, Dubai, Istanbul, Amsterdam and Madrid. Rated as one of the best small airports in the world, it is well equipped to meet the needs of business travellers. “Malta also has a thriving business aviation sector, including many private jet operators who are providing flexible travel alternatives to top-level executives,” pointed out Mr Psaila. Several taxation agreements

Further increasing Malta’s attractiveness, according to Mr Psaila, is a network of over 70 double tax treaties, which include most global and developing economies in the world. Malta’s main draw-card is the ease of doing business and the cost of operations on the island. Research has shown that Malta is generally 20 to 30% cheaper than other European centres, while a company’s start-up capital may last longer than it would in other European centres. Malta has one of the most advanced and competitive telecoms and data infrastructures in Europe. “Large investments in recent years have resulted in state-ofthe art networks with international connectivity. Companies can choose from a wide range of IT solutions providers to effectively manage their technology needs,” said Mr Psaila, noting that this makes for safe and speedy transactions. Malta has put in place a wide selection of innovative business structures that investors can choose depending on their needs. “A Malta limited liability company can be used for a variety of activities, including holding and trading, asset management and advisory, insurance, securitisation and family offices. In addition to this, Malta offers trusts, foundations, cell companies, as well as specialised securitisation and asset management vehicles,” explained Mr Psaila. World leader

Innovation has always been key to Malta's success and has led the charge in disruptive technology, creating the world's first regulatory framework for Distributed Ledger Technologies.“The country is now setting its sights on developing a robust regulatory framework for Artificial Intelligence, Internet of Things, quantum technology and big data,” said Mr Psaila. Start-ups, he added, especially those in fintech, find Malta a particularly attractive place due to the concentration of industry players, talent and suppliers on the island. While still remaining affordable, Malta offers the right conditions for tech companies to develop, launch and scale up their products. In a good place

Malta’s strong work-ethic and productivity level compares well with other European countries. Complementing a Mediterranean lifestyle, Maltese workers are known for their strong ambition and can-do attitude. Malta boasts one of the lowest crime rates in Europe, making it one of the safest and most enjoyable countries to live, work and invest. Despite welcoming two million tourists per year and being one of the most open international business centres, the island still exudes a remarkable family-friendly atmosphere. Malta’s workforce is well educated, ambitious and adaptable, with a wide range of specialisations on offer. A small cosmopolitan country, Malta offers an excellent standard of living with English as the lingua franca. “With a favourable business environment, a strong economy, EU membership, a skilled and dedicated workforce, good communications and a geographical position straddling the major trade routes, Malta offers businesses one of the most attractive allround packages available,” said Mr Psaila, in conclusion. n

j A Malta limited

liability company can be used for a variety of activities, including holding and trading, asset management and advisory, insurance, securitisation and family offices.




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VISITMALTA

Aiming for the “Happy to go again” tourist For the CEO of the Malta Tourism Authority, Johann Buttigieg, ‘acceptable is not acceptable’. Showcase Dubai caught up with this dynamic captain of industry who made it clear that average is not what he does. For Buttigieg, nothing short of excellent, of 5 star plus is considered as good enough in Malta’s tourism sector.

O

ne of the very first things which strikes you when speaking to Malta Tourism Authority (MTA) CEO Johann Buttigieg is the way he sees all things interlocking in one whole. Speaking of Malta’s participation in the Dubai Expo, Mr Buttigieg said that while this will expose Malta to a Middle Eastern Market, it will also be important because nomads would get an idea of what the country offers. Nomads today is not simply applied to itinerant agricultural workers. More frequently it means people who may live in different countries at will because they can take their work with them via digitization. “These people need to know that when they log out of their computer, they have places to go to, that they are safe, that the country has a lot to offer,” said Buttigieg. His words echo the same trend of though as other CEOs who spoke to Showcase Dubai, indicating that the strategy is a unified one aimed at uplifting quality and providing variety. Tourism in a pandemic

The Covid-19 pandemic spared no country and Malta was no exception. Mr Buttigieg noted that Malta is a very safe place in terms of contagion because of various factors. “We have one of the highest take-up rates of vaccination in the world, we have an excellent health care system, a general hospital which is one of the best in Europe, as a country we are very safe,” ticked off Mr Buttigieg. This is being recognized by travelers. Mr Buttigieg said that the projections made before Malta opened its doors to tourists in recent weeks undershot the mark considerably. “We were estimating airline capacity at 60% when in reality we are seeing an arrival capacity rate at 80-90%,” observed the MTA CEO. Connectivity

Malta, he said, has all the attributes to attract people to it: it is central, well linked in an established airline network and an excellent digital connectivity. Besides that, said Mr Buttigieg, placed almost right in the mid-point between the USA and the Middle East, Malta has an excellent vantage point to be able to do business with both “Almost the ideal place to close a business deal” smiled Mr Buttigieg. Malta, he said is also quick on the mark. When the pandemic struck, Malta was in the midst of a very populated tourism peak. Mr Buttigieg said that within 10 days approximately 100,000 people had been repatriated. “That’s almost 20% of the population of Malta and it’s no joke,” he observed. The central location and facilities which Malta offers make it not only responsive but also enhance its level of safety since emergencies can easily be catered for.

f We have one of the

highest take-up rates of vaccination in the world, we have an excellent health care system, a general hospital which is one of the best in Europe, as a country we are very safe.


f Malta, like anywhere else, has a carrying capacity: tourism carries both positive and negative impacts and the impacts on society and on the environment need to be taken into the equation seriously.

Recovery Plan

Covid-19 for Mr Buttigieg was a case where a challenge was turned into an opportunity. Malta has been talking about the need for quality tourism for many years but the transition from the current numbers to smaller, more lucrative tourism has remained elusive. The pandemic with its effective eradication of tourism, provided the ideal trigger for a new slate. While still in the consultation phase the recovery plan looks to decreasing numbers of tourists and increasing their quality. “Malta, like anywhere else, has a carrying capacity: tourism carries both positive and negative impacts and the impacts on society and on the environment need to be taken into the equation seriously,” argued Mr Buttigieg. He said that the only way to increase tourism’s contribution to the GDP would be to provide a greater value-added experience to the visitors to Malta. “It has to be a place where one would be happy to go again,” said Mr Buttigieg. He insisted that the strategy will be fewer numbers and greater quality. He elaborated that this does not simply mean 5 Star and more hotels. It means better quality product at all levels of the budget spectrum from the least expensive to the most luxurious, Mr Buttigieg insisted that the experience must be memorable. The road to the heart

If, as the saying goes, the road to the heart is through the stomach, then Malta has improved by leaps and bounds. “Malta is far removed from the days when restaurant fare was, almost uniformly, prawn cocktail followed by lasagna or steak. Our palate has refined over time and today we boast several Michlin rated restaurants. I assure you, I have tasted what commonly passes for street food from Michlin restaurants in Malta and the result is superb,” smiled Mr Buttigieg. Quality, he added, does not mean abjuring your roots but rather re-defining them to meet evolving standards. “This comes through ensuring that what is plated comes from high quality local produce. This means maintaining the integrity of the line from Farm to Fork,” insisted the MTA CEO.


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Sun, Sea and Standards

With its many beaches, Malta is as well known for its historical and cultural worth as it is for its sun and sand. Mr Buttigieg insisted that maintaining the beaches at an ‘acceptable’ level is not acceptable. The Blue Flags, he said were not obtained because the beaches were merely ‘acceptable’ and the MTA works hard at keeping the beaches free from abuse. One area where Mr Buttigieg is targeting is diving. Emphasising that the waters around the Maltese Islands are very clear, crystalline in some areas, Mr Buttigieg said that the MTA is now embarking on projects to provide more sites of interest underwater. Not simply content with the odd wreck or artificial reef, Mr Buttigieg said that the MTA is also planning on submerged artwork and artefacts “to attract persons who would like to see art in a different way,” said Mr Buttigieg. Malta’s Must-See places

Mr Buttigieg rarely hesitates in his answers, clearly a man who has considered conundrums from various angles. He was a bit gob-smacked however when asked to list just three must-see places in Malta. In the few seconds of silence which followed that question, you could see the struggle in trying to choose from a multitude of venues. Finally he chose: “St John’s Co-Cathedral for all the Baroque treasures hosed in one venue especially the Caravaggio and the priceless Flemish Tapestries. The Hypogeum which gives an indication of the high level of civilization which Malta had achieved in prehistoric times. The medieval Cittadella in Gozo as a living museum with top-notch restoration and re-use,” reasoned Mr Buttigieg, adding also that this choice was also highly personal. Freedom with caution

In a world that is slowly trying to get back to as near normality as possible, Mr Buttigieg said that the MTA has taken the optimistic routs but with caution. ‘Feel Free Again’ is the mantra which the MTA post-Covid marketing campaign is pushing. However, Mr Buttigieg said that this free feeling must be tampered with caution. “You can still feel free and enjoy the many amenities Malta has to offer such as beaches and restaurants, but you need to do this while observing the health protocols which are in place,” warned Mr Buttigieg, very conscious that the whole industry would suffer if a general laissez faire is allowed where health is concerned. This message is being pushed in not only the traditional way through the media but also digitally. He emphasized that the MTA is selecting its markets digitally and focusing on attracting tourist in areas where Malta has a direct air link to. “We are focusing on places within a 200km radius of an airport in which we operate,” observed Mr Buttigieg. And for the future?

Asked to look into his crystal ball and prognosticate what the future holds, Mr Buttigieg promptly replied “The harmonization of health protocols across the EU is of paramount importance.” He added that for tourism to be facilitated across the board, at least all EU states need to agree on what certification is acceptable when people have been vaccinated. In this case this would also mean a harmonization of standards for travelling. “People will not travel unless they feel safe neither will they travel if there are too many unknowns. In those cases, people will stay put,” warned Mr Buttigieg. He said that people need not only to know what is required of them but also what will happen to them if they get sick. “Unless we have a single methodology within the EU, people will not travel,” concluded Mr Buttigieg. n

j You can still feel free and

enjoy the many amenities Malta has to offer such as beaches and restaurants, but you need to do this while observing the health protocols which are in place.


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Heritage Malta

Shared Identities the future in the past For the CEO of Heritage Malta, the past is a foretelling. When Showcase Dubai caught up with Noel Zammit, he spoke with passion about the rich cultural past of the islands and the way they are being made accessible. ‘Look around with your eyes. Is there anything on earth which can stay or repel death? Death took me away from my palace, and, alas, neither doors nor bars could save me from it. I have become a pledge, carrying my past with me for my redemption, and that which I have achieved remains.’

T

he poignant epitaph on a young Muslim woman’s tombstone lamenting the impermanence of life rings true down the ages. Maimūnah, daughter of Hassān, son of ‘Ali al-Hudali, known as Ibn as-Susi was laid to rest on Thursday 16th day of the month of Sha’ban in the year 569 of the Islamic Calendar (21st of March 1174).

The Maimūnah Stone

Her intricately carved tombstone in the Kufic script, chiselled into the reverse of an upcycled ancient Roman slab of marble, is the only Islamic funerary stone in Malta of its period to be still intact in its original size and the only one which presents a date. The provenance of this singular artefact is shrouded in mystery. According to oral tradition, the tombstone was found in an area between Xewkija and Sannat on the Island on Gozo, which is still topographically referred to today as Ta’ Majmuna. However, the earliest reference to the stone is in a report by Count Ciantar in 1772, who saw it embedded in the Valletta courtyard of a local Antiquarian. In 1960 the Maimūnah stone was returned to Gozo, where it remains as the star exhibit in Heritage Malta’s Gozo Museum of Archaeology.

The Majmuna Stone


MUŻA

f

Malta’s strategic geographical position on the crossroads between Europe and Africa, its unique history as a melting pot of so many civilisations, its diverse hybrid culture and stable economic relations are principal keystones which have determined Malta’s geopolitical relevance as a European and Mediterranean island State over the ages.

Now, eight centuries after her demise, Maimūnah’s tombstone is leaving Maltese shores for the very first time on an ambassadorial mission back to its spiritual home. “Cultural heritage has always been a facilitator for dialogue, reconciliation, and for strengthening bilateral relations In this respect Maimūnah’s stele is a tangible symbol of the strong ties between Malta and the Arab world,” Noel Zammit, Heritage Malta CEO emphasises. It is an artefact charged with meaning, offering different interpretations based on one’s cultural baggage. It is for this reason that it should serve as an ambassador in such an international rendering and serves as a link for dialogue between cultures. INTANGIBLE HERITAGE

However, tangible cultural heritage is not the only point of contact. Language, food and ethnography present alternative ways of interpreting history in their role as intangible tools of cultural exchange. The Maltese language is the only official Semitic language in the European Union, another bridge of shared identities that make Malta a natural stepping stone and intermediary between Europe, North Africa, and the Middle East. As another intangible asset, Heritage Malta launched Taste History, a culinary experience, using food as the medium of dialogue and communication. This service goes beyond a simple tasting experience. The senses are used to express that which mere words cannot communicate. Finally, one cannot remove the experiential aspect of cultural heritage. Heritage Malta is at the forefront in positioning the Islands as a cultural destination. Heritage is not only promoted on its own merits but is also marketed as an outstanding location for conference travel, location shoots, corporate events, weddings, exhibitions, fine dining events, product launches, seminars, and fashion shows in one of Heritage Malta’s exclusive historical venues.


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Scuba diving near the ‘Liberator’

Taste History

STRATEGIC LOCATION

Ġgantija Temples

Malta’s strategic geographical position on the crossroads between Europe and Africa, its unique history as a melting pot of so many civilisations, its diverse hybrid culture and stable economic relations are principal keystones which have determined Malta’s geopolitical relevance as a European and Mediterranean island State over the ages. With a portfolio including neolithic temples, baroque auberges and palaces, catacombs, forts, and a maritime museum, Heritage Malta is ideally placed to host international organisations and meetings against a dramatic historical backdrop. The digitisation of the national collection, interpretation centres, education programmes targeted at children, temporary exhibitions, a fully-fledged publications department, in-house online masterclasses and webinars, documentaries, public lectures, interactive events, heritage trails, student and senior passports help to bring Malta’s vibrant heritage to life. Having notched up two decades of experience in the field, but tracing its origins back to 1903, and with extensive resources at its disposal, Heritage Malta is the expert to count on in the heritage sector. The agency’s services outreach includes cultural heritage and archaeological consultancy, archaeological monitoring, surveying and photogrammetry. With its exclusive venues, museum and sites, its taste history venture, its professional team of highly respected curators, architects, conservators, and restorers, Heritage Malta welcomes you to join the future in a spectacular past. n For further information, visit www.heritagemalta.org, www.tastehistory.org and www.exclusivevenues.org

j With its exclusive

venues, museum and sites, its taste history venture, its professional team of highly respected curators, architects, conservators, and restorers, Heritage Malta welcomes you to join the future in a spectacular past.



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TECH.MT

Malta – A Hive of Activity for International Business From artificial intelligence to fintech, the internet of things (IoT), and blockchain, Malta has emerged as the European technological hub of choice, leading the way forward in innovation and technology. Speaking to Showcase Dubai, Dana Farrugia, CEO at Tech.mt describes Malta as a shockless environment for investors, making it a very attractive option indeed. From the very start of the interview, Dana Farrugia, Tech.mt’s dynamic CEO makes it very clear: Malta is not just a good option, it is a great option for business. Even though it is a small island, Malta facilitates and ensures the benefit of being well connected to all European hubs with regular and short flights made available. “Tech.mt, the Government and other stakeholders are already doing a lot to ensure that the ecosystem remains competitive,” said Ms Farrugia, adding that Malta also provides economic potential, with a sustained rate of approximately 6% average annual GDP growth over the previous five years, access to the EU market, and one of the most business-friendly legal frameworks in the EU.

j Malta also provides economic

A perfect environment for growth

over the previous five years, access to the EU market, and one of the most business-friendly legal frameworks in the EU

Indeed, according to Ms Farrugia, Malta has created a perfect environment for growth. For enterprises, this implies favourable fiscal conditions and simplified licensing and cuttingedge infrastructure. Financial services, marine services, and tourism are all booming industries in Malta, but the technology industry, in particular, has found a secure and fruitful foundation. According to the digital-intensity index, 32% of companies in Malta are highly digitised (compared to 18% in the EU) and Maltese businesses outperform the EU average for the use of digital technologies. “Malta has excellent connection as well as a large bandwidth capacity. 5G connectivity has also begun, giving Malta an even more appealing area for testing new products and apps,” said Ms Farrugia. Malta ranks 5th in all the dimensions of the Digital Economy and Society Index: connectivity, human capital, use of internet services, integration of digital technology & digital public services (DESI 2020). A space to grow

Ms Farrugia listed several factors which render Malta the perfect choice. The corporate income tax rate for a company incorporated in Malta is 35%. However, the effective tax rate incurred by a registered foreign shareholder could be lowered significantly through several fiscal and employment schemes. “A few of the top benefits of investing in Malta include incentives and support measures by various government entities, investment and R&D tax credits, cash grants, physical space and designated areas for R&D and strong business support services,” said Ms Farrugia.

potential, with a sustained rate of approximately

6% average annual GDP growth


Another big plus point is that English is lingua franca in Malta and, since English language is the language of the Internet, thousands of digital nomads and other expats have relocated and are effectively running their own businesses or working for Maltese enterprises. A talented workforce

f

Tech.mt aims to provide a bidirectional communication channel between local and international academics, through which areas of collaboration can be found and integrated to form well-defined paths in which all academia can participate and benefit.

Malta is home to numerous talented people with a high level of dexterity. Around 95% of graduates remain in Malta to plough their talent and expertise back into the economy, observed Ms Farrugia. Local talent, in addition to the pool of global talent, “…may be depended on to deliver in any prospective endeavour,” noted Ms Farrugia. Malta ranks 23rd out of 132 countries in the 2020 Global Competitiveness Talent Report and the country has a strong track record of attracting and keeping talent, ranking 20th and 14th in the world, respectively. Malta, said Tech.mt CEO, has launched several initiatives to encourage the development of digital skills. In 2017, 74% of young people (16-19 years old) were reported as having higher levels of digital abilities than the EU average of 57%. Bridging the gap between academia and industry

With pride and determination in her voice, Dana Farrugia said that “Tech.mt aims to provide a bidirectional communication channel between local and international academics, through which areas of collaboration can be found and integrated to form well-defined paths in which all academia can participate and benefit”. She added that in such a role, Tech.mt would also be helping to build a bridge between academia and the world of industry, helping both to feed into each other. “Tech.mt and the University of Malta have signed a cooperation agreement with eight Italian Universities to enhance the benefits of students extending their studies within the technological and innovation sphere,” said Ms Farrugia. Beyond the traditional sources of funding

The potential presented by the future in the technology sector is vast. Innovation funding is one area that is thought to be crucial for Malta’s continued success in the digital and innovation environment. Traditional methods of funding for a new company initiative are judged unsuitable for the great majority of new ventures. This results in wasted chances for entrepreneurs, as well as for the economy, because start-ups that scale up and become established enterprises eventually contribute favourably to the country’s economic growth.


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A healthy ecosystem allows for a positive and virtuous cycle of economic development and progress, and angel investment is thought to be the foundation to accomplishing this for Malta. “As a result, we are presently reviewing the framework that governs angel investment in our local ecosystem, and we believe there is opportunity for improvement to develop this sector of our economy as a new niche market,” said Ms Farrugia. At the forefront of regulation

Tech.mt CEO said that local and foreign start-ups have taken root in Malta like nowhere else in the EU, drawn by competitive taxes and the country’s abundant natural attractions. Other technological expertise has also thrived in the country. “Malta became recognized for its blockchain endeavours, not by coincidence since the country was possibly the first and the most efficient in the world to establish a clear and appealing legal framework for this emerging technology,” asserted Ms Farrugia. Meanwhile, Artificial Intelligence has been very much in the government’s cross hairs with a national policy announced in October 2019, based on three strategic pillars: investment, start-ups and innovation, and adoption by both the public and private sectors. Malta was the first jurisdiction to develop a regulatory framework for DLTs. Malta became the first country in the world to develop a comprehensive legal framework for the regulation of cryptocurrency service providers and cryptocurrency initial offerings. Three separate pieces of legislation were introduced to safeguard investors and support growth of the tech industry: the setup of The Malta Digital Innovation Authority (MDIA) as regulator, the enactment of The Innovative Technology Arrangements and Services (ITAS) Act and The Virtual Financial Assets (VFA) Act which sets out the framework for Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs) and the regulatory regime for the provision of certain services in relation to virtual assets Tech.mt enhances potential

“The mission of Tech.mt revolves around the fundamental principle of enhancing Malta’s attractiveness for foreign direct investments as well as facilitating international business development and innovation,” said Ms Farrugia. She listed various ways in which Tech.mt helps potential investors: • Pointing the investor in the right direction to help the technology sector expand and thrive. Tech.mt is dedicated to assisting Maltabased technology firms in exporting their technologies, as well as establishing export sales channels for the technology industry. • Tech.mt is committed to providing Industry Connections to stimulate the local technology business by hosting events on key tech areas. This will offer businesses with an excellent opportunity to network, as well as a window of opportunity to make new connections. • Tech.mt acts as an intermediary to facilitate Internationalisation of connections to ensure excellent client relationship management through our personalised advisory services. • For the past year, Tech.mt has been working hard to attract venture capital and angel investment as an alternate source of funding for start-ups. Tech.mt will assist in applying and attaining the right funding in order to introduce new niches for possible consumer investment. In addition, it will bring together investment and the local start-up ecosystem. “Tech.mt strives to present Malta as a high-quality, creative, and tech-savvy country and promote Malta as a suitable location for foreign direct investment while also promoting local technological enterprises overseas,” concluded Ms Dana Farrugia. n

j Tech.mt strives to present

Malta as a high-quality, creative, and tech-savvy country and promote Malta as a suitable location for foreign direct investment while also promoting local technological enterprises overseas.

For further assistance contact Tech.mt on: Email: techmt.contact@tech.mt Phone: +356 22262100 Facebook: @Tech.mtMalta Instagram: @tech.mtmalta LinkdIn: linkedin.com/company/tech-mt


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HSBC

Helping businesses grow safely and sustainably Growth, Customers and Employees are the three main pillars on which HSBC Bank Malta is building its Safe Growth Strategy. Speaking to Showcase Dubai, Joyce Grech, Head of Commercial Banking, HSBC Bank Malta spoke of the plans which the Bank is putting in motion to enhance growth.

“O

ur Safe Growth strategy, is our transformative roadmap for the next leg of our journey, as HSBC continues to grow our business safely here in Malta. It encompasses 3 pillars: Growth, Our Customers and Our People,” said Ms Grech as she described the way in which HSBC Malta was planning to grow. The bank, she said, has a strong appetite to grow but no appetite for weak risk management. She added that the bank will continue sustaining a strong financial crime compliance culture throughout all its areas of operation. Ms Grech is a career banker and has been in her current position for the past two years. Her experience is as wide as it is deep and she is now leading a team of professional Relationship Managers. These deliver a wide range of tailored solutions and services to the Bank’s diverse business customers, supporting them locally and internationally. The relationship managers, in turn rely on the support of a team of product specialists in Trade and Payments and Cash Management. “I have had a varied career in banking having worked in the bank’s Trade Finance and Commercial Banking teams, the Retail area where I was Head of Customer Value Management, and most recently Risk where I was Chief Risk Officer,” explained Ms Grech with a smile. Restructuring appreciated by clients

Restructuring was the first task which Ms Grech undertook to ensure that the commercial banking division delivered the right solution to its customers. “This was carried out largely in Q2 20. In spite of these unprecedented times, with most of our colleagues working from home, we continued providing a seamless service to customers despite the fact that most of our people were working from home. I was very encouraged with the results of a customer survey we carried out at the end of last summer which showed that customers were satisfied with our level of service and support throughout the pandemic,” said Ms Grech, with justified pride in her team’s work. HSBC Group has just launched an updated purpose statement – Opening up a World of Opportunity. Ms Grech pointed out that HSBC is in Malta, and in over 64 countries across the globe, to use each country’s unique expertise, capabilities, breadth and perspectives to open up new kinds of opportunities for the customers, leveraging the bank’s unique strengths including its international footprint, Trade and Payments and cash management capabilities.


Thriving on challenges

“The pandemic has also shown that we can operate more effectively through better use of digital tools - we have focused on decreasing the use of manual payments such as cheques and supporting customers to migrate to more efficient and secure payment methods. We continued investing in HSBCnet, the world class internet banking portal which facilitates efficient international payments and working capital management. We introduced LiveChat and HSBCnet Get Rate Cross Currency and implemented new, more user friendly login pages,” Ms Grech enumerated as she ticked off the achievements of the bank in very difficult times. Meanwhile, the HSBC International Business Fund (HIBF) which ties in neatly with the Safe Growth Strategy has made available €250 million. The HSBC International Business Fund, explained Ms Grech, is perfectly aligned with the updated purpose statement. With offices in 64 countries and territories, HSBC is in a unique position to offer support to local businesses as they change their business model post-pandemic. “This Fund enables businesses to exploit international opportunities. So far, despite the pandemic, half the €250 million Fund has been taken up. We have seen some real success stories and are highly motivated when we see how local companies are achieving success internationally, thanks in part to our support” continued Ms Grech. Key role in trade finance

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We have strong ties with these organisations and regularly work on joint programmes to bring the best to our customers

HSBC plays a key role in international trade finance. Ms Grech explained that the bank’s strengths in providing global trade solutions allow clients to trade with confidence and finance their international business. “We also have the capability to support companies in analysing the trade cycle, understanding working capital requirements and strengthening customer and supplier networks around the world,” explained Ms Grech. She added that the bank was very excited earlier this year when HSBC Malta was named Market Leader for Trade Finance in Malta in Euromoney’s 2021 Trade Finance Survey. “This survey is based on customer feedback which makes it even more relevant for us. The same survey, of more than 11,000 businesses globally, also named HSBC as the world’s best trade finance service provider for a record fourth consecutive year,” recalled Ms Grech. But, with so many banks to choose from, why should a client choose HSBC Malta, asked Showcase Dubai. Ms Grech did not even blink, but she did smile and started ticking off the reasons. HSBC is a leading international bank which has leverage on global network for banking solutions. HSBC Malta has a professional, highly trained and experienced workforce, as well as access to Group resources particularly for any complex transactions/customer requirements. HSBC Malta has a fully-fledged service offering. The bank is a market leader on a digital commercial banking platform – HSBCnet. Finally, the Bank can handle both ends of transactions. Besides these benefits, HSBC Malta works very closely with the Malta Chamber and also Trade Malta. “We have strong ties with these organisations and regularly work on joint programmes to bring the best to our customers,” observed Ms Grech. The Dubai link

HSBC UAE is the Regional Headquarters of HSBC for the Middle East, North African and Turkey region (MENAT). Apart from its long rooted connections in the UAE and Dubai itself, HSBC UAE, is also a significant enabler of trade within the whole Middle East, North Africa and Turkey region. “Our colleagues in the UAE, provide ‘knowledge on the ground’, HSBC’s full Corporate Banking products and solutions suite and access to their comprehensive networks, with offices in Egypt, Turkey, Qatar, Oman, Kuwait, Bahrain and Algeria as well as access to Saudi Arabia through our Associate bank SABB, for the benefit of Maltese importers and exporters alike, whether they are trading in goods or services, or both,” noted Ms Grech. Strengthening the ‘corridors of trade’ with this country is beneficial for Malta, observed Ms Grech. Dubai with its various free zones is also a significant stock holding centre for imports/exports from the Far East to MENAT itself, and also to Europe. Many of the bank’s clients obtain delivery of goods, and arrange logistics, from Dubai for goods purchased in the Far East.


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Dan Howlett, Head of Commercial Banking at HSBC MENAT UAE well positioned for post COVID economic recovery

HSBC’s ambition is to establish itself as the global leader in Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) and has committed between USD 750 billion and USD 1 trillion to drive sustainable transitions for businesses all over the world

UAE’s recent regulatory changes set the tone for economic recovery and creates a positive environment for businesses to grow and jumpstarting its economic recovery after the pandemic. “What we have seen in the UAE is considerable progress in diversification of the economy through a number of initiatives, and regulatory changes to develop international business in a way that is easy across the whole Arab region,” says Dan Howlett, Head of Commercial Banking at HSBC MENAT. Significant regulatory changes

To some degree or other, facilitating, thereby increasing trade, will of course always benefit Malta’s economy. However, the opportunity lies when considering Dubai’s leading position in the MENAT region. According to Ms Grech, this combined with Malta’s geography, as well as its culture and infrastructure, ideally positions the bank, to act as a bridge between North Africa and Europe. “We can serve as a hub for Dubai business transitioning between MENAT and Europe, not just for physical trade in goods, but for services, such as financial services, corporate services etc. With a strong presence in both countries, we can help our clients to realise their ambitions and thrive,” expounded Ms Grech. “Business Plan for the planet”

Turning to the recently launched 'Business Plan for the Planet' Ms Grech said, “HSBC’s ambition is to establish itself as the global leader in Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) and has committed between USD 750 billion and USD 1 trillion to drive sustainable transitions for businesses all over the world. We believe that the challenges of climate change and sustainability can be met if businesses are part of the solution. Locally, we intend to play our part and support our customers in this journey, creating awareness about the importance of adopting a sustainable, low carbon business model.” She concluded by describing herself as ‘very encouraged’ that most customers are interested to find out how they can be part of the plan and how HSBC can help them get there through its sustainable finance solutions. n

An amendment to the Commercial Companies Law eliminates the requirement for firms outside of free zones to be majority owned by UAE nationals or their companies, thereby allowing for 100 percent foreign shareholding. This gives tremendous opportunities to foreign and local investors as it encourages foreign companies to come in and set up branches and be able to operate pretty much normally onshore. With its further shift away from commodities dependence towards services and innovation, the UAE is likely to offer an increasing number of opportunities for investors in healthcare, education, agri-tech and renewables. Growth in partnership with HSBC

The country’s technological agility, ability to adapt quickly and sustainable drive are in line with HSBC’s strategy to deliver the latest innovative financial services to its clients based on its outstanding digital capabilities and global network. UAE is a region that will continue to grow and HSBC is dedicated to opening up a world of opportunities for our customers. We are excited about the opportunities the UAE economic environment brings to businesses and how we can help businesses take their next step. Expo stimulus

The upcoming Expo 2020 Dubai, the Arab world’s largest global event, will be key to the repositioning of the economy, making it more visible on the global stage. We encourage Maltese businesses to visit HSBC at the UK Pavilion at the Dubai Expo and see how HSBC can help them take their business forward.



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ROCS

Solid as ROCS For the Director of ROCS Travel, Rachel Vella, being part of the Dubai Expo is like participating in a magical event. Speaking to Showcase Dubai, Ms Vella looks back with satisfaction at having been a pioneer in this market and sees the confluence of both countries as both natural and mutually beneficial.

“W

orld Expos are some of the oldest and largest international events on the planet, yet I must admit that I have never been as excited than this time round. My clear opinion on the matter is that if it’s happening in Dubai, then it’s bound to exceed all previous events of the sort and more importantly, every single expectation out there.” This was Ms Vella’s opening statement and she was clearly excited for her company and for her country to be part of this prestigious event. Ms Vella observed that Expo 2020 in Dubai will be a place where the world will truly come together. A total of 191 countries will participate in a festival which will inspire people by showcasing the best examples of collaboration, innovation and cooperation from around the world.

A place to love

Speaking as the Director of a prestigious travel enterprise, Ms Vella’s grasp of the tourism situation was impressive. She noted that with more than 12 million foreign visitors every year, Dubai is the Arab world’s premier tourist destination, “…and it’s a great place for an Asian vacation too,” she added. While Dubai conjures up visions of sun and sand dunes, Ms Vella emphatically pointed out that Dubai is about much more than year-round sun. “It’s the kind of place where one will be blown away in awe during every second of the trip. Gourmet restaurants range from the sushi at Blue Jade to the stunning Indian dishes at Amal. Every cuisine seems represented,” said Ms Vella. And for the more active there are desert adventures in 4x4 vehicles, golf, shopping for luxury goods, snowboarding (yes snow!) Dubai caters for everyone, explained Ms Vella.

j It’s the kind of

place where one will be blown away in awe during every second of the trip.

Emirates Airline Top Passenger Sales Agent Award 2014 L to R: Paul Fleri Soler – Emirates Airline Manager – Malta (March 1998 to date) Thierry Aucoc – Senior Vice President Commercial – Emirates Airline (September 2013 to date) Rachel J. Vella – Director, ROCS Group Charles Alexander Vella – Chairman, ROCS Group


MCCAA - Malta Competition and Consumer Affairs Authority - Top Award Best in Service in the Travel & Tourism Industry in Malta 2017 - 2020 L to R: Rachel J. Vella – Director, ROCS Group Ben Camille – Host, Servizz Bi Tbissma Awards Event

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If ever there was a year to visit Dubai, then that would be now

Brave venture

Ms Vella’s enthusiasm is more than justified, having been one of the very first to see the potential in tourism to and from Dubai. “It was 1998 when Emirates first landed in Malta. It was the first ever of its kind in terms of distance, capacity and aircraft size. At the time I used to host a popular television travelogue. So when Emirates came to Malta we met to discuss a possible joint collaboration which ROCS and Emirates could do together,” recalled Ms Vella. As in all beginnings, the road was hard and rocky: “At the time asking someone to travel to the Middle East on holiday was a huge taboo. Erroneously people’s outlook of the Middle East were the never ending conflicts in the region. Little did people know what the United Arab Emirates were, and neither did anyone actually know what the destination in question had to offer,” said Ms Vella. Through hard work, a great nose for business and excellent use of the media, Ms Vella and Emirates made a go of the destination: from a tentative first ever booking of 30 seats, the airline’s first tourist contingent from Malta was a whopping 200. “After some 3 slots, we had booked some 1000 people booked. The response from the locals was just so overwhelming,” smiled Ms Vella, clearly relishing the memory. A lot of water has since flown under that bridge and Dubai, for the Maltese, has become a bucket list destination: “If ever there was a year to visit Dubai, then that would be now,” said Ms Vella with conviction in her voice.


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Verve in the fibre of Dubai

In Ms Vella’s words, it is hard not to admire Dubai for its indefatigable verve, ambition and ability to dream up and realise projects that elsewhere would never get off the drawing board. This is a superlative-craving society that has birthed audaciously high buildings and palm-shaped islands. Sci-fi concepts such as flying taxis, a lightning-fast Hyperloop train and an army of robocops are all reflections of a mindset that fearlessly embraces the future. “With many more grand projects in the pipeline for World Expo 2020, it’s clear that Dubai is a city firmly in charge of writing its own narrative,” observed Ms Vella. As a top retail haunt that hosts not one but two huge annual shopping festivals, shopping is a leisure activity here, and malls are much more than just mere collections of exotic stores or traditional souqs. After dark, Dubai seems like a city filled with lotus eaters, forever on the lookout for a good time. Its shape-shifting party spectrum caters for just about every taste, budget and age group. “You will face two problems in Dubai: you will be spoilt for choice and you will need stamina to sample all Dubai has to offer,” smiled Ms Vella. Culturally dynamic

Rachel Vella pointed out that Dubai was the first Middle Eastern city to make the UNESCO list of creative cities of design. “Dubai is a bustling microcosm peacefully shared by cultures from all corners of the world. This diversity expresses itself in the culinary landscape, fashion, music and performance. Although rooted in Islamic tradition, this is an open society where it’s easy for newcomers and visitors to connect with myriad experiences, be it eating like a Bedouin, dancing on the beach, shopping for local art or riding a camel in the desert” pointed out Ms Vella. Dubai, she added, is a fertile environment conducive to breaking down cultural barriers and preconceptions. A solid connection

The Economic Update's Top Entrepreneur Awards – Rachel being awarded as Malta’s Top Entrepreneur L to R: Rachel J. Vella – Director ROCS Group John Formosa – Publisher Malta Economic Update Charles Borg – CEO of Bank of Valletta (2011- 2015)

j Dubai is a bustling

microcosm peacefully shared by cultures from all corners of the world. This diversity expresses itself in the culinary landscape, fashion, music and performance

Since the very start, some 23 years ago, ROCS Travel have been handling an average of 80% of all leisure travellers going to Dubai. Yes, each and every year for the past 23 years. “I proudly say that no one else in Malta knows Dubai like ROCS do. It is our second home. We have equally invested a lot of money in our travel team, in order to make sure that once a client opts to speak to ROCS about this fabulous destination, then the full team will be in a position to offer the complete enhanced experience” said Ms Vella. For the Dubai Expo, Ms Vella said that ROCS Travel are also the appointed agents of the event. “We are very proud of this and we have specific group departures with transfers going and coming to the event too. From corporate travel to guided tours, from independent travel to groups, conference and incentive handling, whatever it is, if it is Dubai, then ROCS is here to help all clients. We therefore look forward to being of service on the next trip to Dubai. We will not only guarantee the very best package prices in Malta to Dubai, yet we invite you to experience the award winning ROCS Travel service and the way we do it. Dubai in our eyes is not a place to be missed. We believe that moderation doesn’t suit us, and nor this destination. Our ethos is therefore to ‘Go Big, and then go home” said Ms. Vella, concluding with the customary Arab salutation ‘Ahlan wa Sahlan…Marhaban bikom’. n

Emirates Airline Top Passenger Sales Agent Award 2004-2006 L to R: Paul Fleri Soler – Emirates Airline Manager – Malta (March 1998 to date) Keith Longstaff - Senior Vice President Commercial – Emirates Airline (1983 to 2009) Rachel J. Vella – Director, ROCS Group Charles Alexander Vella – Chairman, ROCS Group

Emirates Airline Top Passenger Sales Agent Award – 20 years L to R: Paul Fleri Soler – Emirates Airline Manager – Malta (March 1998 to date) Rachel J. Vella – Director, ROCS Group


Bring excellence to what we do best Investing in port facilities in Malta’s Grand Harbour ensuring scale and reliability to local and international Maritime and Oil and Gas industries

mmh.com.mt


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DHALIA

The Time for Quality For everything there is a time prescribed and now, according the Dhalia CEO Alan Grima, is the time for quality. Showcase Dubai met up with the driving force behind one of Malta’s most prestigious real estate agents. He was emphatic that property in Malta is still a very solid investment and that the unique selling point has to be quality, both in terms of construction as well as in terms of quality of life.

I

n Norse mythology, the god Loki was considered as the great disruptor. If one were to believe in mythology, then Covid-19 must surely have been an agent of Loki. Alan Grima, CEO of the prestigious Dhalia Group, noted the huge impact which the pandemic had even on the unlikely market of real estate. A huge impact in every aspect of the commercial real estate market, was the way Mr Grima described it. Led by the dramatic impact on the tourism sector, which, for Malta, generates a great part of the economy, employees were increasingly encouraged to work from home. Before the pandemic, remote working was only for the select few, particularly in the tech industries such as in iGaming, digital advertising companies and FinTech. This shift, from working continuously, day in day out, from an office, to now working from a laptop/desktop at home, was a seismic shift. “It is set to change the island’s commercial property market in a variety of ways,” observed Mr Grima. Changing trends

The office sector, noted Mr Grima has changed over the past eighteen months or so. Many companies have realized that remote working actually works and they started to downsize their offices. He observed that the demand for office space is still there but it is changing its mien. Gone are the days of the large bustling corporate offices. In their stead, Mr Grima is observing a growth in serviced offices. This is particularly important for start-up businesses and those who take up the digital nomad lifestyle. Serviced offices provide common facilities such as reception and meeting rooms. Meanwhile, the smaller companies need to take up only as many rooms as is necessary. “Over the years, the improvements in connectivity infrastructure have come a long way,” explained Mr Grima. “Post Covid-19, although it might be too early to judge, might see a rise in this trend in which short/medium term office rentals will make an increasing amount of the market share which was previously only occupied by long-term lease commitments by many big brands”, said Mr Grima. The recent increase in serviced offices in Malta has been a great success. A number of providers have started to lease out large office and business centres for long periods of time. In turn, these are being sublet to smaller brands looking for short to medium-term solutions for their company offices. As Mr Grima observed, this is not only an important development for the end user of the offices but represents a huge opportunity for those who would like to invest in real estate development in Malta.


j Post Covid-19,

although it might be too early to judge, might see a rise in this trend in which short/ medium term office rentals will make an increasing amount of the market share which was previously only occupied by long-term lease commitments by many big brands


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The four tenets of Quality

Mr Grima was adamant, the demand for high-quality commercial and office space will increase. But, asked Showcase Dubai, what constitutes ‘high quality’, is it just about flashy floors and shiny elevators? That too, said Mr Grima but certainly not the most important. There are at least 4 tenets on which quality commercial property is based. Accessibility is paramount, explained Mr Grima. This ranges from the concept of equal access for all to that of parking. He added that a commercial property which leaves clients exasperated with traffic and parking concerns, fails on the count of accessibility. Then there is the concept of flexibility. Mr Grima explained that this means that the shell of the building is built to high specifications so that the internal partitioning can be re-modeled by the client at will. Infrastructure relates to services which the country offers ranging from roads and utilities to electronic and digital coverage. Finally, all these factors come together under the last tenet: affordability. Mr Grima was clear: ultimately, affordability is the crux of the matter and one cannot price property out of what the market can afford. A room with a view

One of the key effects left by Covid-19 was the appreciation for one’s home and for open spaces. Over the past two years, people have spent more time at home, alone or with their loved ones. As a result, this truly brought out the importance of how the home is the most important investment for the family. Following various lockdown periods, Mr Grima said that the property market evinced greater demand for houses in strategic locations with back gardens, terraces and/or views. “Spending more time at home, people will now start to look for a sense of the outdoors, in their own home,” said Mr Grima. Which begged the question from Showcase Malta: would a real estate company be more in favour of development or in favour of more green spaces? Mr Grima did not miss a beat: “We are fully in agreement of more green spaces. And if we go for land reclamation, this land should be devoted to green open spaces.” He explained further that this position is the obvious logical answer. “We are real estate businessmen. For us the property is important. If the property is devalued because development impinges on the quality of life it offers, then we cannot be in favour of that. We favour green spaces because those improve the quality of life and therefore the quality of the property,” continued Mr Grima. The Price of it all

While it might be too early to discuss the pandemic’s long-term effects, property in Malta has always been a solid investment. “We are seeing that, in general, property prices have actually stabilised since October 2019. This is good, a correction of the market. Next year we may even see a slight increase,” observed Mr Grima. Commercial property professionals are suggesting that landlords take a more active approach when it comes to their leasing strategies in order to make the most of the serviced office sector that is emerging in new sub-markets. This market, emphasized Mr Grima, is already gaining a lot of traction and it will surely increase as a result of the outbreak. “All in all, the commercial property market should jump at the first opportunity, not be constricted and reluctant to change and take advantage of this new chapter in Malta’s real estate market – and our experts are there to help,” concluded Mr Grima. n

j We are real estate

businessmen. For us the property is important. If the property is devalued because development impinges on the quality of life it offers, then we cannot be in favour of that. We favour green spaces because those improve the quality of life and therefore the quality of the property


Dear: Global Citizen, Remote Worker & Digital Nomad

From: Luca Arrigo Founder @ Negozju.com

Digital Nomad 2.0 | Why Decentralisation matters With the accelerating remote working movement & digital nomad lifestyle you can’t avoid concluding that the future is digital and global. In this event we will discuss how digital nomadism is already crossing the chasm into the mainstream & how Web 3.0 technology will lead to the Digital Nomad 2.0. We can expect the next wave of nomadism to encompass self sovereignty of identity & income. Enabled through Dapps, Defi & the blockchain metaverse. At this event, I’m aiming to bring together people who are both curious & knowledgeable about this niche. Share experience & knowledge about useful tools for nomads in the NFT space The state of cryptocurrencies Defining digital nomad 2.0 Why decentralisation matters Crypto banking The blockchain toolbox for nomads The metaverse Crypto Art The promise of web 3.0


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PUBLIC TRANSPORT

A whole new bus ride

In 1990, The Who wrote a song that rings true with many commuters. The Magic Bus speaks of a young lover who daily, catches the public transport to see his beloved. Those were the days. Indeed for today, while orderly queues are encouraged, commuters have electronic assistance on their side to ease the wait for public transport.

E

ssentially, the concept of public transport in Malta has remained the same: a bus takes you from A to B. That, however, is where the similarity with the public transport of the past ends. From bus stops which show you routes and directions, time-tables and safety tips to apps which help you plan the journey and see how far away the next bus is, from contactless card use for payment to actually booking a trip, the Malta Public Transport has taken commuting to a different level.

The bus stop and the bus

Every bus stop has a unique number and name which is displayed on the Bus Stop sign. This enables commuters to identify exactly their desired destination without confusion. Signs also indicate the routes that stop at that particular bus stop, meaning, for commuters, easier route planning. A printed schedule shows the timetables of the routes and some bus stops also have screens showing the final destinations of the next approaching buses and their expected arrival time. The screen at the front of the bus shows only the final destination and route number. Commuters, while encouraged to queue up in an orderly fashion, are also urged by Malta Public Transport not to stand too close to the edge of the pavement. If children are present, they should be supervised at all times. Signalling an approaching bus discretely is acceptable, running or crowding an approaching bus is not. The Malta Public Transport advises that while boarding, respect the queues and give priority to vulnerable people,


and board the bus from the front doors: the middle doors are for exiting only. Buses are equipped with easy access facilities for those with mobility issues. The Malta Public Transport insists on safety and is strict on Covid-19 restrictions on buses including the use of face masks at all times and tendering the exact fare to the driver if not making a contactless payment. The Bus Ticket

Here too, digitisation has improved the public transport experience. The ticket may be bought on the bus by paying the driver directly or through the use of a credit card effecting a contactless payment. The wiser version is the use of the Tallinja Card issued by Malta Public Transport. Once placed on the terminal, a green light confirms the transaction and the commuter can step past the driver’s cabin. Buses are equipped with free WIFI and all passengers may connect to it Tallinja App

One of the most helpful tools for the commuter is the Tallinja App. Easily downloadable, this app enables the commuter to plan the journey and to see when the next bus is coming. The app automatically pinpoints the location on the map, even with a zoom facility. This is the departure point. When the destination point is entered in the appropriate field, the commuter is offered options on how to reach that destination. Once the commuter chooses, the route will be visualised and all the commuter has to do is to accept the choice. This journey may also be set as favourite, particularly if the commuter plans to make this trip multiple times. Tallinja Card – a range of facilities

n

Easily downloadable, this app enables the commuter to plan the journey and to see where the next bus is coming from. The app automatically pinpoints the location on the map, even with a zoom facility.

A Tallinja Card allows users to make cashless payments on different modes of public transport and travel at reduced rates. Cardholders simply tap their cards on the reader while they are boarding, and the user’s account is credited accordingly. The cards are personalised and cannot be transferred to other passengers. There are five types of Tallinja Card depending on the users’ eligibility: the Adult Card, the Child Card, the Student Card, the Gozo Residents Card, the Concession Card. Users can benefit from discounted rates when paying with the Tallinja Card at Tallinja Bike Stations. The Concession Tallinja Card is available for Kartanzjan Holders, an holders of EU Disability Card with ‘MT’ mark issued by the Commissions for the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). Journey information is stored on the cardholders’ online account and the reader does not issue a physical ticket or receipt


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Registrations for a Tallinja Card can be made online and the Tallinja Card may be connected to the Tallinja App. The Tallinja Card can be topped up online, through the Tallinja App, at Malta Public Transport ticket offices and Malta Post branches, or over the phone. Apart from bus travel, the Tallinja Card can be used to pay for trips with other modes of land and sea travel such as cycling, the use of the Barrakka lift and the fast ferry service between Malta and Gozo operated by both Gozo Fast Ferry and Virtu Ferries Gozo. Payment is made while boarding the vessel or as instructed by the members of the crew. The Valletta Ferry Services crossing to and from Sliema and Cottonera also accept the Tallinja Card. Payment is made while boarding the vessel. Passengers who plan to use public transport frequently during a short period may avail themselves of a travel card that suits their needs. There are four non-personalised travel cards: the Explore Card, the Explore Plus Meep Card, the Explore Flex Card, and the 12 Day Journey Card. These offer varied facilities ranging from all-inclusive travel on day routes to discounted fares on all routes and services. Tallinja On Demand - booking a trip

Tallinja On Demand is a pre-booked transport service operating between various different bus stops across the allocated service area. Manged through the Tallinja App, users can select their preferred pick-up and drop-off bus stops at the required date and time, and the system schedules the trip. This service too, is available on the Tallinja App and the fares for this service are very reasonable. Once the booking is confirmed, passengers will be notified of the bus number picking them up and the system will remind them of the approaching vehicle at regular intervals. n For more information log on to https://www.publictransport.com.mt/

n Apart from bus travel, the

Tallinja Card can be used to pay for trips with other modes of land and sea travel such as cycling, the use of the Barrakka lift and the fast ferry service between Malta and Gozo operated by both Gozo Fast Ferry and Virtu Ferries Gozo.


fimbank.com FIMBank offers a wide range of trade finance solutions including the most complex supply chain structures in the domestic and international trade space. Supporting clients in this challenging environment requires more than just the standard trade finance offering. Through innovation and a strong commitment to successful execution, FIMBank structures bespoke trade finance solutions designed to support sustainable business growth.

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FIMBank p.l.c. is a licensed credit institution regulated by the Malta Financial Services Authority and is listed on the Malta Stock Exchange.


www.mdia.gov.mt


The Malta Digital Innovation Authority offers trust in the technology being used. Its certification programme ensures that the technology arrangement, such as Blockchain, Artificial Intelligence and Critical Systems, is working as it is meant to. This provides assurance in the developer, the investor and ultimately in the end-user. Moreover, MDIAʼs Technology Assurance Sandbox provides a safe environment where innovative technology solutions can be developed. Guidance is provided to digital start-ups and SMEs so that such solutions are in line according to international standards. Alignment in early phases proves to be cheaper than rectification in post-development stage, while the Sandbox offers a competitive edge.


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RESIDENCY Malta

Malta as a destination for investment migration and digital nomads Quality of life has become an issue worldwide, particularly after the Covid-19 pandemic has ravaged what had hitherto been quite a complacent lifestyle. Showcase Dubai caught up with Residency Malta’s CEO, Charles Mizzi. During the interview he emphasised that this is the right time to consider moving country.

T

here has never been a time when considering economic mobility was more justified. In the context of the pandemic, where movement across continents, countries and borders has been seriously stifled, many individuals and families across the world are considering their future options, both in terms of quality of life and family wealth. Indeed, many players in industry have reported increased interest, perhaps juxtaposed with the current challenges of restricted travel. “Should I invest in a second residency, to put my mind at rest and secure my family’s future? Should I have a Plan B for when things get challenging in my home country? Do I need visa access to the countries where my business is operating in? Do I need to consider countries with excellent health care systems, where my own country has baulked under the strain of the pandemic? These are the questions that many persons are now asking themselves,” observed Residency Malta’s CEO, Charles Mizzi. In his opinion, the answers lie in an assessment of the benefits that countries with residency programmes offer. “The questions you need to ask oneself should include: How will my quality of life improve? What educational opportunities exist for my children? If I fall ill, will I have peace of mind that I will be immediately well cared for? What are my business or start-up prospects?” he added. Malta: an attractive proposition

Mr Mizzi listed the main attractions which Malta has to offer. “We’re talking about one of the safest countries in the world, with a negligible crime rate. This should attract families who would like to spend their time in an environment where children run around freely with little supervision and young girls and women go out for early morning jogs, safe in the knowledge that no harm will come to them,” noted Mr Mizzi. Focussing on Covid-19, Mr Mizzi praised Malta’s health care system which rose to the occasion with an excellent performance when handling the rise of Covid cases. The country registered impressive vaccination statistics, dominating the EU tables. Health authorities gave daily public briefings and introduced general restrictions that helped mitigate the spread. It is no wonder, he added, that Malta ranks among the top for its health institutions.

j We’re talking

about one of the safest countries in the world, with a negligible crime rate.


Charles Mizzi - CEO Residency Malta Agency

f Investors and

entrepreneurs look for jurisdictions with strong economies, high regulation, government support and marked demand. Malta has all these elements while constantly garnering positive ratings from credit agencies and topping the EU charts for economic growth.

Living in Malta could be considered as much easier than in other countries. The Maltese, he said are a hospitable and welcoming people. A large expat community has ensured a multi-cultural ambience over the years. With English being an official language, people find it easy to communicate. The level of education is high with a large selection of both public and private schools. The 400-year-old University of Malta offers a wide variety of faculties and research institutes for both local and foreign students. Investors and entrepreneurs look for jurisdictions with strong economies, high regulation, government support and marked demand. Malta has all these elements while constantly garnering positive ratings from credit agencies and topping the EU charts for economic growth. “The cherry on the cake is the country’s mild climate with 300 days of sunshine a year and the proximity of things being a small Island state,” said Mr Mizzi. The Malta Permanent Residence Programme (MPRP)

The MPRP is a property-based residency-by-investment programme that gives beneficiaries the right to stay, settle and reside permanently in Malta. With options to purchase or lease property, and make a direct contribution to government, up to four generations may apply, making family relocation a possibility. Applicants must also make a donation to a local registered Non-Governmental Organisation. Mr Mizzi was keen on highlighting the process: “Managed by Residency Malta Agency, applicants must go through a four-tier due diligence exercise that ensures that only fit-and-proper individuals and families are given Maltese residence status. Applications are required to be submitted via a licensed agent, who will act on their behalf ”. Digital nomads

Among the multitude of changes it brought about, Covid-19 also gave the final blow to the concept of the traditional workplace. While remote working kicked in for many as a measure by employers to control cases at the office, the future bodes well for hybrid


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arrangements that give flexibility and improve work-life balance. So, with teleworking no longer the prerogative of the few, many will be seeing how to best exploit this newfound way of working remotely. “For those in the knowledge-based industries, working from one country while giving services to employers and clients based in other parts of the world is now even more doable,” said Mr Mizzi. Residency Malta Agency was quick to react to this trend and launched a new Nomad Residence Permit intended to give third country nationals the opportunity to work remotely from Malta for a temporary period. Malta already hosts a significant digital nomad community made up mostly of EU nationals who do not require any permits due to freedom of movement. The new permit is intended to reach new niches beyond Europe, as global mobility continues to rise and gain popularity, post-Covid. “Applicants who wish to work remotely from Malta, for a temporary period of up to one year, must prove they can work remotely, independent of location,” explained Mr Mizzi. They should either work for an employer registered outside of Malta, conduct business activity for a company registered outside of Malta, and of which they are partners or shareholders. Otherwise they can offer freelance or consulting services to clients whose permanent establishments are in a foreign country. “The process”, assured Mr Mizzi, “is simple and Residency Malta promises an efficient service that discerning nomads expect”. Millions of people, continued Mr Mizzi, are on the move and Malta is set to capitalise on this and on its potential for economic contribution. In the context of the pandemic the Agency feels the time is ripe for attracting entrepreneurs and adventurers to the safe English-speaking Mediterranean island life that Malta offers. The only tool required is a good laptop to connect to Malta’s nation-wide strong 5G infrastructure. n More information about the MPRP and about Malta’s Nomad Residence Permit may be found at www.residencymalta.gov.mt

j Millions of people,

continued Mr Mizzi, are on the move and Malta is set to capitalise on this and on its potential for economic contribution.


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How The Malta Chamber helps businesses grow internationally

S

ince its inception 170 years ago, The Malta Chamber has played a critical role in building meaningful and lasting connections between businesses in Malta and beyond. It has helped many Malta-based businesses grow through international trade and reach new markets. The Malta Chamber supports its global vision by providing tangible initiatives and share knowledge about the diversity of cultures, and how to navigate the rules and maximise opportunities. The Malta Chamber was always active in promoting internationalisation in the form of partnering opportunities for import and export purposes. Over the last few years, it set up and nurtured several business councils, the ultimate focus of which are to do business with specific countries. This is supported by The Chamber’s active participation in the Enterprise Europe Network project which provides a global network of connections, expertise, and market intelligence on a global level. In recent years, The Malta Chamber has also felt that to be more effective, it needed a coordinating body that could facilitate the access of Maltese companies to international growth and traditional markets, and that could complement the work of its co-owned organisation, Trade Malta. For this purpose, the International Relations Council (IRC) within The Malta Chamber was set up and covers Europe, Africa, Middle East, Far East and the Americas. The IRC strives to maximise the export and import potential and trade opportunities that exist in different regions, and to act as a hub and broker of internationalisation projects between different regions to counterbalance the island’s size and capacity limitations.

Through its membership of BusinessEurope and Eurochambres, it is also well represented in the European social dialogue spectrum. The Malta Chamber, through its internationalisation department and co-owned organisations Trade Malta and Tech.MT: • Assists business in gaining insights on international market entry • Fosters international trade cooperation development • Promotes business opportunities in promising markets • Maintains relations with international stakeholders Recently, The Malta Chamber has worked on two important projects, one of which focuses on Sub-Saharan Africa and the other one focuses on enhancing market intelligence in certain regions and better knowledge of Free Trade Agreements (FTAs), to enable its members to make use of such important instruments in penetrating new market opportunities. Furthermore, The Malta Chamber engages in a series of projects which are designed to help enterprises access support in a variety of fields. These projects and programmes are the result of collaborations with the Enterprise Europe Network, the Government of Malta and the private sector. Through its international desk, business councils, the Malta Business Bureau, and active participation in the European Economic and Social Committee, BusinessEurope and Eurochambres, The Malta Chamber is well placed and well connected to help you reach new markets and achieve results. n

B2B sessions, organised by the Malta Chamber (Photos taken prior to COVID-19 restrictions)



The Malta Chamber of Commerce, Enterprise and Industry 64, The Exchange Buildings, Republic Street Valletta VLT 1117 info@chamber.org.mt www.chamber.org.mt


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