Established in 2003, Malta Enterprise is the government’s agency focused on attracting investment and supporting enterprises in the country. Malta Enterprise serves as the national representative for Malta’s commercial and industrial endeavours. Mario Galea, who was appointed CEO of Malta Enterprise in 2016, discusses the agency’s objectives and the country’s investment potential.
European Times: What are the primary objectives of Malta Enterprise?
Mario Galea: Malta Enterprise is the country’s economic development agency, tasked with attracting new foreign direct investment as well as facilitating the growth of existing operations. Our aim is to attract investors making them aware of Malta’s competitive edge and realize that our country is much more than a great tourism destination. With experience of nearly 50 years, Malta Enterprise also acts as an adviser to the Government on economic policy due to our close and constant interaction with the main economic players in the country.
Business First is Malta Enterprise’s specialized unit which serves as the point of single contact for businesses. A number of service agreements with various public entities, makes it possible for start-ups and established businesses alike to apply for various administrative services from one location.
European Times: Attracting foreign direct investment is your key priority. Which competitive advantages are you focusing on when promoting the Malta’s image as an investment destination?
Mario Galea: Malta has extensive experience with foreign direct investment. Numerous companies have invested in the country in the past decades and many of them are still operation, proving that Malta offers a sustainable environment for companies to succeed, grow and expand. In addition to long-term sustainability, Malta has substantive competitive advantages, including EU membership, favourable tax climate, stable political and economic environment, superb geographical location, consistent economic growth, stable and competitive costs for doing business, a qualified workforce, and investor-friendly policies. With its welcoming innovative mind-set, Malta is truly an open business-centric commercial community with a proven track record of economic success.
European Times: What are the most competitive sectors in the country?
Mario Galea: High added value manufacturing has always been a pillar of the Maltese economy, amounting to 16% of GDP. There are numerous companies which have invested in the manufacturing sector which has maintained its stability and competitiveness while at the same time the ability to adapt to changing circumstances.
Nevertheless, I must point out that Malta’s success is due to its diversified economy. Sectors such as aviation, education, logistics, healthcare, pharma, ICT, maritime, life sciences, oil & gas servicing, financial services, and R&D continue to expand, playing an increasingly important role in the country’s economy. Malta’s strategic location at the middle of the Mediterranean makes us an ideal hub for non-EU companies seeking to enter the EU market, as well as for EU companies seeking to tap markets in North Africa or the Middle East.
European Times: How would you describe Malta’s education sector?
Mario Galea: Malta’s excellent educational system has substantial growth potential. In addition to its reputation as a centre for the teaching of English as a Foreign Language, Malta also has specialized institutions which provide training for various sectors. Many students choose Malta as their preferred destination for pursuing their studies in English, which builds on the country’s image as an ideal location for basing universities catering for the large North African and Middle East student cadres. Malta is home to international universities, such as the Queen Mary University of London, which offer the same high-quality education as in the UK, but in a more pleasant Mediterranean climate, offering safety, varied gastronomical experiences and excellent quality of life.
The educational system is geared towards producing a high-skilled, flexible, quick to learn and English-speaking workforce and we are constantly communicating with the industry to ensure that our training and education programmes reflect their needs.
European Times: What is your personal message?
Mario Galea: Malta Enterprise remains focused on promoting and facilitating international investment in Malta, offering excellent business opportunities and services tailored to investors’ needs. Furthermore, our professional staff works hand in hand with Maltese businesses by helping them to set up, expand, innovate and access global markets.