The point of departure for Malta’s Economic Vision is a robust, resilient and diversified economy which has performed remarkably well over recent years. Yet the country cannot rest on its laurels, and must be ready to evolve in an international environment that is rapidly changing, as it resets and moves forward beyond the COVID-19 pandemic.
The pandemic has highlighted the significant interconnection between the world’s economies and has shown the speed at which businesses and society are able to adapt, transform and re-invent themselves.
While we expect key segments such as tourism and hospitality to fully recover, the permanence of certain changes such as near and re-shored supply chains, remote working and reduced business travel will change forever the way our economy functions.
The vaccine rollout has created hope and optimism, while the post-pandemic rebuilding efforts present a unique opportunity to do things differently. This opportunity not only necessitates further stimulus to help companies hit hard by the pandemic recover and get back on their feet, but also amplifies the need for reform. It requires businesses to adapt their business models to changing realities, prioritise investments in technology and upskill their workers. It also requires them to adopt more sustainable business practices and production methods and drive more value creation for a broader group of stakeholders such as employees, customers, partners, suppliers and the local community, alongside their bottom line.
It also means shifting economic priorities at a national level beyond GDP to a wider set of metrics, in alignment with work accomplished in local and international fora. These actions are needed to drive a successful recovery, which not only regenerates the economy and helps businesses bounce back but also stimulates long-term improvements across various aspects that contribute to the enhancement of the quality of life for Malta’s citizens.
The Malta Economic Vision 2030 aims to drive new thinking around investment decisions and policymaking, placing innovation and outcomes at the centre of how we think about economic growth, framed around big challenges (and solutions) that are co-created with society and business, an alternative to the traditional top-down approach. The goal is to create future-focused, outcome-oriented solutions that are purpose-driven and transformational rather than quick fixes for the next couple of years.
This path-breaking vision exercise will align our priorities and promote coherence and coordinated action at a national level. In doing so, it aims to orientate policymaking in a unified direction, not only for the now but also the more distant future. It does this by mapping out the pillars that collectively shape the economy and the way it impacts society, quality of life, environment and Malta’s natural heritage. The goal is to seek out synergies, balance trade-offs and counteract risks so that the sum of all parts works in harmony and unison.
This includes developing an overarching plan for the island which considers population and tourism trajectory, built and green spaces, aesthetics, zoning, smart and green infrastructure, multi-modal transportation and better connectivity with Gozo.
It necessitates fully leveraging digital to drive productivity and competitiveness, facilitate the way we do business and enhance our quality of life. It means maximising the opportunities brought about by Malta’s size and resources such as our seas, strategic location and continued investment in digital and telecommunication infrastructure, to become a pilot site for new technologies.
It requires aligning education and skills development to the sectors and jobs we have and aspire to have on the islands. It means understanding the implications of externalities and future trends such as borderless opportunities and the shift to remote working for the Maltese workforce and local businesses, when our own talent pool will always have limitations in terms of numbers.
It necessitates placing environmental considerations at the core of everything we do to pave the way for a more sustainable, responsible, modern, resource-efficient economy, one that lays strong foundations which we are proud to leave behind for future generations, with new ways of living, working and moving that enhance physical and societal wellbeing, the protection of our natural built heritage and our unbuilt landscapes and seas.
This requires us to maintain the momentum of institutional reform that we have kickstarted on issues relating to good governance, accountability, transparency and rule of law which underpin the way our economy functions and our country is governed. We will achieve this through the continued strengthening of our supervisory authorities and enforcement and compliance while enhancing the efficiency of Malta’s legal systems, to drive the highest standards of protection for investors, consumers and society.