Frank V. Farrugia

Frank V. Farrugia is the President of the Malta Chamber of Commerce, Enterprise and Industry.

Malta's Future Out Of The Box

Monday 30th October 2017

On 25th October I had the privilege of addressing a national event of great proportion – EY’s Annual Attractiveness Event which drew a crowd of around 800 people. I must thank Ronald Attard, EY’s Country Managing Partner for the honour whilst congratulating him and his team for the organisation of such an impressive event. The conference, in itself, is a symbol of Malta’s attributes for a worthy investment location.

The event complemented recent awareness-building initiatives on disruptive technologies which we carried out as a Chamber, such as last year’s national conference “Digitalisation: Do or Die”, and numerous seminars on Industry 4.0 and other disruptive technologies.

These events discussed Malta’s adaptation new and so-called “disruptive” technologies which alter the way we think, behave, consume and do business. Disruption is not so much about new inventions, but rather about a change in the customer experience. When considering Netflix and UBER, it is not the end result that has changed. People are still watching films and hiring taxis, but the way they are purchasing and interacting with such services has been revolutionised forever.

It is our duty as a Chamber to make sure that business owners are able to grasp the opportunity created by disruptive technology in time before the threat it poses becomes insurmountable. Automation, robotics and artificial intelligence are game-changers for most business sectors and for this reason, we need to be prepared to adapt to the disruption that lies ahead, both on a national level and company level.

Malta has overcome several economic transformations and we have now reached a point when it is time to take stock, evaluate and plan the road ahead with care. The quantum leap necessary to further our development must be driven by innovation and adaptation to disruption.

As a Chamber, we firmly believe that Malta enjoys all the elements required to ensure a rapid and holistic transition in mentality to one that recognises threats, embraces disruption and exploits the numerous opportunities at hand. This was also confirmed by the information presented and discussed at the EY Conference.

Along Malta’s previous adaptations to change, it was always supported by the strong presence of FDI companies in various industries including manufacturing, financial services, gaming, hospitality, aviation and transportation. This has enabled to Malta to remain abreast with modern machinery, technology, education and training.

The country must return the favour by implementing yet another recommendation set out in the Malta Chamber’s Economic Vision for Malta 2014 to 2020 Document.

We urge government to heed our proposals for continuous improvement in Malta’s education systems so as to maximise the readiness of our workforce to embrace new technologies and to dynamically respond to fact changing economic social disruptions. This will prove fundamental for FDIs and investors to continue to consider Malta an attractive business environment once disruptive technology inevitably sets in.

Our members have shown great interest in disruptive technologies however, it is evident that the business community requires a more ambitious national strategy in this regard – a strategy must enhance Malta’s attractiveness for FDI through better future-proofing.

Together, let us grasp this opportunity and continue building Malta’s success as a leading business destination.