Due to the key role it played when COVID-19 struck, the Government said that it recognises the need to increase and consolidate investment in the digital sector during the new normality.
In the Government’s pre-budget document outlining various priority areas for Budget 2021, one such priority that ranks high is ‘Strengthening the new technology sectors’.
The Government said that it aims to strengthen new technology sectors through the setting up of a Digital Economy Think Tank, and that it will prepare the necessary groundwork to attract new niche economic areas.
The Government, the pre-budget document continues, is planning to implement several AI-related projects that emanated from Malta’s National Artificial Intelligence Strategy, covering economic sectors such as healthcare, education and transport, among others.
With regard to gaming, the document explains that the vision is to keep fostering a proactive and pragmatic approach to regulating the industry and implementing best practices while navigating through inevitable developments that challenge the industry.
In addition, the Government says it will ensure gaming is fair and transparent to players, preventing crime, corruption and money laundering and protecting minor and vulnerable individuals, thereby ensuring that reputable and compliant operators holding Malta Gaming Authority licences will be maintained.
Esports and video game development are also mentioned in the pre-budget document. Noting such industries are rather new to Malta’s economic portfolio, it says that the right investment and a future-proof strategy will give such sectors the tools to thrive.
In terms of research and innovation, potential future investments include both Quantum and High-performing computing, the Pre-Budget Document notes. In connection with this, the document says that a robust EU-compliant Intellectual Property framework will be in place.
Investment in cybersecurity will go hand-in-hand with investment in the digital economy sectors, it explains, adding that initiatives will be taken to boost and reap the full potential of the Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT).
The chapter concludes by referring to the human capital.
“Given Malta’s limited size, one would anticipate problems that specific industries might face with regard to the availability of skilled human capital. It is, therefore, in the national interest to invest in the necessary training but also to ensure that the right incentives are in place to attract foreign professionals and highly qualified persons, including Maltese, who are currently working abroad.
“Reskilling and upskilling will help in alleviating this problem and prepare the current workforce for the jobs of tomorrow,” the document asserts.