Last week EY presented their annual Malta Attractiveness Survey. This annual event presents findings from a survey carried out by EY on whether investors find Malta attractive for investment or not, based on different aspects of the country.At a glance results were positive however it is worth mentioning that they did take a dip over last year’s results. In fact, the percentage of foreign direct investors that think Malta is currently attractive decreased from 87% last year to 78% this year, with 11% of investors saying that they do not think that Malta is currently attractive for investment.The factors that are most attractive to investors are corporate taxation, stability of social climate, and telecommunications infrastructure. More importantly the survey highlighted areas for improvement which were flexibility of labour registration, transport & logistics infrastructure, and research & development and innovation environment.
Areas which Malta needs to focus on to remain competitive globally include to develop education and skills, support high-tech industries and innovation, invest in infrastructure and urban projects, and support SMEs.The breakout sessions also discussed up and coming issues like Fintech and blockchain, iGaming, start-ups, Brexit and artificial intelligence – all of which were buzzwords throughout the whole conference. Another breakout session discussed how Gozo can also become more attractive if proper investment is done. Gozo has a lot of potential but unfortunately, most of the time no clear agenda is set to make use of its potential to the fullest. The panel with the attendees discussed what type of investment would best suit the sister island.
The main takeaways from this year’s survey in our opinion was the fact that although Malta still remains relatively attractive, investors have become more wary and so Malta cannot get too comfortable. The main areas that need focus are to develop the skills of our labour and invest more in emerging technologies. Most of the speakers at the event emphasised the point that companies struggle to find the right expertise and there aren’t enough employees to go around so investing in future workers will definitely pay off. Furthermore, Malta cannot ignore sectors like iGaming and the digital business in planning for the future. Finally, we would like to thank EY Malta for giving us the opportunity to attend this conference.