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Getting Closer

On Strengthening Ties between Malta and the UAE

Getting Closer

On 20 March 1978, five years after establishing diplomatic relations, then Maltese Prime Minister, Dom Mintoff, landed in Abu Dhabi for talks with His Later Highness Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan.  A 28 million Dirhams loan was approved from the UAE to Malta to expand the port’s capacity in southern Maltese port of Marsaxlokk.  The UAE further assisted Malta in an 80-million Dirhams project that increased the available electricity supply from 127 MW to 187 MW by installing two 30 MW generating units.  And so this budding friendship was sealed.

On 23 November 2020, Maria Camilleri Calleja, a career diplomat, presented her Letters of Credence as the first resident Ambassador of the Republic of Malta to the United Arab Emirates to Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai at Qasr Al Watan.  For those avid followers of diplomatic jargon, this development has a significant meaning: The two countries are keen to expand relations.

What is on offer?  Firmly at the crossroads between European and Africa, East and West, and party to the Belt and Road Initiative, Malta’s political, diplomatic and commercial position could not be more attractive.

Malta Enterprise ( )

Malta has been welcoming investors into the country since the early 1950s. This means that both private and public service providers are well aware of an incoming operation’s requirements. The process of setting up on the island is a straightforward and transparent one in which the investor is always kept updated as to what is required. Malta Enterprise is tasked with providing a single point of contact to prospective investors or ongoing operations for their interactions with various government departments according to their requirements.

The corporation may allocate the following measures of assistance:

  1. Allocation of industrial space;
  2. Access to finance such as soft loans, loan interest subsidies and loan guarantees;
  3. Investment tax credits based on investment in either plant and machinery or employment figures;
  4. A wide range of bespoke schemes designed to assist in a company’s export activities, research and development and so forth.

Trade Malta ( )

TradeMalta is a Public-Private Partnership, established as a Limited Liability Company, co-owned by the Malta Chamber and the Maltese state. Created in 2014, this executive agency is tasked with assisting Malta-based exporters in their endeavours. TradeMalta issues administer and dispense co-funding of export-related expenses undertaken by Malta-based companies. The entity also organises Business Missions, Training Sessions, Export Awards, Seminars, and other events related to export promotion.

Whilst TradeMalta supports export efforts in all regions of the world, Africa and the Middle East are particular focus areas. Therefore, the GCC countries are of primary interest to TradeMalta, and many Maltese exporters are particularly interested in using Dubai as a hub for their operations in the wider region. For this reason, TradeMalta has appointed a Dubai-based representative to facilitate business development between Malta and the GCC region.

Vessel and aircraft registration in Malta
Vessel and aircraft registration in Malta

Vessel and aircraft registration in Malta

Why is Malta a Flag of Confidence? The Maltese flag is the largest merchant register in Europe and the sixth in the world. Registration of a ship under the Maltese flag is an effortless procedure and is regulated by Transport Malta.

Registration under the Maltese flag is available to vessels owned by Maltese and non-Maltese owners and any kind of vessel. Malta holds a serious and efficient maritime administration; flag state inspectorate to ensure adherence to international standards; twenty-four hours, seven days a week service regarding urgent matters; sound multilateral and bilateral relations, and participates in international shipping fora. ( )

Furthermore, under the Malta Flag, a yacht may be registered as a Private yacht or a Commercial yacht.  The Malta Ship Registry considers a private registered yacht to be any pleasure yacht, of 6 metres in length or more, which does not carry passengers for reward and is not engaged in trade but is used for the sole purpose of the owner. ( )

If you own aircraft, you may be interested to know that, Malta holds the fastest-growing Aircraft Register globally.  Since 2010, aviation in Malta has grown exponentially. As a result, the Maltese Government has adopted strategies to promote Malta as an aviation hub. Today, Malta ranks 9th on the Cape Town List.  An aircraft registered in Malta is an aircraft registered in the EU. Therefore, it does not require pre-permits or rights to fly within the Single Market. Malta offers the possibility of an Air Operator Certificate (AOC) so that an aircraft can be utilised to the maximum possible capacity. ( )

 Gozo business chamber ( )

For a very long time, Malta’s sister island of Gozo was regarded as a touristic gem, offering the beauty of silence, seclusion and relaxation.  Though it still does, to a certain degree, the move at government level has been in the last few years towards creating a hub for digitisation and the Green Economy.

In the area of digitisation, the establishment of the digital innovation hub in Xewkija, Gozo, managed by the government agency, Indis Malta Ltd. ( ) through the Gozo Innovation Hub ( ) and the second fibre optic link between the two islands, offered the required opportunities to companies investing in this area.  The next step should be a holistic incentive package to incentivise the creation of an eco-system of companies in the digital sector on the island, complementing the investment already made in other sectors such as the Barts Medical School Government’s move towards the diversification of the Gozitan economy.

Finance Malta: Innovation in financial services ( )

Set up in 2007 as a non-profit, member-based Foundation to promote Malta as an international business and financial centre within and outside Malta, Finance Malta came on the scene at a critical time, just as Malta – a European Union country – entered the Eurozone. The financial services sector is now a major force in the country’s economy both in terms of contribution to its GDP and employment.

Malta has some significant strengths to offer the industry such as a cost-competitive environment; a network of over 70 double taxation agreements with most global and developing economies in the world; a diverse portfolio of high quality and well-regulated services for funds, insurance, securitisation, trusts & foundations, fintech, payments, and banking and financial institutions. To these, Malta can add world-class information and communications technology infrastructure, English as an official language, a well-trained, motivated workforce, the world’s largest superyacht register, an enviable climate and its strategic location a gateway to the EU and African continent.

Tech Malta: leading through innovation
Tech Malta: leading through innovation

Tech Malta: leading through innovation ( )

Malta is a strategic location for investment with its resilience in technology infrastructure and stable economy, positioning it as the diamond in the middle of the Mediterranean. This reflects the sector’s growth approaching 4% in the second quarter of 2020 and the sector’s contribution towards 9% of GDP and still growing.

Furthermore, Malta ranks 5th out of the 28 EU Member States in all dimensions of the Digital Economic and Society Index (DESI) 2020, comprising connectivity, human capital, internet services, integration of digital technology, and digital public services. This recognition of Malta’s success in implementing the right policies and ensuring the right ecosystem to stimulate digital transformation and achieve a more vibrant and resilient digital economy.

The aspect of innovation is also highlighted in the World Economic Forum’s description of Malta as an innovation-driven economy and the European Innovation Scoreboard 2020, which ranks Malta as one of the highest countries in innovation systems. Such innovation is mirrored in Malta’s performance in human resources, research, finance, and intellectual assets. Despite the challenges posed by the pandemic, Mata’s economy is forecast to perform at around 4.1% in 2021.

Tech. Mt’s mission revolves around the fundamental principles of enhancing Malta’s attractiveness for foreign direct investment and facilitating international business development and innovation to the local industry. With the digital economy top on Malta and the UAE’s agenda, Tech. Mt is willing to act as the lynchpin to create mutually beneficial opportunities for both jurisdictions.

Malta stock exchange
Malta stock exchange

Malta stock exchange ( )

The Malta Stock Exchange (MSE) has a relatively brief but successful history of active participation in the development of Malta’s financial services sector.  Currently, the MSE manages three distinct Markets: The Regulated Main Market (RMM), the Institutional Financial Securities Market (IFSM), and Prospects MTF (Multilaterally Trading Facility) and a fully-fledge CSD (Central Securities Depository).

Each market caters for different types of investors and employs different regulatory regimes. RMM and IFSM are regulated by MFSA and any security admitted under the MFSA Listing Rules enjoy EU passporting rights. On the other hand, Prospects MTF is an exchange regulated market and does not benefit from such rights.  All markets are hosted on the international T7 trading platform operated by Deutsche Boerse AG and enjoy international connectivity facilitating cross-border transactions.

Our CSD harnesses the latest technology of integration and electronic registration developed by world-established providers. From the issuance of the International Securities Identification Number (ISIN) to custody, registration, clearing, settlement, and dematerialisation services, the CSD offers a broad range of asset servicing products for listed and unlisted securities. Through its link with Clearstream Banking AG, the CSD facilitates cross-border settlement of transactions and corporate actions.

Additionally, the MSE has set up the Malta Stock Exchange Institute (MSEI), which offers courses at different levels ranging from introduction to the capital markets to specialised courses on corporate risk management, corporate governance, financial statement analysis and anti-money laundering, to name a few.

The MSEI is also recognised by the NCFHE (National Commission for Further and Higher Education) and is very popular with industry practitioners.  In the COVID-19 scenario, all courses were successfully migrated online, giving us the possibility to offer these courses internationally; we are now also seeing participation from overseas.  The MSE also supports the FinTech space and offers start-ups access to professional business services and facilities, including conference rooms and a training centre at affordable rates.

University of Malta
University of Malta

University of Malta ( )

Tracing its origins to 17th Century, the University of Malta is the leading public university in Malta. It is an institution of excellence offering teaching in English at all levels – Foundation, Undergraduate, Master and Doctoral. With extensive research facilities and international contacts, it is a globally engaged key player in the local and European Higher Education Area. Fully adherent to the Bologna Process, the University of Malta is an active member of various European and International Exchange Programmes and networks that provide opportunities for students worldwide.

The medium of instruction and its international recognition and standing has allowed the University of Malta to attract many international students each year. Out of its total 12,000 students, a good 12% are international students from over 100 countries. Following a thorough evaluation, the University of Malta was accorded official recognition by the Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research of the United Arab Emirates in 2016.

The University has also been actively attracting a fair number of students from the Gulf and the Middle East among other regions, mainly pursuing studies in Medicine, Dental Surgery, Health Science, Engineering, Business, ICT, International Relations, and a host of other subjects. Aside from its own degrees, the University offers a range of joint degrees with other reputable Universities some of which are accorded the prestigious Erasmus Mundus title. The University currently provides several professional programmes and top-up courses for students wishing to exercise their profession in the EU, particularly in nursing and Pharmacy.

Malta Tourism authority

If you close your eyes, how would you imagine your holiday?  Safe in a sunny country just the right amount of temperature measure, good food, simple relaxation, throwing in a visit to a cultural and heritage site, a spot of label shopping, time for some land or water sports, diving perhaps in the deep blue and clear sea, coupling a conference with some much-needed and well-deserved time at the SPA and Wellness Centre, or concluding a deal and dashing back to your yacht berthed at a fantastically well-equipment yacht marina?  Is this what you want? It is all within reach.  Come to Malta!

ON 25 January 2021, FLYDUBAI announced its launch of flights between the UAE and Malta, starting 12 May 2021, four times a week.  And just like that, Malta is back on the flight map.

And if you are in the Travel Trade and wish to develop your tour package to Malta, there is help at hand.  Please contact AVIAREPS-MIDDLE EAST in DUBAI, representing Malta Tourism Authority, Glenn Johnson, General Manager:

[email protected]

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