Malta, an island located in the Mediterranean sea with a small population of 450,000 people, has an eye on Sri Lankan exports to boost businesses in the European Union (EU).
There are many opportunities for sectors such as logistics, aquaculture, information and communication technology (ICT), plantation exports and so on in the EU. Sri Lanka has a very good vision but the country as a whole lacks implementation, a top visiting official from Malta said.
The European Chamber of Commerce of Sri Lanka (ECCSL) last week organised an event titled ‘Malta your gateway to Europe’ at the Kingsbury Hotel in Colombo. Two experts from a professional services firm, ARQ Group in Malta, David Borg and Jean Paul Fabri explained the opportunities for Sri Lankan exporters in the EU.
“We believe that resilience-building has the potential of ushering a new era of growth in Sri Lanka. Our experience from other small states, primarily Malta, demonstrates that a policy effort towards building resilience can leave long-lasting effects on an economy and society. Resilience-building offers the potential for small states to not only build their capacity to absorb negative shocks but more importantly, allows countries to identify niche areas and to develop new economic sectors. Our experience demonstrates that resilience-building does contribute to economic development. Sri Lanka has a very good vision but the country as a whole lacks implementation,” said ARQ Group Managing Director, Mr. Fabri.
Mr. Borg at the event mentioned that Malta has a GDP of 9 per cent while its unemployment rate is 1.2 per cent. The country’s foreign direct investments have risen to 1,489 per cent of the GDP. From the north of the country it has access to Europe and from the south to Africa. The country has no natural resources while it’s dependent on the UK. Malta is mainly into the financial services sector and today the country ranks third after London and Luxembourg, and has also moved into diverse banking sectors.
Mr. Borg also stated that Malta has advanced on asset registration, aircraft maintenance, high value added manufacturing, production of genetic pharmaceuticals and so on. Memory chips of iPhones are produced in Malta while aquaculture is done on a small scale. The country has the busiest harbour in the region. “We want to develop the logistics sector of Sri Lanka to export goods into the EU market,” he noted.
Mr. Fabri further elaborated that Malta has worked with nine governments around the world. For every improvement in governance, Malta’s economic performance has improved four times over. Some 84 per cent of economic development is contributed by the private sector out of which 98 per cent is contributed by the small and medium scale enterprises.
In Sri Lanka the government and the private sector must carve out attractive regulations for investments, introduce e-Government and interact with other governments, he added.