The government has chosen to invest heavily in the ICT sector and recently introduced its Digital Malta Strategy. This initiative was launched by Prime Minister Joseph Muscat in March this year, with the aim of transforming Malta into a country that by 2020 ‘will prosper as a digitally-enabled nation in all sectors of society ’.

Technology has become an absolutely fundamental part of doing business today. From selling products online to a global audience, to submitting accounts digitally, companies have come to rely on the world of ICT.

The dynamic Digital Malta Strategy is in place, among others, to help give businesses the technology boost they need to strive even further, improving their competitiveness and market access.

Numerous projects have been initiated successfully, while several others are in the pipeline and will be introduced later this year.

The Malta Information Technology Agency (Mita) Innovation Hub was inaugurated by the Prime Minister in May, aimed at encouraging the creation of a hi-tech web-enabled cluster in Malta. The hub has been designed to complement and support existing incubators and innovation centres by offering another alternative to students, start-up founders, innovators and ICT companies. It will synergise efforts to showcase and implement the best innovations in areas of special interest to the national economy and society.

“In fact, in July, this hub hosted the IBM BlueMix Day – an international training workshop for developers and software vendors,” said Tony Sultana, executive chairman of Mita.

“IBM BlueMix experts were present to coach the attendees on the fundamentals of building an application for the cloud.

“IBM, in collaboration with Mita, also recently hosted a forum for start-ups, independent software vendors and developers aimed specifically at assisting them to capture new business opportunities.”

In addition, the cloud has been given the necessary attention. A study is being conducted to determine which areas of business will benefit most from cloud computing. It will then establish which areas are feasible for fast tracking, which service delivery model is the more appropriate, and which deployment models should be adopted.

From an infrastructure point of view, the Malta Communications Authority has embarked on a study to investigate the feasibility of laying a new international submarine cable that would connect the Maltese islands directly to mainland Europe or North Africa, with the objective of enhancing the resilience and quality of the current international tele-communications connectivity.

This study will analyse various related elements so as to identify the optimal technical, commercial and financial solutions.

Meanwhile, funds have been set aside for a feasibility study on what would be required for the laying of a fibre-optic cable between Malta and Gozo.

“This would definitely encourage more companies to start operating from the sister island,” said Michael Grech, chairman of the regional committee for Gozo in the MCESD.

Earlier this month, the MCA launched a draft national e-commerce strategy. This is the first national strategy of this kind. It addresses not only e-commerce but also related e-business activities, and aims to ensure that Maltese businesses find the support structures that they need to capitalise on the opportunities which e-commerce offers.

The MCA has embarked on a study to investigate the feasibility of laying a new international submarine cable that would connect the Maltese islands directly to mainland Europe or North Africa

It also looks at opportunities for Malta to attract businesses operating in this sector.

Mark Woods said: “This marks a very significant step for e-commerce in Malta. Maltese businesses can no longer afford to ignore this reality.

“The initiatives proposed in this strategy are aimed at motivating and facilitating the growth of local e-commerce and the effective use of online technologies, while spurring a radical change in the way businesses perceive e-commerce.”

In November, the MCA will again host its eBiz Awards, an annual showcase of best-practice ICT in business solutions implemented in Malta.

These awards have now become an important milestone for enterprises that effectively implement innovative online technologies to strengthen and expand their business.

For more information on Digital Malta, including details on its goals, guiding principles and initiatives, visit .

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