Malta’s economy could become more resilient to COVID-19 by attracting finance services, gaming or customer support companies in neighbouring regions, according to EY Malta managing partner Ronald Attard.

Known as ‘nearshoring’, the concept is based on the principle of outsourcing business processes, especially information technology, to companies in a nearby country. In the case of Malta, it could attract near-shoring services from southern Europe like Italy and France, or North Africa.

Attard said COVID-19 had shown the risks of failing to diversify the economy and relying on a single sector, like tourism, which has been hit hard by the pandemic.

“Certain sectors such as tourism and parts of retail are struggling but businesses which depend on digital connectivity have been much more resilient,” he said.

We can create opportunities for people working here without the full traffic or building impact

The EY managing partner was speaking to Times of Malta ahead of their annual conference, scheduled between October 20 and 23, which this year will be held online.

He pointed out that Malta’s robust digital infrastructure proved to be an asset during the pandemic when thousands of employees shifted to remote working from home to minimise disruptions.

“If people need to commute less in providing such services, or offices need not cater for full people capacity, this means we can create opportunities for people working here without the full traffic, congestion or building impact,” he remarked.

The pandemic has also meant greater focus on essential economic sectors like health and education.

“Coupling investment in health and education for the direct benefit of our citizens while building Malta as a hub for digital services in both services should be seriously considered in the current circumstances,” Attard said.

Another area which could seek growth is the logistics or distribution industry due to Malta’s geographic position in the centre of the Mediterranean region, he said.

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