Malta has a uniquely chequered history. Since time immemorial, Malta has played a key regional role. Its strategic location has supported global trade routes and, as a population of islanders, the Maltese have consistently shown resilience and the ability to carve out a unique regional and global hub.

The global environment has never been so volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous. COVID-19 has shown the fragility and interdependency of a globalised world.

However, this is the right time for reflection and a renaissance.

Despite the successes, we have not been accustomed to having discussions on the long-run vision for the country. A long-run vision allows us to come together as a country, to dream, to aspire, to work for and to strive together, collectively, towards a better Malta. The last documented vision for Malta was launched in 2007 and named Vision 2015.

We have long felt the lack of independent think-tanks in Malta, which usually serve to elevate and stimulate national debate.

In view of this and also given the challenges we believe the Maltese economy will be facing in the coming months, we decided to set-up a community of 40 business leaders below the age of 40 that will be tasked specifically with this goal: to develop a long-term strategy for Malta and to envision where Malta should be in 15 to 20 years’ time.

The vision this community will be building is based on four pillars: economy, education, well-being and the environment.

Malta’s economy has continued to transform itself over the years, diversifying its base and attracting new sectors. After growing at a very fast pace over the past few years, Malta will face a challenging and delicate time in the coming months and years. With questions being raised on the sustainability of the economic model, it is time for a national discussion on the future of Malta’s economic model.

This pillar will explore different types of economic models, the  diversification of Malta’s current and prospective economic sectors and the foundational elements that we need to invest in to remain attractive and competitive to investment.

The focus of the education pillar will be to propose new policies to truly improve Malta’s educational system and propel it to one of the best systems worldwide. We don’t want to simply improve the pass rates of students in various academic subjects, we want our students to be able to think independently and without bias. We want them to understand the importance of values in everything they do, about the importance of being honest and having integrity.

We want our students to be able to think independently and without bias- JP Fabri and Nicky Gouder

We want them to understand the joys in life and play as well as the importance of being kind to one another and of accepting other children with different backgrounds, beliefs and sexual orientation.

We want to have an educational system that prepares children for life and that they start to understand that their role in life is to improve the lives of everyone within society.

The third pillar is well-being. While GDP is the most well-known and most powerful economic indicator, it cannot tell us everything we need to know about the well-being of countries and societies.

Studies have confirmed that public policy that is exclusively or primarily focused on GDP may actually end up eroding the well-being of a country. We have identified a number of important topics which we believe are essential to the well-being of both an individual and societies.

We will be looking at education, the environment, the economy, civic engagement, health and community to start formulating a framework that will enable us to measure the well-being of our country.

Our objective is to define what we mean by ‘well-being’ and to propose a framework to the government, consisting of a number of indicators that will allow us to measure Malta’s wellbeing beyond GDP.

The environment remains a key pillar of sustainable development. Over the past few years, the environment has been relegated in terms of importance and priority. The challenges remain significant, especially with  respect to waste management, planning, conservation and the availabi­lity of open spaces.

Pollution from various sources remains high and many are feeling that the environment needs to be given a new sense of life and importance going forward.

This pillar will explore methods Malta should adopt to preserve and regenerate the environment.

Forty Under Forty is a community of business leaders with passion, ambition and an innate belief in Malta’s potential. It is a community of thinkers and doers, of achievers and dreamers, of risk-takers and of responsible individuals.

Forty individuals whose personal success mirrors the success of the island and who aspire to achieve more for us all. Forty Under Forty is built on the belief that the sum is greater than the parts and that, by coming together, by discussing, by debating, by imagining and by being ambitious, we can truly be catalysts for a better inspired future.

Forty Under Forty is a collective of present and future business leaders that have the best interest and well-being of Malta and its citizens at heart.

It is a reminder that, together, we thrive.

JP Fabri and Nicky Gouder are founding members of 40under40.

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