29 JANUARY 2003

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Malta as an ICT hub

With the onset and development of the information and communication technologies revolution, it is becoming apparent that developing Malta as an ICT hub is no longer a dream but fast becoming a new reality. In fact, during recent months, both the eMalta Commission and the private sector have managed to attract various multi-national companies to use Malta as an ICT hub in the Mediterranean region.

On Wednesday 22 January the Computer Society of Malta and the HUBMED Foundation held a business breakfast that met with a positive response. It was well attended by most of the major players in ICT, including the private sector, MITTS, CIMU, MDC, Metco as well as both political parties.

The Hon Dr. Austin Gatt kicked off the discussion, after which each table was invited to discuss this opportunity from its different perspectives. Once each table presented its findings, the Hon Evarist Bartolo closed the event.

During the round table discussions, some interesting points raised included the following:

• Local enterprises need to make more effort in business development. Patience and persistence are necessary to build international relationships that produce returns, especially in North Africa.

• There is a great need to promote the take-up of science and technology subjects amongst schoolchildren from very early stages, along with improving the level of teaching and training in ICT subjects

• A coordinated effort must be undertaken to promote an entrepreneurial spirit and culture in Malta, since the ICT industry has suffered because of an abundance of ideas but a shortage of implementers.

• Malta is at a disadvantage because of the limitations in air links to other countries. While it may be true that London is only three hours away, attending a half-day meeting in Brussels is a three-day round trip.

Although Malta can boast very competent human resources in ICT and a strong infrastructure, a lot still has to be done. It is now time to start acting. While Malta has been talking about becoming an ICT hub for the past 10 years, comparable countries have been active and have now overtaken us.

For more information about the event and future activities, contact Mr. Joe Woods – jwoods@maltanet.net


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Editor: Saviour Balzan
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