TRC: What can you tell us about Malta's economic diversification?
ES: The financial industry has contributed to Malta in that it encouraged young people to go into the professions, as accountants and auditors, legal, and IT professionals. They go and study abroad and come back. So in all, we have very strong support for companies, for any type of business, at an international standard. Now, having reached that, our human resources are not only supporting financial services and i-gaming and shipping, but also new sectors. And the new sectors are broad.
Malta, being a peaceful place in a very troubled area, is being seen as a base where you can do business and operate in these difficult countries. We are seeing, for example, investment in education and health for the region, as well as logistics. European companies are eager to invest in North Africa and beyond if there are not too many obstacles. They know that that is a growing place. Europe at the moment is not growing, so the demand will be in these countries.
The German chamber of commerce came recently to Malta because they are waiting for Libya to settle down and they are waiting to invest there. I have met with the American Chamber of Commerce. I have met recently with a big group of leading French companies. They are all here trying to see what is so special about Malta, why Malta is so successful, and therefore they find that doing business here should be quite straightforward. The language is English, it's the business language, the mother language is Maltese, which is related to Arabic, and that helps in terms of the perception by the Arab world of Malta.
As a result, we are seeing investments such as the American University of the type that you find in Lebanon which is going to open here in Malta in the coming October. There are hospitals, not for the Maltese, but for people from outside. There are partnerships being set up with Harvard and with Barts Medical School. Barts will open a school for 400 students in Gozo and at the same time they will have a university for foreigners.
We have already had success with English-language schools; even members of the European Parliament come here to study English.
And then in logistics, we will have anchorage for customs between the airport and the Freeport and there will be warehousing transhipment for high-value items which come, say, from South America or Asia with containers, and then they will be taken apart and flown to their destinations. Malta's location is ideal for this.