Smart City @ Malta

Government of Malta announces Framework Discussions with Tecom Investments of Dubai on the set up Of the New Smartcity@Malta are in an advanced stage

The Government of Malta announces that the framework discussions with Tecom Investments of Dubai on the setting up a new SmartCity@Malta in the area today known as the Ricasoli Industrial Estate and in land adjacent to that site, are in an advanced stage. The conclusion of the framework discussions is expected to be followed by the signing of a Heads of Agreement in the coming weeks.

SmartCity@Malta is projected to be the largest ever ICT private sector project and foreign direct investment as well as the largest ever new source of knowledge-based jobs to be secured by Malta.

Tecom Investments is a leading full service telecommunications network operator and service provider and are the originators, developers and operators of the Dubai Internet City which groups together over 700 tenant ICT companies: the worlds largest managed entity for ICT providers. Tecom are also the originators, developers and operators of Dubai Media City (grouping together over 900 tenant companies) and the Knowledge Village which houses over 260 educational institutions in a single campus. Collectively, these zones employ over 15,000 employees.

The Government has entered into discussions with Tecom Investments as part of its concerted and concentrated efforts to create large-scale employment in the country coupled with significant new sources of foreign direct investments with the concomitant economic spin-offs. This program has been synergised over the past three years with the national effort to place Malta on the global ICT map as a leader in the region. The Government has also aimed to exploit this opportunity to partner with a leading ICT player to regenerate infrastructure as well as support the creation of jobs in the south of Malta as part of the drive to transform the south into a services-based hub in the region.

The new SmartCity@ Malta will include a new full-fledged ICT and Media Smart City on the models developed by the same organisation in Dubai . This project will also be accompanied by new state-of-the-art use of the environment of the site with the development of a hotel and other activities to help attract knowledge-based operations to the site. This is expected to create a cluster environment to service tenants in the site in a cost-effective and efficient manner.

The Government believes that the fact that the new SmartCity@Malta will be a first for the entire European Union, it will be the ideal European outpost for global ICT/Media companies wishing to establish a presence in Europe.

Over an eight-year period, the new SmartCity@Malta is projected to create 5,600 new jobs, around 65% of which will be new jobs in Malta s knowledge-industry. The remaining jobs will be created in areas such as administration, hospitality, retail, maintenance, security and logistics. This will make this project the largest ever job-creator under one roof in Malta s history.

The new SmartCity@Malta will establish the south of Malta as the core service hub of the island, enhancing its environment and creating jobs in the region reducing the dependency on the manufacturing industries. A significant component of the site will be developed as open space enhancing the environmental quality of the ICT and media business park, lodging, tourism and commercial areas of the site.

In the framework discussions, the Government of Malta has agreed to invest the land into the project whilst Tecom is expected to undertake an investment of approximately US$300 million over the coming 8 years. The first deliverables from this project are expected by 2008. Government will be retaining an equity in the project and will be benefiting from the investments carried out in the public spaces.

Tecom Investments is also undertaking to participate in initiatives to assist the further development of ICT education in Malta . It will also work with the Local Councils of Kalkara and Xgħajra to ensure that the residents of the towns neighbouring the SmartCity@Malta will be among the first to benefit from this development. Specific projects with persons with disabilities and to help inmates of drug-rehabilitation programmes have also been agreed to.

The Government is satisfied that this investment will have benefits beyond those immediately obvious in terms of job-creation and foreign direct investment. This project is bound to bring about a substantial boost to Malta s construction, hospitality, maritime, services and retail activities. This development will also earn Malta a sharper image of partnership with private investment particularly, but not exclusively, in the knowledge sector.

To ensure that the country maximises from the benefits of this new project the Ministry for Investment, Industry and Information Technology will be conducting a widespread consultation process with all stakeholders including Local Councils over the coming months.

Indeed all elements of the Maltese economy, as well as the environment of the country, stand to benefit greatly from the realisation of the new SmartCity@Malta. This will be even more especially true if all stake-holders co-ordinate their interests and needs to make the best from this new development.

Minister Gatt explained that the next step in this project is for the Heads of Agreement to be concluded, following which a final stage of discussions leading to a final agreement will be immediately engaged into, with a view of concluding the agreement and commence works during 2006.