The Maltese Archipelago, made up of Malta, Gozo and Comino, covers an area of 316 sq km for the three islands. The Maltese islands are located 93 kilometers off the southern coast of Sicily and 290 kilometers north of the shores of North Africa. Daytime winter temperatures rarely fall below 10 degrees centigrade, and the mean temperature in the winter is between 17 and 22 degrees centigrade. Summer mean temperatures normally range between 32 and 35 degrees centigrade.
The population of Malta is approximately 404,000, while Gozo has a population of 31,000. A recently carried out census revealed that there are 1,282 persons per square kilometer in Malta. However, the annual demographic growth is fairly modest at 0.7%. Although the national language is Maltese, Malta also has English as an official language, and most educated Maltese can speak fluent Maltese, English and Italian. The language of the courts is Maltese but proceedings may be conducted in English. The Laws of Malta and the Government Gazette are printed in Maltese and English.
The island’s history was traditionally immersed in trade and business. During the 70s, Malta moved away from a military dependent economy to tourism, manufacturing, technology and other high value-added industries. Today, Malta’s size betrays the sophistication that the island has developed over the years. Malta also boasts an Anglo-Saxon tradition which has influenced its laws, business, professions, work ethics and structures.
Malta joined the EU in 2004, and subsequently adopted the euro on 1 January 2008. Malta in the EU is indeed an attractive proposition for business. The euro adoption has made Malta more attractive for investment purposes through reductions in transaction costs and international trade barriers. Given Malta’s membership in the EU, its legislation is reflective of EU legislation and directives. Therefore, apart from having a legislative structure which facilitates the conduct of business in or from Malta, it provides foreign investors in Malta with the assurance of the quality and consistency synonymous with the EU.
Today, Malta has a diversified freemarket economy which mainly relies on tourism, manufacturing and financial services. The government encourages foreign investment and Malta enjoys good industrial relations. Malta also provides numerous financial incentives and maintains a low tax regime encouraging economic growth. Yet, Malta’s qualities as an investment environment are not limited to its numerous tax benefits. The island offers international investors a highly advanced telecommunications network, skilled professionals and a strategic location.