The government of Malta and SmartCity, a joint venture between TECOM Investments and Sama Dubai, have signed the final agreements to establish SmartCity Malta, at a ceremony held at the Westin Dragonara Resort, in St Julians, Malta, yesterday.
The agreement was signed by Austin Gatt, Minister for Investment, Industry and Information Technology of Malta, and Ahmad bin Byat, Executive Chairman of TECOM Investments. Also present were Farhan Faraidooni, Executive Chairman of Sama Dubai, Abdullatif Almulla, CEO of TECOM Investments, and Fareed Abdulrahman, Executive Director of SmartCity.
SmartCity Malta will transform the Ricasoli Industrial Estate in Malta into a state-of-the-art ICT and Media business community based on the successful models of Dubai Internet City and Dubai Media City.
The agreement was signed by Minister Austin Gatt (3rd from the right) and Ahmad bin Byat, Executive Chairman of TECOM Investments (3rd from the left).
Ahmad bin Byat, Executive Chairman of TECOM Investments, said, "Malta was our choice for this project as it is very similar to Dubai in several respects. In terms of strategic location, size, connectivity, access to key markets, and high tourism orientation - both Malta and Dubai share a natural affinity."
SmartCity Malta will attract an investment of at least US $300 million (approx. €206 mln), making this project the largest foreign investment initiative in the ICT sector in Malta. It is projected to generate 4% growth in the Maltese job market.
The project makes Malta a center for world-class activities without any compromise to the high quality of the Mediterranean lifestyle.
Bin Byat added, "The real work starts now. Delivering SmartCity Malta will require enormous commitment and effort from both sides. Based on the strong relationship we have established throughout our discussions, we are confident we can create a successful business relationship with Malta."
Gatt said the project makes Malta "a center for world-class activities providing top-notch career paths and well-paid jobs to our people, without any compromise with the high quality of the Mediterranean lifestyle. This is not limited to ICT specialists though certainly they are an important element of this."
Gatt also commented on the regeneration of Ricasoli and neighbouring towns in the southern area of Malta's Grand Harbour. "The towns around Ricasoli will be making a huge leap forward in the few years ahead of us."
The Malta facility will be the first European outpost for SmartCity. It is expected that global players, a number of which have already demonstrated significant interest in the project, will be able to focus their European operations and business through SmartCity Malta.
Faraidooni said, "Malta, with its promising economic prospects, provides an excellent environment for this groundbreaking project. The complimentary fit of TECOM and Sama Dubai along with the expertise of our local partners will ensure the creation of the world class project, 'SmartCity Malta', in accordance with the best global standards of quality and technology."
Under the terms of the agreement, the government of Malta has agreed to make available nearly 358,000 m² of land to develop the knowledge-based township.
This project will provide a substantial boost to Malta's construction, hospitality, maritime, services and retail sectors. At today's prices SmartCity Malta is expected by 2014 to be making an annual contribution of some €534 million to Malta's GDP. This makes SmartCity Malta the single greatest new contributor to Malta's economy ever to have been secured through foreign direct investment.
Over an eight-year period, SmartCity Malta will create 5,600 jobs with the possibility of increasing to more than 7,000 apart from the several hundred jobs created in the economy as a multiplier effect of the project. Apart from new jobs in Malta's knowledge-industry, SmartCity Malta will bring about new employment opportunities in areas of administration, hospitality, retail, mainten