Future-proof­ing Malta’s econ­omy

Change can be ter­ri­fy­ing and for the most part hu­mans are ill equipped to deal with it. But the days of main­tain­ing the sta­tus quo are over.

The Malta Independent on Sunday - - DEBATE & ANALYSIS - Mr Bar­beri is a direc­tor at EY and leads the EU Ad­vi­sory ser­vices team and EY’s Malta At­trac­tive­ness Sur­vey Ini­tia­tive Si­mon Bar­beri For more in­for­ma­tion on EY Malta’s An­nual At­trac­tive­ness Event and to reg­is­ter visit www.ey­mal­taat­trac­tive­ness.com

Tra­di­tional or­gan­i­sa­tions have mostly built their strate­gies for a world that was more sta­ble. It’s time now to reimag­ine these strate­gies for an en­vi­ron­ment that is be­ing driven by dis­rup­tive tech­nol­ogy and geopo­lit­i­cal change.

Now more than ever before, lead­ers and the gov­ern­ments and or­gan­i­sa­tions they lead must be pre­pared to nav­i­gate un­cer­tainty and em­brace ex­per­i­men­ta­tion to thrive in an en­vi­ron­ment of in­tense, change-driven am­bi­gu­ity.

Ar­ti­fi­cial in­tel­li­gence (AI), au­to­ma­tion, In­ter­net of Things (IoT) and blockchain – these are some of the dis­rup­tive tech­nolo­gies that are chang­ing the world as we know it. They are re­duc­ing the fric­tion and in­ef­fi­cien­cies in mar­kets, and build­ing in added lay­ers of trust and ac­count­abil­ity. They are fos­ter­ing in­no­va­tions that help peo­ple live longer and bet­ter lives, as well as help­ing un­der-served parts of the world gain ac­cess to mi­cro fi­nanc­ing, and al­low­ing com­pa­nies to de­velop new prod­ucts and ser­vices that their cus­tomers are look­ing for. Through these mea­sures, nations are be­ing as­sisted in trans­form­ing the way they serve their cit­i­zens and their place in the global food chain through for­ward-think­ing pol­icy-mak­ing and reg­u­la­tion.

Reg­u­la­tors are seek­ing to un­der­stand and em­brace change and to fig­ure out how to rein­vent them­selves in the face of dig­i­tal dis­rup­tion. In­deed, reg­u­la­tors have been chal­lenged to re­spond by nu­mer­ous de­vel­op­ments in re­cent years. Gig econ­omy plat­forms, such as Uber and Airbnb, have tested ex­ist­ing reg­u­la­tions in ar­eas rang­ing from ho­tel safety to taxi­cab li­cens­ing to over­time pay. The dis­rup­tions now loom­ing on the hori­zon – blockchain con­tracts, driver­less cars, med­i­cal al­go­rithms and more – will strain reg­u­la­tory par­a­digms fur­ther.

None of this should be seen as a threat to Malta’s econ­omy. In fact, there’s al­ready a lot hap­pen­ing that should point to myr­iad op­por­tu­ni­ties open­ing up.

‘Think­ing with­out the box: dis­rup­tion, tech­nol­ogy and FDI’ is this year’s theme for EY Malta’s An­nual At­trac­tive­ness Event. Through a se­ries of key­note ad­dresses, panel dis­cus­sions and break­out ses­sions, the con­fer­ence aims to ex­plore how gov­ern­ment and busi­nesses will har­ness the power of dis­rup­tive in­no­va­tion in or­der to be the dis­rup­tor rather than the dis­rupted.

Now in its sec­ond decade, the event brings to­gether sem­i­nal speak­ers from around the globe and of­fers the 600 par­tic­i­pat­ing del­e­gates the op­por­tu­nity to net­work and feel the coun­try’s eco­nomic and fi­nan­cial pulse. Over 60 speak­ers will ad­dress the con­fer­ence, with key­notes from Prime Min­is­ter Joseph Muscat, Op­po­si­tion Leader Adrian Delia, EY’s Global Blockchain Leader Paul Brody, EY’s Global Dig­i­tal Tech and Amer­i­cas AI Leader Keith Strier, and for­mer BBC Chief News Cor­re­spon­dent Kate Adie and many more.

The day-long event aims to spark ideas and dis­cus­sions cen­tring on the mas­sive par­a­digm shifts that dis­rup­tive tech­nolo­gies are cre­at­ing across sec­tors, and their po­ten­tial to drive in­vest­ment and shape the next wave of Malta’s growth. Top­i­cal break­out ses­sions, live polling and Q&A ses­sions will give del­e­gates the plat­form to share their per­spec­tives and interact with in­dus­try pi­o­neers.

Of course, the find­ings from EY’s An­nual Malta At­trac­tive­ness Sur­vey among for­eign firms and in­vestors al­ready op­er­at­ing in Malta will also be un­veiled at the event. The in­sights are widely re­garded by busi­ness, the me­dia, politi­cians and ma­jor public stake­hold­ers as the key source of in­sight into what makes the coun­try at­trac­tive for in­vest­ment on both na­tional and sec­toral lev­els and the chal­lenges that need to be ad­dressed.

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