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 kilometres off the southern coast of Sicily and 290 kilometres north of the shores of North Africa. Malta has a temperate Mediterranean climate. Winters are mild and summers are warm, with long periods of sunshine. Autumn and spring are mild. The lowest temperatures occur between December and February and the highest in July and August. During daytime, winter temperatures rarely fall below 10 degrees centigrade. The mean temperature in the winter is between 17 and 22 degrees centigrade and the mean temperature in the summer is between 32 and 35 degrees centigrade.
The population of Malta, including Gozo, is approximately 418,000. A recently carried out census revealed that there are 1,322 persons per square kilometre in Malta. However, the annual demographic growth is fairly modest at 0.7 percent. The national language of Malta is Maltese, but Malta has two official languages, Maltese and English. 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. Most of the educated Maltese can speak fluent Maltese, English, and Italian.
Government structure and economic climate
Malta has a diversified free-market economy which mainly relies on tourism, manufacturing and financial services. Government encourages foreign investment and Malta enjoys good industrial relations. Malta also provides numerous financial incentives and maintains a tax regime that encourages 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. In addition, Malta’s laws are in line with EU directives. The Island’s potential advantages attract other industries such as the freeport industry and the film industry.
Provisional estimates indicate that the nominal Gross Domestic Product in 2013 amounted to €7.2 billion, an increase of 4.4% when compared to 2012. In real terms, GDP went up by 2.4%. Following Malta’s EU membership in 2004 and the adoption of the euro currency in 2008, the Maltese Government has been promoting a restructuring of the Maltese economy and liberalisation of various markets.
Over the last decade, the Government committed itself to the privatisation of various state owned companies, including one of Malta’s two largest banks (taken over by HSBC), the postal services, Malta International Airport, the National lottery, the Freeport, the Enemalta gas concession, maritime assets and the national telecommunications. In addition, other governmental entities such as the drydocks, Gozo Channel Co. Ltd, Public Broadcasting Services and Airmalta plc have been fully restructured or are in the process of restructuring.
As the Island does not have significant natural resources, the manufacturing, financial services and tourism industries are the Island’s principal industries. Manufacturing contributed to about 15% of Malta’s gross value added (GVA), while financial and insurance activities’ contribution to GVA amounted to about 10%. Tourism directly accounts for more than 15% of Malta’s GDP, but various sources refer to higher figures to take into account indirect multiplier effects.
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