What We Think
June 17, 2020
Chart of the Week (25) - Digital Economy
The importance of technology in our daily lives has never been so tested as much as in recent months; the current COVID-19 pandemic has gone to reinforce its significance to our being and functioning.
For more than two decades Malta has been investing heavily in the creation of a fully-fledged digital economy, with the sector today accounting for around 9% of GDP and employing more than 10,000 people. Beyond the direct economic contribution, the sector is also a critical enabler for other key sectors of the Maltese economy, such as remote gaming and financial services.
In the latest Digital Economy and Society Index (DESI) for 2020, published by the European Commission, Malta ranked 5th out of the 28 EU Member States; up two places over 2018. DESI is a composite index that summarises relevant indicators on Europe’s digital performance and tracks the evolution of EU Member States in digital competitiveness.
Over the past year, all EU countries improved their digital performance. Malta performed above the EU average in all five dimensions of the index, these being connectivity, human capital, use of internet services, the integration of digital technology and digital public services.
Malta performs well on broadband connectivity. The country records good scores on human capital, especially because of the high share of ICT specialists and ICT graduates, while also the involvement of women in the digital sector is gradually increasing. More and more people in Malta use the internet and engage in a number of activities. Maltese businesses rank first on the use of big data, and the overall level of business digitisation is relatively high. At the same time, the country’s performance in digital public services continues to be negatively affected by the low use of e-government services by the general public. Low progress on open data policies is another reason for Malta falling behind other EU Member States.
These latest results show that Malta is making good progress in the digital space, however a number of challenges remain. Malta’s attractiveness hinges on our capacity to continue improving and in our continuous transition to a digital society. Digital transformation needs to remain a central tenant of our recovery plan and national vision.