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Digital Malta Yearly Consultation Workshops

Publication Date: Jul 29, 2014

Blata l-Bajda, Malta [29/07/2014] In a consultation workshop attended by stakeholders from Government, Business and Citizens, Digital Malta representatives provided an overview of the various initiatives being undertaken whilst also allowing participants to provide suggestions and ideas on specific ICT initiatives that could be included in the Digital Malta Programme of Initiatives for 2015.

Mr. Emanuel Darmanin opening the workshop, provided a stock-take of the initiatives being carried out by different stakeholders related to the ICT sector within the Digital Malta programme of initiatives. In the Digital Government stream, these included Malta’s achievement in ranking first in all 4 indicators of the EU e-Government Benchmark, new systems in the Justice Sector and newly launched online public consultation portal.

From a business perspective, the newly launched MITA Innovation Hub, the Student Start up Award which was earmarked to encourage more students to become entrepreneurs and the e-commerce strategy currently in consultation stage were highlighted. As for the citizens various initiatives such as Student Advantage Scheme, the launch of eSkills Foundation, BeSmart Online and the ENTER project were outlined.

Mr. Darmanin also outlined various key statistics including ICT Contribution towards GDP which as at Quarter 1 of 2014 reached 5.8% an increase of 0.2% from 2013. Statistics issued by NSO for January – February 2014 Malta had 3.5% (5,613) of its full time employment workforce.

The workshop continued with Mr. Jonathan Vassallo Director General from the Ministry for European Affairs and Implementation of the Electoral Manifesto who delivered a presentation on the 38 million euro EU funds allocated to ICT. The presentation provided a brief overview of the scope behind EU funding as well as the structure through which EU funds are administered.

More specifically, the presentation then looked back at the 2007-2013 programming period and identified areas where ICT was identified as a priority. Whilst ICT was specifically identified as a priority on its own merits within the ERDF Operational Programme (OP), within the ESF Operational Programme (OP) ICT was a cross-cutting dimension across all priorities within the OP. In fact under the ESF OP, examples identified include projects whose aim is to enhance skills and competence in ICT as well as project who can have as one of their objectives the promotion of ICT either through training and scholarships offered.

For forthcoming Programming Period (2014-2020), ICT as a sector, is going to be prioritised within the Operational Programmes and similarly as for the 2007-2013 there will be specific investments earmarked under the ERDF whilst under the ESF ICT as a tool is expected to be more and better integrated in proposed projects. It has been highlighted that in terms of percentage allocation, the allocation under the 2014-2020 ERDF programme is expected to increase from circa 2.3% to circa 8% of the ERDF allocation.

The consultation workshop was then segregated into 3 sub-groups discussing the 3 thematic pillars of Digital Malta: Digital Business, Digital Government and Digital Citizen. Throughout these sub groups stakeholders had the time to discuss and share ideas with Digital Malta representatives and other stakeholders.