The Malta Independent 18 November 2018, Sunday

Malta ranks high in the European Commission’s digital economy and society index

Saturday, 27 February 2016, 15:38 Last update: about 4 years ago

Parliamentary Secretary for Competitiveness and Economic Growth Josè Herrera today noted with satisfaction the progress being registered by Malta as rated in the Digital Economy and Society Index (DESI) recently published by the European Commission where Malta placed in the ‘running ahead’ cluster of EU countries.

Malta has scored above the EU average and, more importantly, Malta’s overall score has grown faster than that of the EU as a whole. Other countries that have ranked similarly include countries such as Austria, Germany, Estonia and the Netherlands. This shows our country is amongst the leaders in connectivity and the use of internet confirming the strength of our communications infrastructure. 

Malta is performing best in terms of connectivity, where 100% of Maltese households are covered by fixed broadband with a minimum speed of 30Mbps, whilst take up of such services is ‘well above the EU average’, as confirmed by this Index.

In terms of human capital, that is, the number of citizens engaging with the Internet, Malta has improved its ranking by two places. The index shows that whilst only 52% of Maltese individuals have at least basic digital skills (EU average 55%); however ICT specialists have a relatively high share in the workforce at 4.6% when compared to the EU average of 3.7%.

With regards to the use of the Internet, Maltese users have continued to engage in a broad range of online activities. Despite the fact that a number of Maltese individuals having basic digital skills is slightly below the EU average, the level of engagement by the Maltese is higher than the EU average. Most interesting, however, is that Malta is outperforming the rest of the EU in terms of online banking and shopping. On the business side, the index positively reports that ‘26% of enterprises use social media and the percentage of SMEs selling online to other EU member states is also high at 12%.’

Dr Herrera praised the good work the Malta Communications Authority (MCA) and the Malta Information Technology Agency (MITA) are doing for Malta to reap such positive results. It is through this effort and momentum that the Government launched the Digital Malta Strategy with a considerable number of initiatives that are resulting to be successful.

The Digital Malta strategy is now in its third year and through the Digital Malta Governing Board the Parliamentary Secretariat will shortly be achieving even better results. This augurs well for future investment in ICT. Herrera believes that the strength in ICT is one of the essential pillars for top quality Financial Services and Gaming Industry and opens new avenues for increased added value. The Government intends to push further the ICT sector for the benefit of its citizens and will continue to launch initiatives aimed at reducing the digital divide.

 

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