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SmartCity Malta Plan Unveiled

by Robert Lee, Tax-News.com, London

12 September 2007


The Prime Minister of Malta, Lawrence Gonzi has unveiled the masterplan for SmartCity Malta, a new self-sustained industry township for knowledge-based companies to be developed by Dubai-based SmartCity in partnership with the Government of Malta.

SmartCity officials revealed the components of the SmartCity Malta development following an unveiling ceremony, during a September 10 press conference held at the Dubai Internet City Community Zone at GITEX Technology Week 2007.

Apart from the Prime Minister, the press conference was attended by Austin Gatt, Malta's Minister of Investment, Industry and IT; and Ahmad bin Byat and Abdullatif Almulla, Executive Chairman and CEO respectively of TECOM Investments.

SmartCity Malta, located in Ricasoli, southern Malta, seeks to build a knowledge-based industry cluster, primarily serving the ICT and media sectors.

The masterplan has been developed to facilitate the creation of a complete business and community infrastructure for knowledge-based industries. Its components include intelligent buildings offering office space, as well as residential, retail, hospitality and recreational facilities which provide both a high-quality work environment and lifestyle for knowledge workers.

Fareed Abdulrahman, Executive Director, SmartCity, explained that: "SmartCity Malta will be developed to provide a harmonious and productive environment for knowledge-based companies to develop their business. While companies will benefit from high-quality infrastructure and support systems, knowledge workers will have the ideal environment to work, network and share ideas. At the same time, a rich community life will facilitate an optimum work-life balance."

The main component of the masterplan is a commercial complex that provides over 100,000 square metres of intelligent office space. This complex will form the core business infrastructure for SmartCity Malta's knowledge-industry community.

Over 30% of the land for SmartCity Malta will be open to the public. This will feature green boulevards and avenues, an amphitheatre, a lagoon, a coastal route, and vista points on the edge of a coastal cliff. SmartCity Malta will have three urban squares and a main shopping parade. The highlight of the public space is a lagoon surrounded by a promenade which will have outdoor cafes and restaurants to serve as a meeting point and leisure destination.

Also part of the masterplan is a small-scale conference centre, as well as hotels, catering to the needs of the business community and visitors to the companies based in SmartCity Malta.

A community centre will provide services such as a crèche, health centre, library and outdoor sports facilities such as tennis courts, playgrounds and informal green spaces. The masterplan also features a residential complex. Around half of the residences will be located in the vicinity of the main shopping area, while the rest will consist of villas and townhouses stretching along a coastal footpath.

Being the largest foreign direct investment in the ICT and media sectors in Malta, the project is expected to bring significant benefits to the country's economy. The benefits include those generated through direct developmental activity, as well as inter-industry linkages and multiplier effects.

SmartCity Malta is projected to generate 4% growth in the Maltese job market. In addition to new jobs in the knowledge-based industry, SmartCity Malta will bring employment opportunities to several allied sectors. The project will be the single largest employment generation source in Malta's history.

SmartCity Malta, along with SmartCity Kochi (based in the southern Indian state of Kerala) are the first two projects that form part of the global network of knowledge-based industry hubs SmartCity seeks to develop. This global network is expected to foster productive linkages and tap synergies among knowledge-industry centres worldwide, thereby contributing to economic development.

A comprehensive report in our Intelligence Report series examining offshore e-commerce and online gaming is available in the Lowtax Library at http://www.lowtaxlibrary.com/asp/subs_reports.asp and a description of the report can be seen at http://www.lowtaxlibrary.com/asp/description_report6.asp

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