Malta was categorised as being among the ‘fastest growing’ European digital economies by the European Digital and Society Index (DESI). This index summarises the European Union’s digital performance and tracks the evolution of EU Member States in digital competitiveness. This index is categorised into five main elements: connectivity, human capital, use of internet, integration of digital technology and digital public services.
Malta’s scores are above EU average and Malta’s growth rate is faster than that of the EU as a whole. Malta performs best in the first category, connectivity. It ranks 9th among EU countries and well above EU average. Malta is particularly strong in broadband deployment and take up. All Maltese households have access to fixed broadband and local networks provide at least 30Mbps. However, Malta has room for improvement in provision of 4G mobile services. Although 4G is available for 75% of the population, participation in mobile broadband services is below EU average.
In the human capital category, Malta has moved up two places since 2015, ranking 15th amongst EU countries. Although only 52% of individuals have at least basic digital skills, which is slightly below the 55% European average, ICT specialist have a relatively high share in the workforce, when compared to other Member States.
In the third category, which examined use of internet, Malta came in 11th place. Studies show that Malta outperforms the EU in online banking and shopping. Internet users engage in a broad range of online activities, such as reading the news online, listening to music, watching films and playing games online, as well as using the internet to communicate via voice or video calls, or through social networks. Engagement in these activities is higher than the EU average.
Malta has a large potential for growth in the fourth category, which is integration of digital technology, especially with regards to the use of e-invoices, e-commerce turnover and information sharing. In the commercial field, Malta ranks very high in cross-border online selling, the use of RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) and social media.
In the last category, which is digital public services, Malta is a cut above the average in the sophistication of online public services and in online service completion. However, the percentage of the population which makes use of eGovernment services is relatively low.
These elements have been elaborated upon in the Digital Malta 2014-2020 strategy currently being implemented by the Malta Information Technology Agency and the Malta Communications Authority. Currently in its third year, the Digital Malta Governing Board is predicting further growth in this area and increased investment in ICT.