Phase one of the SmartCity Malta technology park was launched yesterday by Ahmad Bin Byat, Executive Chairman of Dubai-based Tecom Investments and Chairman of SmartCity, and Dr Lawrence Gonzi, Prime Minister of Malta.
The on-site ceremony for the joint venture between SmartCity and the Government of Malta was attended by Dr Austin Gatt, Malta's Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Communications, and Fareed Abdulrahman, CEO of SmartCity and acting CEO of SmartCity Malta and SmartCity Kochi. Top government officials from both countries and more than 500 invited guests were also present.
Since the signing of an agreement between SmartCity and the Government of Malta in April 2007 the $300 million (Dh1.1bn) project has attracted interest from the international ICT community – particularly in the Mediterranean region – and has attracted key global business partners.
Phase one will cater to the knowledge-based community's demand for office space, shopping boulevards and residential units. The 20,034 sq m allocated to the ICT and media sectors will provide intelligent infrastructure and premium support services.
"My government and I are delighted to participate in this launch, which confirms that the SmartCity project is progressing according to its ambitious timeframes," said Gonzi. "The energy of this development matches our enthusiasm. All stakeholders in Malta have quickly appreciated the importance of this project.
"We have all pulled on the same rope because of our shared belief and commitment to SmartCity Malta. I urge everyone involved to do everything in their power to see this effort through."
Bin Byat said: "It is an honour to be part of the launch. We envisage all SmartCity entities to evolve as thriving centres of excellence for knowledge-based industries in their respective regions. The SmartCity concept is based on the successful business models of Dubai Internet City, Dubai Media City and Dubai Knowledge Village under the Tecom umbrella. Within the nine clusters of Tecom Investment Parks in Dubai more than 5,000 companies have set up their regional operations. We aim to set up new locations soon, complementing our offices in China, the US, the UAE and India.
"SmartCity has the ability to tap into global markets and extend its partnership with existing associates for mutual expansion."
Gatt said: "Malta and its new global clients rely on our educational institutions to complete our effort to truly become an ICT centre of excellence. I call upon all leaders in the educational and business communities here to renew the national effort to prepare our young people for the opportunity being built here."
Abdulrahman said: "We have established a local management team at SmartCity Malta, which will collaborate with the team based at the SmartCity headquarters in Dubai to attract IT and media firms that are keen to operate out of Europe.