Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

Good morning, and welcome to the Ministry for Foreign Affairs and Trade Promotion. It is my pleasure to be addressing this information seminar, which will be providing valuable insight to Malta-based companies on the business opportunities that are currently available in the Algerian market.

At the outset I would like to warmly welcome the Ambassador of Algeria accredited to Malta, His Excellency Abdelhamid Senouci Bereksi, while thanking you all for attending, particularly those who have travelled to Malta, including our Honorary Consul in Algiers, Mr Jerome Spiteri.

Seminars of this nature have become a regular staple of the work undertaken by my Ministry, which is constantly exploring new ways to help Maltese companies internationalise their operations. In this respect, I am pleased to report that, from the feedback that this Ministry is receiving from local commercial stakeholders, such events are yielding very positive results.

I am certain that this positive experience will be repeated once again in terms of the Algerian market, which offers many interesting opportunities for Malta-based businesses.

Malta and Algeria have enjoyed strong, long-standing relations ever since they were established in 1975. In recent years, our countries have actively engaged in the enhancement of bilateral relations with renewed energy.

Indeed, this strong engagement resulted in the opening of the Maltese Consulate General in Algiers in 2014, followed by the official visit of the Prime Minister of Malta, Joseph Muscat, to Algiers in November 2015, and by the State Visit by the President of Malta, Her Excellency Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca, in January 2016. 

Further high-level visits ensued, where discussions centred around possible cooperation in several fields including construction, tourism infrastructure and hotel management, education, health, renewable energy, aquaculture, digital economy, and medical tourism.

I myself had the opportunity to visit Algeria last January, when I discussed with my counterpart, Minister Abdelkader Messahel, issues such as the reactivation of the Malta-Algeria Joint Commission and the need to enhance connectivity between our countries.

We also touched upon the importance of ensuring close cooperation in regional fora, such as the 5+5 Western Mediterranean Dialogue, the Presidency of which is currently shared between Malta and Algeria.

Discussions are currently underway as Malta prepares to host another session of the Malta-Algeria Joint Commission later this year, with the preparatory meetings scheduled to take place in October. The reconvening of this Joint Commission will be an important milestone in the relations between our two countries, especially when one considers that a Commission meeting was last held in 1988.

A number of important Memoranda of Understanding and Agreements were recently signed between Malta and Algeria, including a Memorandum of Understanding on Political Consultations, one on the Abolition of Visa for Nationals Holding Diplomatic and Official Passports, and an Air Services Agreement.

Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

Malta has continued to enhance its reputation as a strong and credible partner for business cooperation, in view of its recent economic stability and commercial initiatives. Recent reports have shown that Malta’s Gross Domestic Product grew by no less than 6.6 per cent in 2017, with growth expected to remain high in 2018. This growth was mainly generated by an increase in investment in a variety of sectors.

Nevertheless, I strongly believe that we can do more, especially in terms of cooperation within our neighbourhood.

The avenues for further cooperation are many. Malta has, by way of example, gained a solid reputation in advanced manufacturing, which includes precision engineering, pharmaceuticals, and miscellaneous edible products, among others.

Complimenting this manufacturing capacity is Malta’s proven ability to serve as a logistics hub through its air and maritime connections spanning many destinations across the globe, particularly the European continent. This offers significant potential for collaboration, particularly for Algerian companies that are seeking the most effective ways of exploring new business opportunities in the European market.

We have registered very positively in terms of tourism. Besides offering attractive packages of leisure to our visitors all year round, Malta is also highly sought for conferences, meetings and exhibitions, as well as culture and English-language learning.

Still being grateful for such success, Malta continuously seeks to establish new partnerships in the tourism sector. Besides exploring new avenues for cooperation at a bilateral level, I believe that Malta and Algeria can strengthen their partnership through their active involvement in regional fora and organisations such as the Mediterranean Tourism Foundation, which already bears a strong rapport with our two countries.

Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

In conclusion, I would like to thank Malta’s Ambassador to Algeria, Her Excellency Philo Meli, for her instrumental role in making this seminar possible.

I also wish to express my appreciation towards Trade Malta for the dedication that they have shown towards making this event a success.

I am convinced that the valuable insight that will be provided today will not only rest with strengthening the relationship between Malta and Algeria, but will also pave the way for a more prosperous future for our citizens.Thank you.

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