Malta, officially the Republic of Malta, is a southern European country and consists of an archipelago of three islands (Malta, Gozo and Comino), situated centrally in the Mediterranean, 93 km south of Sicily and 288 km north-east of Tunisia, thus linking Europe, North Africa and Middle East. Malta’s unique position affords easy access to these markets and beyond.
Malta covers just over 316 km² in land area, making it one of Europe’s smallest and one of Europe’s most densely populated countries. Its capital is Valletta and Maltese is the national language and a co-official language, alongside English.
The distance in Malta from North West to South East is about 27 km, with 14.5 km width in an n E/W direction. Malta has neither mountains nor rivers and the island is characterized by a series of low hills with terraced fields. The shoreline which is 317 km long has many bay and harbours, with a good selection of small sandy beaches and rocky coves.
Throughout history, Malta’s location has given it great strategic importance and a sequence of powers including the Phoenicians, Greeks, Romans, Knights of St John, French and British have all ruled the islands. Malta gained independence from the United Kingdom in 1964 and became a Republic in 1974, whilst retaining membership in the Commonwealth of Nations. It is a member of the United Nations (since 1964) and a member of the European Union (since 2004). Malta is also party to the Schengen Agreement (since 2007) and a member of the euro zone (since 2008). Malta is known for its world heritage sites, most prominently the Megalithic Temples which are the oldest free-standing structures in Europe.
Malta’s coastline is well indented with natural harbours as well established ports. Historically, these ports have established the islands as a centre for Mediterranean commerce, combining old world charm with Modern port facilities. At the centre of countless shipping routes, these ports provide a wide variety of professional shipping services to value to major commercial entities. The Grand Harbour of Valletta is Malta’s main port, and one of the spectacular natural deep water harbours in the Mediterranean. The Malta Freeport, situated at the south-eastern tip of Malta, has become an important transhipment centre in the Mediterranean. Both ports offers a comprehensive service covering practically all maritime requirements, service that reflects the care, commitment and knowledge that the Maltese maritime community is today well renowned for.
In addition, Malta is readily accessible from major European and North African destinations and has direct air links to most European and North African cities, Middle East and Arab Gulf States.
Political and Administrative scenario: The Maltese islands are politically and economically stable, with a sound legal and financial framework. Industry and exports, information technology, tourism and financial services are the pillars of the Maltese economy. The country’s communication facilities are excellent, with a highly sophisticated digital telecommunications infrastructure that ensures a global business environment at all times.
The climate provides a perfect living and working environment. There are no extremes temperatures, with the average winter temperature rising up to 12-°C (54-°F). This coupled with a rich cultural heritage, historic trading and business traditions, makes Malta a reliable centre for Mediterranean commerce.
Time: Malta is on central European time (CET) that is one hour ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) in winter and two hours from the last Sunday in March until the last Sunday in October.
The national currency is the Euro.
The resident population of Malta, which includes foreigners residing in Malta for at least a year, as of 27 November 2005 was estimated at 404,039 of whom 200,715 (49.7%) were male and 203,324 (50.3%) were female. Of these, 17.1 per cent were aged 14 and under, 68.2 per cent were within the 15–64 age brackets whilst the remaining 13.7 per cent were 65 years and over. At 2008, the population was estimated at 413,609.