Episode 5 - Navigating Changing Commercial Landscapes
Roberta: A very warm welcome from my Roberta Lepre, from Weave Consulting the CSR specialists, and also from my co-host, Nadia Pace, Business Consultant for this latest edition of Insights Malta-Ghana series, and for those who are joining us for the first time today, Insights is an initiative aimed at inspiring and supporting entrepreneurs through the sharing of knowledge and best practices and also fostering cross fertilization of ideas.
And so when we are discussing today, we have two very esteemed guests, Mr. Celestino Alvarez-Neira President at European Business Organization in Ghana, as well as David Xuereb, the very dynamic President of the Malta Chamber of Commerce. Last but not least, our resident guests Mr Christopher Busuttil-Delbridge from Evolve Limited. Welcome, everyone. And thank you very much for finding the time to be here with us today. Perhaps Mr. Alvarez-Neiraperhaps we can start with you? Would you like to tell us a little bit about the work of your organization and its mission and objectives?
Celestino: Sure. Well, thank you very much, Roberta. My name is Celestino Alvarez-Neira and I'm presiding the European Business Organization in Ghana. EBO, European Business Organization is a network, is a vast network of European chambers of commerce outside of Europe.
We have today the network 57 branches, out of which 11 are in Africa. So it's composed either of bilateral national chambers, or, and sometimes also, large European companies operating in the countries. The very interesting part of the view is that it's really composed of people that are operating from the field. Companies and businessman with who are on the field, in the field facing daily challenges knowing the market extremely well, and being able to give a point of view and feedback to European institutions and European companies from a very practical pragmatic point of view.
This is the main advantage we have in Europe, as you know, the several European business institutions that are operating out of Europe without [unintelligible], in the countries of, of interest. We are very much the contrary, we are present 100% of the countries of interest. And we are feeding information, practical information to European businesses, in the clearest and most pragmatic and balanced, balanced way.
So, here in Ghana, we jump off chambers, meaning in the board we have the Chamber of Commerce of our countries such as France, Spain, UK, Germany, Netherlands, Hungary, Denmark and soon Malta. I hope once the Chamber of Commerce of Malta in Ghana is established. And we work very closely with the with the European embassies which are present in in this country, including for that sake, the Embassy of Malta and Ghana, and we are we are assisting as much as we can in the what we call, commonly the economic diplomacy, generating reports, helping companies pass a message to the government of Ghana and secure businesses for them.
Roberta: Thank you, impressive mandate, so a lot of work on your lap. Mr Xuereb, perhaps for the benefit of those who are not acquainted so much of the work of the chamber, would you like to give us a very quick overview.
David: Thanks Roberta, thank you all, nice to see you all today. And yes, the Chamber of Commerce is of course, we call ourselves the voice of business. And when we talk about business, we do not necessarily imply revenue, money, or profits or revenue, but we talk about the quality of life of our country that leads to sustainable business. We represent pretty much all sectors of the economy of our country and represent the largest to the smallest sizes of business organizations in Malta. We represent pretty much more than 80% of employment, if you like, people employed with business. We have we are structured in a manner, which is pretty interesting. Our representation is in the form of three verticals, the services area, the manufacturing area, and also the retail area.
But then the real business of the chamber happens through horizontal thematics. And that focus on specific thematics, themes that are a priority for the sustainable development and maintenance of our economy. And that has, that is generating a lot of energy coming not only from chamber staff, but also from the chamber members that contribute towards the thinking, that is pretty much cutting edge and therefore drives and lobbies, the country and this legislation in the appropriate direction. So of course, what we have been doing as of late, just I mean, chamber is 172 years old. Yeah. And I don't look kind of 172 I know, but there's that the age of the chamber. And however, and if I had to look at what's happened in the last couple of months, and the, we have been taking advantage of you like, of a major disrupter, which is called COVID, its clear. And rather than simply seek the interests of the business community, and what we need to do to preserve what it is that is what's driving our economy, is also to think outside the box. And to challenge the thinkers in our country, certainly the policymakers and legislators, the politicians to be able to make those necessary changes that will ensure that our economy remains at a top of its of at the edge of the top of its of its scores, keeping in mind that this, this disruptor has affected all of the countries.
So here at the Chamber of Commerce, therefore is yes a cohort of the top business people in Malta, and whether small, large or medium in all areas of the of the industry, having therefore the best melting pot of ideas, to be able to promote the best sort of suggestions and solutions that will project quality of life in our country through an improved economy.
Roberta: Talking about thinking outside the box, and the disruption caused by COVID, I think you will agree with me that business is all about building relationships and nurturing those relationships. And obviously, the pandemic has affected our ability to do that, in the sense that we are limited as to how much we can network, how much we can interact, how much we can travel as well as looking at doing business at cross border level. So how does one go about doing business still, in the light of the reaction?
Chris: I think as a business operating in both Malta and Ghana, I can give a practical view of what how we are taking and what we're doing.
First of all, there is what you exactly said, the physical presence with traveling is disrupted completely. Which means that how do we do, be in the country? Two things digitally, and through partners? Digitally, obviously, every company has to market itself and so on. We all know what we need to do with partners, there comes the TPO, there comes the chamber, which obviously can help find the right people can help make the connections. And actually, if we were thinking of this before, now it's accelerated.
So for the people, and like-minded with David here that COVID is an accelerator, practically. So it creates opportunities for us to internationalize and digitalize faster than our plans were before. Because now it is a necessity, it is not only a luxury or an additional, you know, you need to do it. So that is how we as a business have been going about it. And I am sure that the Chamber of Commerce in Malta, as well as they do, this is their method, this is what they do. They bring people together, they, you know, lobby for them. So this is exactly the type of people that that are organizations that need to help businesses like ours thrive in both countries.
David: Okay, this is Yeah, this is a really, really interesting subject. And I say interesting because I don't have a magical solution, but certainly very topical, to consider to discuss, be sensitive and then address.
I am faced, I have to admit, I am faced with a serious number of business entrepreneurs who still yearn the ability to conduct business and close business development opportunities in the manner that we used to before COVID. And there's still seems to be, probably there's not just in Malta I would assume, throughout the world, still wish and an ambition to come back to what we used to call normality in the shortest period of time.
Now, whether it's because we've learned how to be with the virus, or because we have achieved herd immunity, or because we are vaccinated and assuming that that would work. So a lot of “ifs” certainly no certainties. And this is, therefore our ability to live with COVID and, conduct our business in a manner that is COVID friendly, if that is better, is really the challenge. When we talk about business with other countries, including Ghana, certainly, as Chris rightfully said, I'm not being able to travel to the country to interact with the people to understand their emotions, to develop the relationship to develop the trust, that eventually would lead to a business relationship that will develop wealth and willingness to the people in both countries ultimately, is no longer possible as we knew it.
Of course, we then realize that we could use Zoom, or we could use Teams or Skype or what have you. Fine. But of course, the ability to use those soft skills that we're used to, we're good at, and we're part and parcel and integral to the manner with which we used to live with each other is gone. It's the screen is a very cold environment to relate with and to. It's great, because you get a lot of things done, but a lot remains missing. So of course, the sensitivity to realize that, that those missing parts needs to be need to be need to be aware, need to be made aware of the people conducting the communication, certainly beyond the fact that beyond the screen, the cold screen, there's also a difference in culture, a difference in the way people use words or people how to interact, how to interpret emotion and reaction, facial body language. That's, hard. And, until such time as actually do travel to other countries, we're going to have to be trained, and let's not kid ourselves, this is not going to come natural to us.
We're going to have to train ourselves to be good at in, you know, filling in those gaps. By means of the skills we were able to learn in the light of the technologies and the abilities that that we have available to us. So when we talk about internationalization apart from choosing which countries we work with, and as we all know, Ghana, through the Chamber of Commerce, through Trade Malta, and also through the priorities that our government is, is giving in the way we reach out. And thank goodness, we are prioritizing our limited efforts to specific locations, and Ghana is one of them. And thanks to the ambassador in Ghana, Jean Claude, who I salute from here, is doing a brilliant job is what is getting us to focus. But what we need to fill in now are all those other missing parts, that that will remain missing until such time as we're able to potentially if ever, start traveling like we used to.
And therefore if we are sensitive, therefore, we need to be humble, and realize that we need help. And that help can only come through of course seeking the experts understanding that we need to we need an expert support and help collateral that will enable us to do what we used to do in a different way. And let's not assume that doing it in a slightly different way just by interacting going on a Zoom call or Teams is going to be enough, especially when we're dealing with complicated cultures.
So the chamber is taking initiative. Maybe this was the reason why it was the Chamber is taking initiative through its internationalization desk, not only to get countries closer to each other and get chambers of commerce closer to each other and sign MOUs. Virtually we're doing that too. That's great. But we also need to support the people who actually close the business deals, the business development directors, the salespeople and so on. On, to have whatever it takes to ensure that they are not missing out or not misinterpreting, if you like, the relationship that they are eager to develop, to ensure that a business deal is actually closes and therefore get us further forward.
Nadia: Very interesting. Mr. Celestino, do you share the same sentiment as Mr. Xuereb?
Celestino: Yes, Absolutely, it really does internal and external aspects right? Integrity, I mean, we remote working, flexible hours, we this is a common practice. In modern days, now we are getting used to it more and more, and I think, I think it's going to be here for the long run.
In the workplace, now, we are experimenting social media and technologies, the use of these technologies to communicate within ourselves within a company or institution. And that, that brings advantages and convenience, which we all know, right, we are just here saving some cost in, in traveling we are able to work with, with people remotely located. And, and we are not measured anymore, our performance is a measure of anymore in the attendance in the office before we were in the office from nine to six, and that was the unit of measure of a worker. Now we will be able obviously to introduce KPIs objectives, which will be will have to be very, very well managed and, and by the people in charge.
Now, culturally speaking from an external point of view, Ghana, it's very, it's actually a very important point for Ghana. Ghana, culturally speaking is a country where people do interact a lot, where we're lucky in several [unintelligible] countries as well, where these interactions are very, very important in order to establish relationship to enforce a relationship we like to meet people, we would like to go out with them for lunches, dinners, drinks, visit to the offices, and that builds the relationship, which is something we're not going to be able to do, obviously, like David was saying, from a screen. Separating us we don't feel the emotions, we do a lot of senses, of touching of feeling and smelling you know, and, and we just adapt now to new senses, which are more hearing, listening, adapting to this to this new to this new reality.
So for countries where, contrary speaking, the contact is important, the lot that have this importance, some dont. It's going to be a challenge. Now there is another particularly in Ghana, in Africa, in general is that you, you often have to be present and push for things to happen. You have to keep on visiting your clients, you have to keep on visiting your suppliers or government bodies, to get paper done work, to follow up constantly, daily, daily, daily by pushing the people. And that is becoming a big problem using Zoom, WebEx and all these interactive tools, because people are obviously not responding as well to a screen than to a physical presence.
Chris: I can assure you, we have similar problems in Malta when it comes to certain departments. Things have been stalled for six months. So it's a common problem everywhere, I think.
Celestino: Might not be the same in America, maybe where people react more to emails. There's so many different cultural differences. British will use the humour, a Chinese don't close a business with without having a heavy lunch within, same in Spain.
David: How do you close business in Ghana?
Celestino: That’s right, the cultural differences that we have to manage well and try to maybe we will end up having lunches in front of a computer.
Nadia: It's something we're most probably going to have to adapt to indeed, and I share your sentiment over here because my background is in business development. And I must say that I do miss traveling quite a lot. And indeed, most of the business scene is usually used to happen outside of the office. And then the office used to sign on the dotted line when it comes to the legal framework, so to speak.
So definitely I can't I have I must admit, I'm finding it quite challenging, even though I don't have an issue to have a conversation of over the camera. However, when it comes even just a solo. I freeze, I must admit so when I see if I have to speak on a camera on my own, I find that quite difficult and quite challenging.
So perhaps even the training and the tools we look for is no they must be even different. The generic training it's not about teaching one how to sell perhaps or even the culture aspects, yes, we can get there but how were we going to overcome this fear? That basically, it's like, we're there. And we need to communicate in a different way in a different manner, whether the lights is, is okay. And whether you're emanating the stress that you need to emanate you behind the camera. So what do you think, which are the two is besides the Zoom, and the teams and the myriad of other platforms that are available?
David: If I may, on this very, super interesting observation, I cannot agree with you more. It's just that what, in my opinion, what we need to do, and this is what we're trying to do at the Chamber of Commerce, is, again, to think outside the box.
Now, when there is a problem, or when there's a disruption, any entrepreneur should look at that as an opportunity. Now, disruption of not able to travel, we've said is a problem. However, there are opportunities as long as one is sensitive enough to do the limitations as you put it Nadia, and find the solutions. Now, let's look at Malta as a small country, I'm sure it's the same in all countries, So Malta has a problem with its current economy with tourism, with its industry, people working from home, there are advantages and disadvantages working from home, especially when one looks at the disruption even in the way society works. But that's maybe another subject for another day, is actually quite interesting to discuss and be sensitive to. However, when we talk about limitations or inability or lack of skills, in a way, when one is in front of a camera, especially if there's no audience, let alone, interpreting the emotion of others, especially when you're not seeing others. That's even worse, as you said, we are living in a country where some industries have a problem of a limitation with skills like this. And there are industries who are full of those skills, and have a limited amount of things to do. So the chamber, as you might have figured out is supporting the arts and entertainment industry, about 1000, now for Malta, a big number 1400, even up to 6000. potential members, if you look at the part timers, and these are people who in their spare time, or in their full time, spend time doing exactly what we were doing, that is you know, speak to a camera, or engage with emotions that you're not able to see, or use senses more than others to be able to, to engage and to be impactful. That's what these people do.
First, in an entertainment environment. Here we are in a situation where business and community and schooling and education and all those other activities that are so important to us need the skills of that part of our organization, that is has limited amounts of things to do for obvious reasons, social distancing, and so on is not enabling them to conduct much economic activity, but have the skills to be able to enable to enable us to be better at what we feel we are weak at.
So if one thing is outside the box, and one need, and another need to actually put together makes a win-win situation here. All we need is the ability not to box industry up in certain ways not to have CEOs, or CFOs, or business development directors to assume that they will be doing or leading their businesses in the same way. Be humble enough to understand where the limitations are, and seek the resources to address those limitations. And as I said, these limitations exist. What we are trying to do as a Chamber is to try and voice these high level opportunities for the individual businesses to connect up and we eventually do business and ultimately up their game.
This is really, really, really interesting. This is the same with people working from home, and whether you know, Zoom or Teams or what have you is teleworking is enough. Some people think is just a question of money, and who pays for air conditioning who pays for the chair or who pays for health and safety? That is a very limited way of looking at what the real issues with teleworking is really about, and Celestino, of course, rightfully pointed at CEOs and CFOs and managers being able to measure are not on solely on the basis of time, but more on the basis of KPIs, Celestino said. And that's where the difficulty is. We need to train our middle management or management to start to enable to trust their people. And they trust them because they know what to expect, rather than simply looking at what are some of these in 8 and out at 4.30 or five, that's easy.
I mean, being able to measure output on a day to day basis, even remotely, that’s harder but that's what managers need to be trained.
Nadia: Extremely interesting. Celestino Do you find the same similarities is perhaps collaboration across industries where one industry helping another, even in Ghana within the Ghana context?
Celestino: Yeah, it's very much, industrial, it's a focus industry will need to have. We did the same with the Chambers that that are part of EPO. Some industries can actually manage the current situation. Some others can’t, hospitality, tourism, there's nothing much we can do, and we cannot get a return on somebody through a screen. We can organize virtual visits, but that's quite limited.
Some industries, of course, are taking, seizing the opportunity to change the way they are working, and a lot of opportunities for them to do that. Ultimately, it will increase the communication skills of, of each person. It's not easy to be in front of a screen and speak during a few minutes without a two way communication with a person which happens in each physical interaction, we, we interrupt the other person we comment we have a body language, that's adds to the conversation a lot, it's quite a challenge, to express an idea to, push a thoughts to a group of people through a screen.
But that's, a skill that's going to have to be developed in, in the corporate world. And it's actually a great a great opportunity for, recruiters to actually develop the skill. Without space with maybe a particular attention to what's around them to the to the background appearance to the to the body language. Because now we are left with these two senses, which are hearing and the hearing and the vision, we have to capitalize on that and, and make the most of it,
Chris: I predict that the evolution of the camera is going to be to full body. So rather than just seeing the face like this, to be like something you know, much further back, where you can see the body posture where you can actually communicate with your entire body, which is very important.
Maybe a room-view, who knows with a headset and you can walk around, you know, but this can be done today, the technology exists. Why not? I mean, my kids go to school. And the teachers have been given a headset and a webcam. And all the teachers are going to transmit live the entire lessons of the day. So all the students who cannot go to the school will still see their teacher here, the teacher with the headset, live, real time from the morning to the evening. Why can’t we do it in a meeting?
Celestino: And we're not far, Christopher, to having virtual meeting places as well. I guess this meeting in a couple of years, maybe it would be in a virtual meeting room, where as we said, we will we will be wearing masks. And we will have a view of the entire body of each person in a in a context in a room that probably will come very soon. Yes, yes.
Charis: 100%. I agree and it's needed. Because what the points that were raised, were spot on, you communicate more 80% of the communication is not the spoken word. We all know that, It's a given. So it's the context is the body language, the posture everything, you know, unfortunately, the touch still, we can’t do it for now. But I'm a person who communicates a lot through touch and it's been a big problem for me through COVID.
But looks there's I think there's another version, and another add on to what David was saying. I loved hearing the arts skill sets being brought into the business picture. I love it because it creates synergies and a new way of doing things. In fact, I took notes, even you know, to invite arts people to retrain us in drama, a new way of communication and expressions. It's fantastic. Definitely.
Another point I would like maybe to just point out without taking too much time is completely different. But it also brings two different types of businesses together. One is the cash rich business typical cash rich business that has seen its business decimated, which is hospitality. So hospitality are still sitting on piles of cash, they cannot do anything with them. And then there's other businesses that like, you know, SMEs, that still are going on, they have a niche market, they have a captive market, but their customers they don't have enough resources or access to finance because of all the due diligence and KYC's and what not now. So imagine someone who needs cash, someone who has cash. This guy has businesses, this guy has no business, bring them together, use this cash, use this business and create synergies for them. So the arts, cash rich, cash poor, some help, bring everything together and the Chamber [unintelligible] perfectly perfect melting pots, where these come, these come to cluster together as big as functional new functional business units.
Roberta: Chris, I think this is extremely interesting, also because there is heaps of research which points to the fact that adequate communication skills that are, let's say, a necessary prerequisite to attract investment. So when investors sort of assess where they're going to put their money, so to speak, proper communication skills, including verbal communication skills are one of the criteria, which determines the success or otherwise, of that of that collaboration.
So I think I think it's very interesting how these two aspects can actually come together. To sustain just a little based upon what has already been mentioned, the issue of intercultural sensitivity, and how challenging that is to digital means. How are we going to go about this, because I think on the face to face basis, we are all relatively sensitive to these differences. And we will prepare them to be able to adequately cater for these differences, but do we forget that we have these differences when we're behind the screen?
David: On the score, we have been talking about intercultural preparedness for quite a while now, and this was before COVID. And this was not really about an intercultural connection, because we are going to have to communicate with our international counterparts on Zoom or Skype or, or things whatever. It was because Malta has for the last number of years now become seriously cosmopolitan, with people from different races, different religions, different countries, different beliefs, and different work ethics, ethical standards. And we were, I think, as a country too busy filling in our production lines, like with with people, whether they be in services, manufacturing, or retail, and not realizing that what we were doing that which was good, we were not quite preparing the international person to the Maltese culture. And worse off, not preparing the Maltese to the international, to the different culture either to now is forming part of one's workplace or one's entertainment space.
And we, at some stage took some, you know, dramatic, maybe positions in trying to defend our culture as being the one and only as this way because you know, our country. The reality is that most of the inefficiencies that existed in businesses before COVID partly happened because there was a lack of teamwork and lack of alignment, and lack of commonality and vision between the different parts of the engine, which included people who had different beliefs and different visions in different cultures.
So we were pleading to government at the time to invest in in systems [unintelligible], we were also pleading to our members to invest in the need for this integration. Unfortunately, because we were too busy with our economy until the end of last year, beginning of this year, this was certainly a very low ranking priority in in what it is that we did and what actions we should take from an HR or business efficiency point of view.
Clearly now here we are very, rather slow in what we do. Our economy is of course slower, we have time to think. We of course think of internationalization as being a very important route to develop our economy. And of course, talking about not only speaking to the English, or to the Italians or to the Spanish who probably are people we understand a bit more because we have had much more interaction. But we’re dealing with other cultures that we need to learn how to live with and how to relate to. And of course, doing it over media, which is way harder than doing and interpersonally.
So the need is there, even if we are ever jabbed and never, you know vaccinated and therefore immune to COVID and COVID. As part of our history books, let's say, I doubt this was going to happen, but let's say that's going to happen. Still, the need for us to use this time to invest in the appreciation of and in the education of and therefore in the support of multicultural societies is actually very important. As a chamber, concluded with us as a chamber, I have been harping on the needs to have our boards and our council, well represented real well represented by women. Yeah? Because the chamber has historically been dominated by men. And we are making serious headway. So we have seen the serious influence of women on whatever the chamber has been doing in the last couple of months. And they are one of the reasons why the chamber has been rather good, withy what we did.
But now, that is not enough, we are talking about chambers of commerce that truly represents the cultural, the multi, multi interest, if that is the term. Multi interest composition of our business community. And that does not only include women, but also includes people who are international or have different cultural beliefs that are different religions, that certainly have different priorities and values. Because those today, whether we like it or not, is what is the influence part of the melting pot of what our economy looks like today, and whether what our economy will develop into tomorrow, and unless we are sensitive to address those needs, and more of those needs, and direct those things and lobby appropriately, then we will lag behind, you know, the vision and the mission and therefore the actual objectives of our country.
Roberta: Mr. Alverez-Neira, I think this element of particular preparedness is very much present in the work of your organization?
Celestino: Sure, and I will concur with David in saying, I would like to add that Malta actually has great advantages compared to other European countries in internationalisation skills. When your minister came to Ghana, a few months ago, Minister of Economy, Mr. Silvio, he stated something that surprised me, I didn't realize that you are now the only country in Europe that use English as an official language now that the Brexit is happening. As the language of international business, the most commonly used, and you use it much better than other countries where it becomes, where it is a second language.
You have a young cultural melting pot, surely, you are I think you're very open to international business much more than other countries. I'm thinking of France, I'm a French, it's not a criticism, I think but French people when they export themselves, you recognize them easily. It's hard for them to change the accents. Coming from a very strong cultural frame sometimes that that makes the interaction with other people very difficult. In Spain, we don't think very friendly English accent is very strong, it's sometimes difficult to get understood. I think Malta has a very great advantage in, in having English as a first official language, as the official emissary.
You also are in a very geostrategic position, you're in the middle of you're the centre of Europe, Middle East Africa, open to these three regions, with great ambitions and possibilities. I really do believe that Malta has got to play on that. And, and is probably a step ahead of other European countries in internationalizing, the business, really.
Roberta: Chris, What's your reaction to all of this? You're, you're nodding. So I'm assuming you agree. I am agreeing.
Chris: I've travelled to Ghana many times, and I found a culture where I could interact immediately. This is from experience I felt at home from day one. We have a similar value system, speak English. So both countries have it as a second language, as was mentioned, and I found it extremely easy. And WhatsApp or messages, are replied to immediately, emails as well help from authorities, I found a good representation, the High Commission. So honestly, any business that Ghana, Malta wants to do business with the both countries use each country as a stepping stone. It's there. And here we have two organizations, the EPO and the Chamber that are central together with other organizations and our diplomatic representations that are really there to help us I found a lot of help, why shouldn't others? And so that is really, really I encourage everyone to look at this. Internationalization is key. I mean, we have to, we cannot stay in one place nowadays. It is to spread the risk.
So based on that, I think I can thank… on my behalf for this opportunity and its lovely to share these thoughts and ideas, and I hope that they of help to anyone listening to this series of programs.
Nadia: And you inspire most Chris, as well, because I know that through each and every challenge, you find an opportunity. And I think and as a closing remark, perhaps thinking going forward now for most businesses, rather than, let's find new ways of collaborating together, let's like, David Xuereb mentioned and even Celestino that basically, if we find the opportunities between and across different industries, perhaps even across different countries, and it's true, it's difficult, and it's going to take us long. So we really need a deep, long breath, because it's not going to go away anytime soon. But rather than looking at the looking backwards, let's keep on moving forwards, one step at the same, you know, small, little steps, but at least we're moving forward instead of backwards. And perhaps a closing remark from yourself, Mr. David Xuereb.
David: First of all, thank you for the invite. I certainly, liked Chris’ point about the need for internationalization, it comes natural to some, but I dare say not so natural to many. And I'm being frank and honest. And I certainly, as Chris, appeal to all of those who are listening to us to consider internationalization as a as a necessity, it will not be easy and will not be fast either it needs time.
But investment in internationalization in areas which, which offer help, and Ghana certainly is one of them, where remote is very well connected with Ghana, and is a step in the right direction, if one is looking at the sustainability and resilience of one's business. Without that, assuming that business growth is going to happen solely from local consumption is very short lived. And we need to steer away from the comfort of the very strong economy we enjoyed over the last five to six years, and look at the need of us being able to use technology, but also to reach out to all those many, many, many more opportunities out there in a manner which is supported and that's why trade Malta is there to support businesses do exactly that. That's why the Chamber of Commerce is there. Trade Malta as the partnership that we have with government. So we're really pretty much in there. And any time spent in the investment in internationalization although something don't think and may be difficult in the beginning, there's actually quite an interesting route actually enriching to any person and very then very, very positive, when one is able to break ground and sign the first the first contract.
After that, after having broken into the relationships and developed the trust levels that one expects, and with the support of the of the people that matter, then it becomes a truly enriching and positive experience looking back, one would not want to think any other way.
Nadia: Thank you Mr Xuereb. Celestino.
Celestino: Well, very much willing and happy to assist in the trade relations between Ghana and Malta. You are very lucky here you're very good Chamber of Commerce of Malta and Ghana. You have a great Ambassador Jean Claude is doing an excellent job he knows the country so well. He is of help for sure for any, any trade activities that matter may have in Ghana, the business forum that happened a few months ago was extremely positive and conclusive.
The first contact and trust was taking effectively physically. Now we have to, to, to build on that from with the tools we have, virtual communications and follow up using our electronic tools. This is what we are left with. And hopefully we will use that to the best we increase our skills in depth and we will be able to close business in the same way we used to call it to close it when we were using all our senses.
Nadia: Thank you very much. Thank you, everyone. Thank you for accepting our invitation. Thank you Roberta.