Malaga enjoys a series of natural advantages due to its geographic location, climate (an average of 307 sunny days a year), infrastructures, communications and access links, among which the airport (because of the high number of passengers and flights it handles), port and high-speed railway station stand out.
Access to the sea, the Mediterranean in the case of Malaga. Any investor should value this factor very positively, regardless of whether or not access to the sea is required. This indicator reflects a higher degree of openness to international trade than in other areas.
Malaga has been leading economic growth in recent years. Despite the crisis which has led to negative consequences in both employment and the closure of companies, making it difficult for them to survive, it has become a point of reference for the whole of Andalusia. A slowdown in growth is forecast for 2016, precisely because Malaga’s growth rates remained above the regional average during the harshest years of the crisis. In any event, this does not mean economic activity will stop growing, rather that it will do so at a lower rate.
It should be noted that:
Malaga has not slipped from its position in the ranking as regards the creation of companies, which demonstrates the city’s entrepreneurial and innovative spirit. This will no doubt facilitate and favour investments in the territory and its receptiveness to capital inflows and new activities.
Similarly, Malaga continues to be the province which contributes most to Andalusia’s tax collection figures.
There was a surplus in Malaga’s balance of trade at the end of 2015, which reflects some very positive data which has become the normal trend in recent years.
There was a year-on-year increase of 20.5% in imports to the province, while exports rose by 14.5%.
Population from a labour market standpoint. Malaga has a medium-high cultural and academic attainment level which favours access to a qualified labour force. The existence of an Andalusian university system and the role played by the University of Malaga itself make it an attractive destination for investors.
Furthermore, the degree of openness of Malaga’s economy should be mentioned. Although lower than what might be desirable, the internationalisation indices of Malaga-based companies reveal a concern for opening up markets and the economy to make it more competitive.
The Malaga Local Authority has put into place initiatives aimed at opening Malaga up to the outside world. Malaga Open for Business or the Club Malaga Valley initiative reflect this ongoing effort to position Malaga at the level of investors. These positive measures also reflect the local authority’s capacity and effectiveness, thereby increasing trust among investors.
The capital city of Malaga has 8,000,000square metres of industrial land spread out over the city’s 16 industrial estates, according to the Province of Malaga Association of Industrial and Commercial Estates and Parks (APOMA). The lack of industrial land was a serious drawback in the past for investments in Malaga. However, one in five industrial buildings have been left empty by the crisis. In general terms, this matter can be viewed positively and put forward as a key strength. Along the same lines, it is worth mentioning other especially attractive spaces for investors, like the Andalusia Technology Park (Parque Tecnológico de Andalucía). It is being enlarged with sites that can be boosted thanks to the Urban Space Initiative, which is accompanying the revitalisation of different areas with outright grants available as incentives to different companies setting up in Malaga.
The revitalisation plans for other areas, particularly the historic city centre, are favouring differentiated investment zones with direct support by the local authority. The recently presented SOHO area can be highlighted in this regard.
The network of company incubators available placed at the service of entrepreneurs throughout the city which also serve to promote the entrepreneurial spirit should likewise be singled out.
Tourism, as Malaga’s main source of revenue, has made it possible to open up the mentality of Malaga society, increase its receptiveness to external and foreign markets and enhance its flexibility when dealing with “new arrivals”, who are welcomed from both an individual as well as a business perspective.
Technological and knowledge-based environment. One of the attractions that is gaining importance in the province has to do with generation of technology and knowledge. As a matter of fact, it is one of the selling points of Malaga Open for Business, whose main supports include the university, the Malaga Technology Park – a cluster of companies – and the Malaga Valley initiative.
As regards the economic players active in Malaga, positive cohesion can be observed among the various instruments used to promote business growth. These include business organisations, among which the CEM should be highlighted due to the members it represents and its ability to bring together industry and local associations, as well as government agencies and privately owned entities whose activities boost investment, such as: Promálaga, the IDEA Agency, technology centres like the CITIC, Habitec, the Andalusia Technology Park, etc.
Additional attractions to economic investment include the province’s cultural agenda, which has a positive effect on the city’s image and on other points in the province of Malaga. It is well worth pointing out the Spanish Film Festival and the investments made in the Picasso Museum and the Carmen Thyssen Museum among the most recent.
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