Zaar Crowdfunding Malta CEO Giselle Borg Olivier has stated that 2023 proved to be “yet another” year where the quality of life in Malta declined, citing environmental and infrastructural concerns.
The standard of living in Malta has come under increased threat in recent years as a result of overdevelopment, traffic congestion, and overpopulation. These factors, as well as many others, have prompted many business leaders to speak up about the need for change, with some stating earlier this year that Malta needs to head into “overdrive” in order to address them.
Speaking to MaltaCEOs.mt as part of our end-of-year series, Ms Borg Olivier is of the same opinion, highlighting that the inaction of policymakers is an opportunity for people to “make their voices heard.” In addition to this, she also offered a recap of her 2023 and identified the key challenges that 2024 will bring.
Looking back on the past year, Ms Borg Olivier, who not only leads Zaar, but is also Foundation Manager at Foundation for the Promotion of Entrepreneurial Initiatives (FPEI) and Owner of Content For Success, acknowledged that 2023 can ultimately be summed with the word “busy”.
“I think most of us live very busy lives, something that I don’t actually like because I don’t think that being busy is healthy or something to be proud of,” she said.
However, she acknowledged that due to the sheer amount of time wasted in traffic jams, people end up finding that they are “busier than they want to be,” essentially because “time doesn’t stop when you’re sitting behind the wheel of your car.”
Traffic has been a growing issue in the Maltese Islands for quite some time, with drivers, especially those passing from the central part of Malta such as Marsa, Birkirkara, Qormi and Ħamrun, being forced into gridlocks as soon as there is an accident, event, or a road closure.
“This boils down to the lack of planning and bad time management when it comes to road infrastructure works. 2023 saw yet another decline in the quality of life we’re experiencing living in Malta,” Ms Borg Olivier commented.
Aside from prolonging people’s daily commutes, traffic’s drastic impact on the environment and sustainability goals was also a topic that Ms Borg Olivier highlighted, stating that this is a challenge that will persist in 2024.
“Locally, I believe the biggest challenge will be trying to remain calm while more pollution is emitted into the air we breathe as we’re stuck in traffic without any trees to help neutralise the emissions,” she remarked.
“I find it shocking that despite all the information and awareness that we have about the importance of a clean and healthy environment for a better quality of life and the threat of climate change, the people who have the power to take action seem incapable of taking the right decisions for a better future for the country and its people,” Ms Borg Olivier continued.
She proposed that this challenge also presents an opportunity for civil society to speak up and “demand that people are held accountable for their actions.” “People need to know that by working together, they can make a difference,” she added.
Switching to a more positive topic, Ms Borg Olivier said that in 2023, she is most grateful for her son and friends who always put a smile on her face and make her life worthwhile. She intends to celebrate the New Year with them at a hotel party, as to her, “it’s not about where you are, but who you’re with.”
2023 was also a year of personal development for Ms Borg Olivier, as she started learning German, and is determined to continue improving her language skills.
She has also become a fan of artificial intelligence (AI) tools as they can help a great deal with efficiency. As a result, for 2024 she has set the goal of learning more about these tools and how to use them.
When asked where she sees herself in a year’s time, Ms Borg Olivier remarked that this was her final year as Board Member of Junior Chamber International (JCI) Malta, with her term ending on 31st December. She said that having recently attended the JCI World Congress in Zurich, which featured over 3,000 young leaders from all over the world, she hopes to be in next year’s edition taking place in Taiwan.
Zaar Crowdfunding Malta CEO Giselle Borg Olivier
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