With the political class increasingly taking decisions to see them into the next five-year cycle, Nicky Gouder, a co-founding partner of advisory firm Seed, has together with his business partner launched the 40under40 initiative.
The initiative seeks to define, compile and disseminate a vision for Malta that spans the incoming 15-20 years, and incorporates 40 individuals who are under 40 years old to contribute to this vision.
Taking part in this morning’s episode of The Boardroom, which focused on a vision for Malta, Mr Gouder stressed the need for a comprehensive long-term plan.
“Things do not just happen. You need a plan with goals along the way. If we want to improve our educational system, if we want to prioritise the environment, and if we want ultimately happier citizens – which is what this is all about – we need to plan for it.”
The initiative will be focusing on four pillars: education, environment, well-being, and economy.
Mr Gouder stressed that, after discussions, it is his firm belief that most of Malta’s problems stem from issues related to the above four pillars.
Turning to his motivations for co-launching the project, Mr Gouder was frank in his commentary.
“I feel the political class has failed us, unfortunately. It boils down to purpose. Why are they there? What is the motivation? Financial gain is certainly not it. I think we have the system all wrong.
“We are unable to attract the right people into politics, and one of the reasons is the take-home pay ultimately. When you have a chairperson of an organization earning more than the Prime Minister, there is something wrong.”
He lamented how decisions are taken in the short-term, and success in the country is determined in terms of financial movements.
Mr Gouder believes that change needs to come from the basics. “I am a little obsessed with educational issues. Our inability to think without bias and independently stems from such problems.
“If you are going to change a mentality, it takes years. Hopefully, the next generation of leaders start to think differently. We are not going to get everybody on the same page, but if we agree on a direction, we can achieve a lot.”
Ultimately, Mr Gouder says that while we had economic growth in recent years, he questions whether people are happier and whether we should now prioritise well-being.
Of all the discussions and challenges ahead, he is certain of one thing: short-termism and short-term policy decisions are not the solution to Malta’s problems.