Featured Profiles

Capital for Change: Herald Bonnici’s Mission to Direct Finance Towards Sustainable Enterprises

Herald Bonnici is a seasoned leader and visionary whose diverse expertise spans finance, sustainability, real estate development, and public-private partnerships. With an impressive track record in both the public and private sectors, he has left an indelible mark on projects and initiatives across Europe, the Middle East, and North Africa. In this insightful interview, Bonnici explores innovative approaches to addressing the mounting pressures of urbanization and ensuring inclusive, equitable communities.


  • As a leader with diverse interests, what initially sparked your passion for these fields, and how has it evolved?

My career has spanned education, statistics, finance, business management, and investments across diverse sectors. After leading national surveys in Malta and completing my MBA, I joined the finance ministry, handling asset management and tax reform. I was a member of several European Union forums, including the Tax Forum and the Financial Services Committee. 

In 2015, I moved to Malta Government Investments, managing a €400M portfolio of state enterprises and launching initiatives such as asset securitization, governance reform, and private equity and venture capital. 

Collaborating with Bpifrance, I launched a sovereign wealth fund network across Europe and MENA, with members including COFIDES, Greece’s Growth Fund, and Egypt’s sovereign fund. Last year, the Kuwait Investment Authority signed a declaration of endorsement in Paris.

I currently operate across multiple private sector domains, including real estate, hospitality, oil and gas, and immersive technology ventures. I serve as the Secretary General of the recently established Private Equity and Venture Capital Association Malta and co-chair the Real and Urban Development Chapter of the World Association of Public-Private Partnerships. Additionally, I hold the position of chair for the Maltese Turkish Business Council.

My expertise spans many subjects, and I frequently deliver thought leadership as an international speaker and moderator, primarily focusing on financial engineering, private equity, real estate, energy, and sustainability matters. I hold executive and non-executive directorship roles across various international companies’ boards.


  • Can you share a pivotal moment in your career that shaped your trajectory?

A few pivotal moments shaped my career trajectory: the decision to transition from teaching to business by pursuing an MBA, spearheading the complex vehicle registration tax reform, being nominated as a non-executive director for the national transport company during a critical period, and my appointment to the esteemed Financial Services Committee preparing for EU Ecofin meetings.

But the highlight of my career in the public sector was undoubtedly my appointment as CEO of Malta Government Investments. In this role, I was entrusted with managing and modernizing a significant pool of assets. I treasure the memorandum of understanding we signed with Caisse des Dépôts (France) to modernize state-owned enterprises and our initial discussions with Bpifrance to set up the network of sovereign wealth funds in Europe, the Middle East, and North Africa.


  • What challenges did you face while setting up a network of sovereign wealth funds covering Europe, the Middle East, and North Africa?

Rallying the might of sovereign wealth funds for the Mediterranean region was challenging. The region’s economic and cultural diversity posed numerous hurdles to overcome. But a Boston Consulting Group report commissioned by the European Investment Fund gave us a game plan.

Our initial step was to engage with regional peers, starting with Bpifrance and The Sovereign Fund of Egypt, who swiftly endorsed the initiative. Through a series of meetings and exchanges, we were able to assemble all the founding members, including COFIDES.

Despite COVID’s travel restraints, we pulled off a landmark launch event in Malta in March 2022 – a testament to our tenacity. It was a roaring success, drawing sovereign wealth fund bigwigs from across the globe – ADQ, CDP, Ithmar Capital, KIA, you name it.

The event made international waves, too, with Arab News among the outlets shining a spotlight on our bold initiative.


  • Could you share your thoughts on the role of public-private partnerships in fostering sustainable development?

The world is urbanizing at a blistering pace, and it’s a runaway train we can’t stop. According to the UN, by 2050, a whopping 70% of humanity will call cities home. For developing nations undergoing rapid urbanization, it’s a ticking time bomb regarding housing and infrastructure needs.

And we can’t ignore the elephant in the room – affordable housing is slipping further out of reach for far too many. Whether migration, population booms, or shrinking households, cities’ demand pressures keep piling up. Couple that with stagnant incomes that can’t keep pace with skyrocketing property prices, increasing the rich-poor divide.

But public funds alone can’t solve this crisis. That’s where public-private partnerships (PPPs) come in. PPPs unlock a world of opportunity by pooling the government’s land and policy muscle with private money and expertise. They turbocharge affordable housing projects, generate jobs, promote sustainable practices, and, most importantly – give underserved communities a stable foothold instead of being priced out.

Take depressed public housing neighborhoods, for example. PPPs are revamping these areas with modern, mixed-income developments that provide that golden ticket to economic mobility – a permanent roof over one’s head. When families have that security, kids do better, crime drops, and communities thrive.


  • What advice would you offer aspiring leaders looking to make an impact in the finance sector?

True success demands committed beliefs—understanding that the whole is greater than the parts. Sustainable finance goes beyond profits to better our world. I firmly believe capital flows promote peace, prosperity, and equal opportunity.

Ultimately, an innovative, growth mindset that embraces change is vital today. In finance, especially, we can direct capital towards sustainable businesses, drive transformations, broaden reporting, and pioneer new non-financial performance communication—true game-changers.