Christos V. Vasiliou, Managing Director of KPMG, Guest of October Smart Talk.
It was held on Thursday 20th the October Smart Talk hosting Christos V. Vasiliou, General Manager KPMG Cyprus, focusing on “General Overview on the Perspectives and Challenges of the Economy of Cyprus”.
After the introductory greetings by the President of the Italian-Cypriot Chamber of Commerce Giuseppe Marino, who introduced Mr Vasiliou, the event was moderated by Federico Franchina, Vice President of the Chamber.
Firstly, Mr Vasiliou, gave to the audience a general overview of the main areas of KPMG Cyprus and offered services. The company, founded in 1948 covers all sectors of industry in Cyprus, including financial, education, health, and hospitality. It has three main departments, it is present in all 6 major cities around the country, and offers advisory risk, and management consulting. KPMG is really committed to supporting business development and promoting the attraction of foreign investment in Cyprus.
Cyprus has a small economy, compared to other European companies. However, macroeconomic indicators of Cyprus show that its economy is healthy: GDP is 24 billion. The economy has grown by +5.8% in 2021, even though it is expected to slow down in 2023-24, the employment rate is at 6.4%, and the inflation rate is at 3%, increasing with the geopolitical situation and raising prices.
Cyprus is adjusting its economic model and jurisdiction in order to open to other foreign investments and different markets than Russia. Also, Cyprus’s economy is easily manageable because it is a small economy and government interventions have proven to be effective. KPMG has grown through the local market and has huge expertise and knowledge of small-medium size companies, which are the 90% of Cyprus scenario. In order to follow step-by-step the company to open in Cyprus, KPMG Cyprus has set up a specific department to help companies to relocate and get organized. KPMG also follows the registration process and gets the authorization of the relevant authorities. Furthermore, it helps the new company to connect with local entities, in order to prosper, penetrate the economy, and generate revenue.
Considering the added value offered by the country, the Smart Talk highlighted how closely the public and private sectors have cooperated to update Cyprus’s Economic model in recent years, also in consideration of the EU guidelines. This close collaboration allowed to attract foreign companies, especially in the ICT sector, and make them invest locally, employ in Cyprus, and then sell in the international market, exploiting the strategic geographical position of Cyprus as a hub in the Eastern Mediterranean. This new economic model had achieved promoting a new ecosystem in several sectors.
Furthermore, Cyprus can offer a business-oriented law system, based on Common Law, but under the EU jurisdiction, it has business running costs lower than other European countries and can offer a well-trained and highly educated labor force. Also, the NRRP funds will promote intervention in digitalisation, in public health, and will address climate change, helping the whole Cyprus ecosystem become more sophisticated and in line with high-standard economies.
Moreover, the Smart Talk discussion focused on the ESG Label (Environment, Social, and Governance) which is becoming increasingly important. ESG is here to stay and it has been promoted all around the world. It is a really important label for sustainable growth. It is like an ecosystem, a new economy, embedding a new culture. Investment in ESG will have advantages in the long term, being compliant in terms of revenues. For these reasons, there is significant funding from UE to adopt ESG and modernize the European economy.
In addition, the webinar highlighted how the Italian-Cypriot Chamber of Commerce is supporting important Italian Groups involved, among others, in the Healthcare sector in Cyprus. For this reason, the Chamber has organised the Trade Mission in October (Monday 24th-Wednesday 26th) with a particular focus on “Post-Pandemic Challenges and Perspective for Recovery”. According to KPMG’s data and information, the sector offers great opportunities in Cyprus and related areas. In fact, the healthcare sector in Cyprus has been reformed recently, also setting up medical schools, and registering growth in investments and interest from several companies in the last 3-4 years. Actually, KPMG has set up a dedicated structure to follow the sector.
Mr Vasiliou underlined how Italian companies can look with interest to the healthcare industry in Cyprus, as it is an important market in Italy and the country has great know-how in the sector to export on the island. For these reasons, there are several opportunities to explore.
Finally, Vice President Federico Franchina recalled how the Italian-Cypriot Chamber of Commerce several times has collaborated with KPMG Cyprus in order to promote business opportunities. These activities contribute to keeping strengthening the business relations between the two countries and international cooperation in the Eastern Mediterranean Area. Mr Vasiliou also specified that opportunities can be searched in the sectors of Trade (as import-export between Italy and Cyprus is not fully exploited), Energy, Healthcare, Tourism, and Education. Particular remarks have been addressed to the education sector, as after Brexit, studying in the United Kingdom is not affordable anymore for Cypriot students, which are used to enrich their personal academic backgrounds studying abroad for a period. For this matter, Universities in Italy can express their interest in incoming students from Cyprus, associating with joint programs with Cypriot Universities.
Finally, Costas Katsaros, Vice President of the Chamber, in his concluding remarks underlined how opportunities in Cyprus are constantly growing, in healthcare and innovation, energy, financial services, and the hospitality sector. The Smart Talk offered an overview of the current situation of Cyprus and the relative potentiality of growing sectors and opportunities for Italian companies, also underling how Cyprus’s business environment is really interesting not only due to the island’s strategic position but also to its economic framework and legal system.
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