The April Smart Talk of the Chamber took place on 27th April and hosted Constantina Constantidou, Head of Economic Diplomacy of Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Cyprus, focusing on action’s guidelines and main areas of interest of the Economic Diplomacy Department of Cyprus MFA.
After the introductory greetings by the President of the Italian-Cypriot Chamber of Commerce Giuseppe Marino, the Smart Talk was moderated by Federico Franchina, Vice President of the Chamber who had a really interesting talk with Constantina Constantinidou focusing on areas of particular interest for the business community
Mrs. Constantinidou referred to the implementation of the strategy for Attracting Businesses and Talent to Cyprus focuses on two important upgrades. The first one is the transformation of the fast track business activation mechanism into a full-fledged Business Facilitation Unit.
This upgrade aims to streamline and improve the process of starting and operating businesses in the country. The second upgrade involves the implementation of tax incentives to attract highly skilled personnel from third countries. Alongside this, the strategy also emphasizes the optimization and simplification of residence and employment permit processes to facilitate the entry and stay of skilled professionals.
The mission is to promote the prosperity of Cyprus’ economic growth using diplomatic resources starting with the identification of several key priority areas, firstly the tourism industry which obviously is a key driver of the island’s economy, secondly attract foreign investment in key sectors such as Energy, Shipping, Research and Development, third work to strengthen economic ties with neighboring countries and emerging markets in order to create new opportunities for trade investment and collaboration, finally work to support Innovation and Entrepreneurship working to create an ecosystem that supports startups.
As regards of geographical areas, the Department aim is to utilize the full network of Cyprus’s Embassies abroad, however, there is a focus on the European Union, the UK, countries in the Eastern Mediterranean and the Gulf, as well as the U.S., India and Japan. This list is not exhaustive, as Cyprus is trying to develop the economic diplomacy with all the countries where the embassies are present abroad.
In regard to the local economy, Cyprus economy is dominated by services, which account for about 82% of Gross Value Added. In the past, the most prominent sectors that contributed to growth included Tourism, Shipping, Business and Financial Services, and Real Estate.
However, in the recent years, also due to the Government Policy, there was a broadening of the productive base of the economy.
New sectors with significant future potential include ICT and High Tech companies, Higher Education, Renewable Energy (funded by theResilience and Recovery Plan and National Funds). Furthermore, Innovation is also a very promising sector, as investment for start-ups, Investment Funds, Health and Biotechnology among others. Almost all sectors experienced increased value-added, with noteworthy growth observed in Information and Communication, Accommodation and Food Services, Wholesale and Retail Trade, and Transportation and Storage.
The only sector that saw negative growth was Construction, primarily due to rising construction costs caused by the ongoing global energy crisis, resulting in higher energy prices and disruptions in the supply chain.
Cyprus’s growing significance in the energy sector, particularly with the discovery of natural gas reserves in its exclusive economic zone. This discovery holds importance not only for Cyprus but also for the European Union as it offers an opportunity to diversify the supply of natural gas and enhance energy security.
Cyprus has made several natural gas discoveries in its exclusive economic zone, and ENI in 2022. While initial findings are encouraging, the full potential of the exploration program is yet to be determined, and further discoveries may occur. Cyprus values its close collaboration with ENI and looks forward to future plans in implementing the exploration program.
Italy plays a significant role in Cyprus’s energy sector, with ENI’s presence in most licensed blocks and other Italian companies participating or expressing interest in the broader energy spectrum. The cooperation between Cyprus and Italy is appreciated, as demonstrated by Italy’s support for regional initiatives like the Eastern Mediterranean Gas Forum (EMGF).
The government of Cyprus sees natural gas as a transitional bridge towards cleaner energy sources and is committed to the European Green Deal. Gas is considered less polluting compared to other fossil fuels like petroleum, which Cyprus heavily relies on.
The country’s Integrated Energy and Climate Plan for 2021-2030 is being revised to adopt more ambitious targets in line with the EU’s “Fit for 55” package and achieve climate neutrality by 2050.
Mrs. Constantinidou complemented with the Italian-Cypriot Chamber of Commerce for its excellent contribution in strengthening business ties between Italy and Cyprus and for the high commitment and activities promoted, including the Smart Talk, the Newsletter and the Tender Bulletin.
The conclusions of Vice President Costas Katsaros who thanked, underlining the importance of the topics covered and confirming the commitment of the Chamber to continue to strengthen and further develop relations between the two countries, mentioning also in this regard the Business Forum to be held in Rome on 21 June (prev. May 25).
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Last modified: September 7, 2023