Why Cyprus is hosting the EBRD’s 2017 Annual Meeting

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Why Cyprus is hosting the EBRD’s 2017 Annual Meeting

Cyprus’s Finance Minister on the country’s relationship with the EBRD

By Harris Georgiades

It is with great pleasure and expectation that Cyprus is hosting the EBRD’s 2017 Annual Meeting and Business Forum.

With pleasure, because Cyprus has known the EBRD since its inception in 1991 as a shareholder and we have been very satisfied with the way the institution has developed since then.

With expectation, because it is the first time an international financial institution is coming to Cyprus with such an important event and this is happening at a crucial time for us.

There are two reasons for this. First of all, this relates to the effort to achieve reconciliation and the reunification of our island.

The presence of the EBRD and its 67 shareholders from all over the world in Cyprus in May will send a powerful signal of support and solidarity. Since the EBRD started working in Cyprus in 2014 it has demonstrated very clearly what it can contribute to our development through investments and the promotion of policy reforms.

Secondly, the EBRD Annual Meeting will take place against the backdrop of a deep and strong recovery of the Republic of Cyprus’ economy. We recorded a positive and robust growth rate in 2016, which is expected to remain steady for the years leading up to 2021, according to EU and Cypriot forecasts.

Now that we have embarked on this trend to stronger growth, 2017 marks a new era for Cyprus. Numerous investment opportunities exist in a wide range of both traditional and emerging growth sectors.

This is leading to a significant increase in investments in our country, a trend which we expect to continue also in 2017.

Our goal is not just to achieve an inflow of foreign capital into the country’s economy, but rather to attract investments of substance, which will create jobs and boost business and investment activity.

The EBRD is well placed to support this effort with its strong track record and wealth of expertise and experience. In many places and sectors the EBRD has acted as a pioneer and attracted commercial investors into new areas and activities in its countries of operations.

This means that in addition to the €220 billion the EBRD to date has invested from its own funds it has also mobilised a multiple from commercial investors. This is money which went into all major sectors of the economy from financial institutions to infrastructure and from energy to manufacturing.

Since 2014 Cyprus has also benefited from EBRD investment when the Bank was mandated to join the international efforts to support our economy. In addition to key investments such as the acquisition of equity stakes in two leading banks and loans for a renewable energy project and a shipping management company, the EBRD has also provided crucial training and advisory services.

The fact that the EBRD Trade Facilitation Programme was received with huge appetite in Cyprus illustrates our role and potential as a trading nation.

Hosting the EBRD Annual Meeting in Cyprus will also offer an opportunity to express our gratitude for what the EBRD has delivered to date and the wish for more to come.

Harris Georgiades is the Minister of Finance of the Republic of Cyprus.

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