Investment upswing brings brighter days for Cypriot economy
Cyprus saw its highest GDP rise (a tad over 3%) in almost a decade in the first quarter of 2017. The dark days of 2013 are behind the country, with traditional sectors like finance and shipping recovering and newer ones like education and energy getting more attention and making greater strides. They say that some good comes out of bad. Well, the country has worked hard to get its act together since the crisis of 2013. It toughened up its anti-money laundering regulations and was rewarded by being rated top of the pile for transparency in a report by Transparency International 2017. This restored the reputation of the island in the eyes of investors as an investment hub that offers a vast array of opportunities.
Foreign investment remains at the heart of government strategy, aided and abetted by factors like the citizenship-by-investment program helping to attract investments to the property and the retail sector as well as pharmaceuticals. These incentives are drivers that, as a knock-on effect, help to maintain real estate prices. The citizenship-by-investment program enables citizenship by way of naturalization through the investment in commercial and property projects. Russian and Ukrainian magnates are reportedly among those who have taken advantage of such programs over the last decade, while Chinese investments are not to be neglected. Over €4 billion have been invested in Cyprus over a period of 4 years through the citizenship-by-investment programs. Besides, Cyprus has retained its attractive EU-approved tax regime and makes a big effort to attack further investors.
Role of AGP
We at AGP, play a vital role as the initial point of contact and partner for corporations and individuals wishing to invest in Cyprus. We offer investment research and continuous support, focusing on pro and post-care service and assisting in throughout the entire process. We have witnessed several individuals and corporations in an array of fields, from innovation and technology to shipping and energy, boosting their presence in Cyprus.
The rise in the number of companies setting up regional offices or their headquarters is further evidence that the country has turned the economic corner. Cyprus' location at the crossroads of three continents, Middle East, Asia and Africa, has also helped foreign companies in their choice. Business wants stability and with more than 60 double taxation treaties in place, Cyprus is a stable and safe centre for businesses in the heart of the eastern part of the Mediterranean Sea. Overseas investors know that the stable environment is well regulated and business friendly.
The future's bright
The country is certainly not sitting on its laurels. Shipping and finance continue their recovery, but Cyprus has one eye on the future. The energy sector is booming, education is developing and real estate is on the up, as evidenced by the enormous developments and numerous skyscrapers currently under construction in Limassol (over 20 skyscrapers are currently under construction), building of the ambitious Limassol Marina, Ayia Napa Marina and the Paralimni Marina developments, complete with luxury villas and thousands of berths for yachts. In energy, Cyprus completed its third round of licensing for three exploration blocks, giving drilling licenses to four foreign operators. The shipping sector has a great chance of taking advantage of the recent natural gas finds in adjacent Egyptian and Israeli waters. Cyprus has its own gas reserves there in the Levant basin and it is already the largest ship management centre in Europe.
The country has more university graduates per capita than most EU and other developed states. The authorities are investing even more in higher education and R & D to diversify the skills available. And tourism, that traditional staple, is undergoing resurgence. Tourist arrivals hit an all-time high in 2016, prompting new projects to add to what the country has to offer. One such example is an integrated casino resort, with investment topping EUR 500 million, which recently got the green light for construction in Limassol.
Location and the weather have always been favourable to Cyprus, but it's great to see that it is not just thermometers that are positive in the territory.
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