Bank of Cyprus CEO: Cyprus needs a clear long-term strategy for FDI

The belief that Cyprus, as an emerging European hub, needs to focus on restoring reputation and trust, creating a clear long-term strategic direction for Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) and policies "completely unaffected by political changes, agendas and confrontations," was expressed by CEO of the Bank of Cyprus, Panicos Nicolaou, from the stage of the 7th Business Leaders Summit.

Outlining the current landscape, at the 16 October event, Nicolaou referred, as expected, to the war between Israel and Palestine, commenting on the short distance between Cyprus and Israel, "Unfortunately, the unpredictable, the unexpected, the sudden is starting to become part of our normalcy.”

Returning to the case of Cyprus and the crises faced by the country, Nicolaou continued, "Where many expect us to collapse, we surprise them and continue to grow, show resilience and exceed expectations."

He stated that "this Cypriot phenomenon, which turns a crisis into a decades-long opportunity, is something we should take care of, strengthen, adapt to new conditions". According to the CEO, the country should aim for foreign direct investments (FDI), not in general and vague inexact but those that contribute substantially to development, upgrade the standard of living, the quality of life and the country itself as a place to live and work.

Nicolaou’s position is that Cyprus needs a long-term sustainable development strategy that will establish it as the business "capital" of the region, as the base of major international organisations.

This strategy, should include, according to Nicolaou, the restoration of the reputation and trust of Cyprus, the creation of a clear long-term strategic direction for FDI and policies that are long-term and completely unaffected by political changes, agendas and controversies.

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"Investors value reliability and stability very highly. We must be predictable in the eyes of investors and not a country with high political risk that formulates policies according to situations and pressures. And when you're a small market, reliability is the most important asset," he said.

He also emphasised the need for better cooperation and functioning of the government/public service and proactive alignment, as well as the elimination of red tape. Creating the ecosystem cluster effect, such as the one now developing with technology and innovation companies, attracting companies of a similar nature and developing secondary areas of investment support, is important.

The development of secondary investments in supporting sectors is also important, as is the full-service approach to attracting investors and companies for the purpose of establishing their headquarters, Nicolaou underlined.

He also focused on the need for cooperation between banks, professional services firms, government and other stakeholders.

"Public-private partnership is key to accelerating transformation and delivery," Nicoalou said, adding, "Cyprus has the qualifications to become the business "capital" of the region. Our potential is huge. When there is demand, there is supply, and along with foreign companies will come more FDI, new high-value jobs will be created, consumption will increase, there will be needs for apartments, offices, etc. The country's standard of living will improve and provide new prospects to young people.”

Concluding, he indicated that "only if we transform our country into a European business hub of the region will we ensure their standard of living and the viability of our businesses for many years to comes".

Taking place in Nicosia, the Conference was organised by the Bank of Cyprus.

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