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Christodoulos Angastiniotis: The CCCI president’s chair is not a very comfortable one

The outgoing president of the Cyprus Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCCI), Christodoulos Angastiniotis, has sent the message that the CCCI is a very large, and demanding, organisation and therefore the resident's chair is not a very “comfortable” one.

Angastiniotis, who is preparing to hand over the reins after six consecutive years at the helm, spoke to InBusinessNews in an assessment of his two terms and did not hide that leaving the helm of the organisation has evoked strong emotion.

He referred to the greatest success that he believes the CCCI had during his own presence in the presidency, but also to the unfulfilled goal he is leaving behind, while at the same time describing in a highly descriptive way the most difficult period during his term, which was none other than that of the time of the pandemic.

"The whole economy collapsed and we didn't know how to react. There were times when we wondered what the dawn would bring us the next day," he said.

Evaluating the current state of the Cypriot economy, Christodoulos Angastiniotis noted that taking all the available information into account, it is in a satisfactory state and its prospects are positive.

"I believe," he pointed out, "that if we show seriousness and responsibility towards the new challenges we could continue the country's development path. I am equally optimistic about our businesses, which have shown many times that they know how to manage crises. So, barring the unexpected, we see the future through a positive lens."

Regarding his future and where the day after his departure from the presidency of the CCCI will find him, Angastiniotis indicated that he will deal with his own businesses more intensively.

Of particular interest is his answer to the question on whether he is planning to become involved in politics by taking up a public office. Something for which, as he revealed, he has been the recipient of proposals in the past.

After two consecutive terms in the presidency, the moment has arrived for you to hand over the reins of the CCCI. What do you consider these two terms in the leadership of the Chamber have left you with and to what extent do you feel that you have implemented the goals you had set yourself?

As you can imagine, my departure after six consecutive years at the helm of a large organisation such as CCCI has evoked strong emotions for me.

In these six years, with the problems of the pandemic on the rise and the strong impacts on the economy from the war in Ukraine, I experienced unique moments and great experiences. Our anxiousness to keep the economy alive and to strengthen business, was very great. In cooperation with the government and other agencies, we fought real battles on many levels.

Looking back today, I feel great satisfaction that even with many difficulties and enormous efforts, we succeeded. I believe that with the help of the other members of the Board of Directors and the Executive Committee of the CCCI, we were able to withstand the crises and showed resistance to the challenges.

Today, our economy is in good shape and its outlook is positive. This satisfies me and I consider that our goals have been achieved.

The greatest success

What would you characterise as the CCCI’s greatest success under your presidency and what has been the greatest unfulfilled goal?

The greatest success of the CCCI, during the years of my presidency, is its great contribution to supporting the economy and strengthening businesses in a very difficult period with two crises, one right after the other.

Objectively speaking, it was not easy and simple to deal with the problems of the pandemic and the aftermath of the war in Ukraine. Fortunately, though, we made it.

The unfulfilled goal of the CCCI is the non-modernisation of the state and the economy to the extent we sought. This is mainly due to the effects of the two crises that changed our priorities, but also to delays, weaknesses and negative attitudes within Cyprus.

I believe now that we have largely overcome the effects of external crises, we should all focus on reforming and modernising our economy.

The most difficult period

In all these years, our economy and by extension the business world, faced various difficult times. From the pandemic to the war in Ukraine, the sanctions, etc. What was the most difficult period for you, when you were most worried about the "tomorrow" of the Cypriot economy and business?

I believe that the most difficult period was that of the pandemic. And this, because the whole economy was paralysed and we didn't know how to react. There were times when we wondered what the next dawn would bring us. It was a global upheaval, which completely affected our economy.

With seriousness, responsibility and close cooperation with the state, we succeeded and emerged victorious from this unprecedented crisis. And the credit belongs to all the Cypriot people.

"We see the future through a positive lens"

As we speak, how would you assess the state of the Cypriot economy and, in your estimation, how optimistic or pessimistic should the Cypriot business community feel about the day ahead, given the ongoing geopolitical instability in our wider region?

All things considered, I would say that our economy is in a satisfactory state and its outlook is positive. The government budget is in surplus, public debt has fallen to 85% of GDP, unemployment is at a manageable 6%, and major sectors of the economy, such as tourism and real estate, are booming.

Certainly, there are also problems, such as inflation (4%) and high interest rates that affect the standard of living of citizens and the liquidity of money in the market. We still must not forget that the war in Ukraine continues and we do not know what turn the crisis in Israel will take.

I believe that if we show seriousness and responsibility towards the new challenges we could continue the country's development path. I am equally optimistic about our businesses, which have shown many times that they know how to manage crises. So, barring the unexpected, we see the future through a positive lens.

The president's chair...

What advice would you give to your successor in the presidency of the CCCI and what would you expect him to prioritise upon assuming his duties?

I don't like to give advice, because I believe that each person has his own way of thinking and his own methodologies.

What I just want to say is that the CCCI is a very large organisation with many demands on its, so the president's chair is not a very comfortable one.

The day after…

Where will the day after find Christodoulos Angastiniotis? Will you focus on your own business activities, or will you somehow remain on the ramparts of offering your expertise to the wider business community?

I will definitely rest, but I will also be more intensively involved in my own businesses, although I must admit that I feel very lucky that during all these years when I was forced to neglect my own businesses, I had behind me an extremely strong team at VTN Group, such as my cousin Kyriakos and my children Alexandros and Michalis who fully met the requirements of the job and I can say that they worked hard. I will be forever grateful to them.

A way of serving the public, and in this case in terms of the economy and business, is also through politics. Would you at some point be interested in taking up some, for example, public office?

Someone does not necessarily have to hold a public office if they want to contribute to the public. I have never run for or accepted public office despite the opportunities and offers I have had in the past.

I certainly do not intend to run for public office. It was never something I dreamt of doing and it still isn’t today.

(Source: InBusinessNews)

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