President Christodoulides presents Vision 2035: “We have the vision, the knowledge and plan to achieve it”
07:00 - 29 January 2024
President Nikos Christodoulides envisions a country that is financially and socially prosperous with modern infrastructure, where citizens and businesses will use green energy and interact with the use of technology; an island that he says has all the means to become a point of reference for the broader region through its Vision 2035 strategy.
The strategy was prepared and completed in 2022 by the Cyprus Economy and Competitiveness Council following consultations with the private and public sectors. Essentially, Vision 2035 is the Cyprus economy’s 15-year sustainable growth plan.
“The key word in our strategy is sustainability,” the President said in an interview in the latest issue of IN Business magazine. “Sustainable growth cannot be achieved without promoting the green and digital transition, which will boost our economy’s autonomy and competitiveness. To this end, the necessary reforms are required that will safeguard the social fabric, through a fairer distribution of prosperity to all citizens compared with other periods.”
In the next decade, Cyprus will be a safe place to be, with appropriately trained and educated human resources who can seek quality jobs, he added.
The aim is to produce and export more competitive services, products and knowledge
The aim, said President Christodoulides, is to produce and export more competitive services, products, and knowledge. “As a result, our country will be an even bigger attraction than it is today for foreign productive investments, which will boost growth.”
The strategy is aligned with his own personal vision and the government’s priorities. The aim is to connect the drafting of policies with social progress indices and boost participatory democracy.
“Vision 2035 is not the property of the government but of all of us. It is a process for where we want our country to reach. Its long-term and ambitious nature requires the acceptance and active participation of society and the House of Representatives.”
Christodoulides said the government was handed a comprehensive strategy when it took over and it now has the significant responsibility of implementing it. And adapting and updating, as well as intervening, when domestic and foreign conditions demand it.
At the core of his government’s strategy is the people, he said, who have been negatively impacted by the successive crises of the past years.
In its bid to develop a safe environment for business, the government is focused on boosting fiscal and financial stability, while also increasing the efficiency of the public service to ensure transparency and beat corruption, said Christodoulides.
“Combined with reinforcing electronic governance, Cypriot businesses will have the chance to operate under a more modern framework and increase their productivity,” said the President.
Indicatively, he added, the Deputy Ministry of Research, Innovation and Digital Policy has a budget of €228m for 2023-2024, which will go towards the country’s digital transformation.
Furthermore, the government is promoting the creation of a Business Development Agency having acknowledged the difficulties Cypriot businesses have been facing to access financing. “This (agency) will develop financing tools for general financing needs relating to fields of priority, such as the digital and green transition,” said Christodoulides.
Knowledge economy an important pillar
Another important pillar for modern economies, according to the President, is the knowledge economy, which requires, especially in the initial stages, significant government support. “This substantial intervention concerns both funding and advisory services, which are strengthened within the framework of the Research and Innovation Foundation's programmes and by the recent establishment of the Capital Financing Fund for start-ups and innovative businesses,” he further explained, adding that the state has spent some €30m on this.
“Additionally, the planned tax reform will promote investment in research and innovation and simplify the tax framework to enhance competitiveness,” said Christodoulides. “At the same time, we want to expand the extroversion of Cypriot businesses and their efforts to develop in new markets with actions to strengthen their identity and recognition abroad.”
The government is also promoting business culture and financial literacy through targeted programmes in schools and broader society.
A strategy for recovery
Τhe projects included in the country’s Recovery and Resilience Plan are fully aligned with Vision 2035 and were taken into account when drafting the final strategy.
“Always bearing in mind that many of the strategy's projects were integrated into it, we are in the planning phase of the control and monitoring process,” said the President. “The competent departments of the Ministries and the Government Project Support and Coordination Secretariat of the Presidency will participate in this. In the process, indicators will be defined to monitor the progress of the implementation of the objectives and interventions of the strategy.”
We have the vision, knowledge and a plan
As President Christodoulides said, Cyprus formulates its actions by taking regional conditions into account. “The recent unpleasant developments in the Middle East raise reasonable concerns about the consequences for the economy. At the same time, however, they highlight the important role that our country can play as a regional pillar of stability. Our geographical position at the crossroads of three continents, combined with being a full and equal member of the EU, our skilled human resources, excellent infrastructure and safe environment, are our comparative advantages. These act as tools to further upgrade our position as a regional and international business centre.”
At the same time, he added, attracting big foreign companies and productive investments, especially in the field of technology, is a significant accelerator for growth, both due to the direct inflow of capital and also the penetration of international know-how.
“Cyprus has all the resources to become a point of reference for the wider region,” the President said concluding his interview. “We have the vision, we have the knowledge and the plan to achieve it.”