Cyprus eyes GCC economic expansion


His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, with Yannis Michaelides, Ambassador of the Republic of Cyprus to the UAE.
His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, with Yannis Michaelides, Ambassador of the Republic of Cyprus to the UAE.

Cyprus is looking to expand bilateral economic ties with the UAE, followed by diversified opportunities across various fields including energy and education.

By Yannis Michaelides

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Published: Mon 28 Dec 2020, 10:25 AM

Situated at the crossroads of three continents and occupying a key strategic position at the gateways of Europe, Asia and Africa, Cyprus, an EU Member State, is an ideal platform for regional cooperation. In this regard, Cyprus has sought to deepen its relations with GCC countries.

We have established collaboration mechanisms with our neighbours in the Eastern Mediterranean and we are now expanding this cooperation to the Gulf Countries and, in particular, to the UAE. Having established solid relations with key players in the region, Cyprus is a reliable partner that has built, over the years, a secure investment environment.

Cyprus now has a structured cooperation with the UAE, witnessing a significant expansion in bilateral economic ties between the two countries with an increase of over 26 per cent of non-oil trade from the preceding year.

The inaugural virtual meeting of the Cyprus-UAE Joint Committee was convened on November 11, presided over by H.E. Nikos Christodoulides, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Cyprus and H.E. Ahmed Ali Al Sayegh, UAE Minister of State. We are thus looking forward to the diverse opportunities for collaboration that will emerge as a result of this first session of the Joint Committee across various key fields, including trade, investment, energy, education, culture, and tourism.

In parallel, the strong political cooperation between Cyprus and the UAE is attested by the most recent visit of His Highness Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, to Cyprus on October 1 this year, during which the two sides underscored the robust and privileged relations between the two countries, reviewed the prospects of advancing cooperation and exchanged views over a number of issues of mutual concern.

Business and investment potential for the UAE

Cyprus is witnessing a real impetus in the development of its economic cooperation with the GCC countries, and the UAE in particular, having established solid relations with key players in the region, which it is determined to further pursue actively.

This is an opportunity for growth and investment and for connecting important markets and building synergies. The momentum gained in terms of business and investment opportunities with the UAE, is demonstrated by the Joint Committee of Cooperation as well as the Agreement on Economic and Technical Cooperation.

These two important tools are setting the framework for further expanding Cyprus' bilateral relations in the economic as well as in the political sector.

Indeed, the many fields of cooperation include renewable energy, tourism, investments, infrastructure, health, education, merchant shipping, commerce, gas and oil exploration and others, as we are committed to strengthening the links between Cyprus and the UAE.

The UAE is a second home to many Cypriots and there are currently more than 75 Cypriot companies operating in the UAE, in addition to the participation of the country in major commercial exhibitions and business, which contributes to the strengthening of its bilateral trade relations.

Novel sectors and the 'new normal'

Cyprus has established a comprehensive economic diplomacy with key priorities, clear objectives and relevant action plans, promoting Cyprus as a preferred business and investment destination. The strong presence of foreign investment in Cyprus, which the country welcomes and supports, is a confidence vote to the island and its economy.

The government has sought to maintain conditions of stability and confidence, to consolidate and modernise Cyprus' banking system and to preserve tax certainty and a business-friendly environment for the private sector. Despite the pandemic, the Cypriot economy is among the fastest growing economies in the European Union, with a positive outlook.

New infrastructure and housing developments are also underway across the country with significant foreign investor backing. International companies are setting up headquarters in Cyprus, which is becoming an increasingly attractive gateway to growth markets.

The sectors that have seen the most significant growth and that Cyprus is looking to expand are shipping, retail, tourism, banking, pharmaceuticals, and of course, energy. Cyprus' growth performance is now attracting foreign direct investment from different parts of the world and especially from the Middle East and Asia.

The tourism appeal

The island has become a popular destination, not only for UAE citizens, but also for expatriates living in the Emirates, and in the last two years, the number of visitors from the UAE has been on the rise.

Cyprus is only three and a half hours away from the UAE, making it the closest European country to the GCC countries. It is an island blessed with exquisite natural beauty where people, family and friends connect in a peaceful, safe and enjoyable environment.

Through its captivating history and culture, diverse flora and fauna, seaside towns, outdoor activities for all seasons, excellent business and conference facilities, health and wellness centres, Mediterranean delicacies, sports and music, Cyprus has emerged as one of Europe's preferred destinations.

With warm sun, sparkling sea, welcoming people and wonderful scenery, the country is one of the most beautiful islands in the Mediterranean, offering visitors a superb holiday destination packed with unforgettable experiences, extraordinary sights, a fascinating history and culture and exquisite Mediterranean cuisine.

In Cyprus, each season brings something new and wonderful for visitors to discover from the island's endless stretches of golden sands and secluded bays, to its verdant countryside, mountains and pine-scented forests.

Furthermore, Cyprus' rich 10,000-year history attests of the many civilisations that left their footprint on the island among which are the Achaean Greeks, the Phoenicians, the Assyrians, the Egyptians and the Persians, and later the Byzantines, the Franks, the Venetians and the Ottomans.

These influences throughout the island's long and rich history have shaped Cyprus into a multicultural, multi-religious and

tolerant society.

Cyprus in Expo 2020

"Cyprus' participation in Expo 2020, will allow us to present to the visitors, through an exploratory journey, all that Cyprus has to offer in terms of its culture, natural beauty, hospitality and business opportunities. Despite the circumstances created by the pandemic, there is no doubt that Expo 2020 will be a phenomenal event and a global platform, which will give us a unique opportunity to promote Cyprus as an international hub for investments, trade and services but also as a major tourist destination. I warmly invite readers to visit our pavilion and our beautiful island."

Yannis Michaelides

Ambassador of the Republic of Cyprus to the UAE

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