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Yannis Michaelides, Ambassador of the Republic of Cyprus to the UAE
Yannis Michaelides, Ambassador of the Republic of Cyprus to the UAE

Yannis Michaelides Ambassador of the Republic of Cyprus to the UAE, on the opportunities as well as the bilateral relations with the UAE that are beneficial to both nations

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Published: Tue 28 Dec 2021, 12:00 AM

The participation of Cyprus in Expo 2020 Dubai allows us to present to the visitors, through an interactive voyage, all that Cyprus has to offer in terms of culture, natural beauty, hospitality and business opportunities. Cyprus is an international hub for investments, trade and services but also a major tourist destination. Our presence at Expo 2020 Dubai undoubtedly contributes to strengthening bilateral trade and business links between Cyprus and the UAE, as well as other GCC countries and the rest of the world.

The Cyprus Pavilion is located in the Opportunity District and is designed around the motto, “Cyprus, at the centre of where you want to be,” which encapsulates one of the most prominent characteristics and strengths of our country: its location as well as everything it has to offer.

The pavilion story goes through six themes, allowing the visitor to see, hear and learn about Cyprus. It is a showcase of Cyprus’ rich historical and cultural heritage as one of the world’s oldest civilisations and its unique character, harmoniously blending various cultural influences. Cyprus’ 10,000-year history attests of the many civilisations that left their footprint on the island and have shaped Cyprus into a multicultural, multi-religious, tolerant and welcoming society.

Educational centre of excellence

We also present Cyprus as a world-class educational and research centre of excellence with high quality academic institutions. A thriving business hub, Cyprus offers wide access to markets, high quality professional services, a skilled workforce and a high quality of life. With its operational efficiency and governmental support, Cyprus is now home to various multinationals. It is a place of development and progress, highlighting investment opportunities in a variety of sectors such as energy, renewables, tourism, infrastructure, real estate, investment funds, innovation and startups, shipping, filming and education. The island has also established itself as a growing tech hub and a thriving maritime cluster.

Our pavilion is further showcasing Cyprus as a premium destination all-year round as well as our exquisite Mediterranean cuisine, featuring the rich offering of our local produce. Through its captivating history and culture, diverse flora and fauna, sea-side towns, outdoor activities for all seasons, excellent business and conference facilities, health and wellness centres, Mediterranean delicacies, sports and music, Cyprus is one of Europe’s preferred destinations. I encourage you to visit our pavilion and experience Cyprus through an exploratory journey.

The unprecedented health crisis that hit the entire planet, inevitably could not leave the Cypriot economy unscathed. It has slowed the momentum of its six-year-long path of high growth rates and falling unemployment. Nonetheless, despite the pandemic, the Cypriot economy has proved to be exceptionally resilient and is now among the fastest growing economies in the European Union.

The consequences of the pandemic, however, would have been immeasurably greater if the Government had not acted with foresight and determination in dealing with the crisis and mitigating its effects to the minimum possible extent.

The Cyprus government designed and implemented a coherent and comprehensive plan, making targeted and complementary interventions across the whole spectrum of society and the economy, so as to support the disposable income of workers and vulnerable groups of the population, thus, creating a strong social safety net. In addition, several schemes were implemented so as to support businesses in the vital sectors of the economy.

Bilateral trade

Cyprus has sought to deepen its relations with the GCC. We have established collaboration mechanisms with our neighbours in the Eastern Mediterranean and we have expanded this cooperation to the Gulf countries, and in particular to the UAE.

The momentum gained in terms of business and investment opportunities with the UAE, is demonstrated by the establishment last year of a Joint Committee of Cooperation as well as the signing of the agreement on Economic and Technical Cooperation. These two important tools are setting the framework for further expanding our bilateral relations in the economic as well as in the political sector.

We now have a structured cooperation with the UAE, witnessing an expansion in bilateral economic ties with a significant increase of non-oil trade. This cooperation is channelled through the Joint Committee, which convenes annually and we are looking forward to the diverse opportunities for collaboration with the UAE across various fields.

Indeed, the many fields of cooperation include renewable energy, tourism, infrastructure, health, food security, agriculture, education, merchant shipping and gas and oil exploration.

We are, thus, witnessing a real impetus in the development of our economic cooperation with the UAE and we are determined to further pursue it actively. This is an opportunity for growth and investment and for connecting important markets and building synergies.

At the same time, there is a strong political cooperation between Cyprus and the UAE, as attested by the most recent visit of H.H. Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, to Cyprus on November 9, 2021, during which the two sides underscored the robust relations between the two countries, reviewed the prospects of advancing cooperation and exchanged views over a number of regional issues.

Strategic location

Cyprus is situated at the crossroads of three continents and occupies a key strategic position at the gateways of Europe, Asia and Africa. As an EU Member State, it is an ideal platform for regional cooperation. Cyprus is a reliable partner that has built, over the years, a secure investment environment, having established solid relations with key players in the region.

Cyprus has long established itself as a thriving business hub, with a vast array of investment opportunities in key growth sectors of the economy. The island’s ideal strategic location, advanced infrastructure and high quality of life not only represent key reasons to relocate and live on the island, but are also at the heart of an investor’s choice to invest in Cyprus.

The island is an ideal investment gateway to the European Union, as well as a portal for investment outside the EU, particularly into the Middle East, the Gulf and Asia. As a member of the EU and Eurozone community, Cyprus ensures safety and stability for investors, while also offering them market access to more than 450 million EU citizens.

Cyprus Pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai
Cyprus Pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai

Investment hub

We have 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 we welcome and support, 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.

New infrastructure and housing developments are 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, health and 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.

Modern infrastructure

With a constantly evolving system of advanced and modern infrastructure, Cyprus offers sophisticated road, air and sea transport solutions and services, which are widely recognised as an important competitive advantage in attracting foreign direct investment.

Cyprus’ two multi-purpose deep sea ports handle passenger and freight cargo, while offering logistics solutions through advanced facilities for cost-effective transport and processing and cruise liner hubs. Equally, two modern international airports, offer their services to approximately 10 million visitors per year, connecting the island to the most popular transit hubs throughout the world.

Considerable investment has also been made to transform the island into a major telecommunications hub in the region, connecting Cyprus via submarine fibre optic cable and satellite to other networks in the Eastern Mediterranean basin and beyond.

Human talent constitutes Cyprus’ most compelling advantage, complemented by a broad range of high quality professional services. As a dynamic business centre, Cyprus offers an abundance of highly educated, multilingual and skilled workforce.

Our country’s competitive advantages are significantly enriched by a robust and transparent legal and regulatory framework, widely recognised as business-friendly and efficient and an attractive tax regime, fully compliant with EU, OECD and international laws and regulations, which offers a wide range of incentives and advantages both for legal and natural persons.

The UAE is a second home to many Cypriots and there are currently numerous Cypriot companies operating in the UAE, in addition to the participation of our country in the major commercial exhibitions and business fora, which undoubtedly contributes to the strengthening of our bilateral relations with the UAE.

Only three hours’ flight away from the UAE, Cyprus has further become a popular destination for UAE citizens and expatriates alike, making it the closest European country to the GCC. I warmly invite your readers to visit our beautiful island.

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