What key areas of opportunity or growth do you see in the country, and what are your expectations for Cyprus in 2020?
2020 will continue to be a year of growth. With the latest economic forecast for 2020 at 2.8% this year will be characterised by relative stable growth. We expect domestic demand to continue to drive the economy.
The ongoing infrastructural investments (City of Dreams Casino, Larnaca Port) will be instrumental in driving growth and creating upsides for the economy in the next two years. At the same time, the need for company substance may drive international companies to beef-up their operations as they continue to use Cyprus as a base.
2020 will be characterized by the ongoing Brexit negotiations. Cyprus, being an island that is highly interconnected with Britain across sectors of its economy will need to be vigilant in ensuring that agreements reached impact the economy positively rather than adversely. With a common law base, Cyprus could well be an additional conduit of British companies that would like to operate in the EU. With its highly skilled workforce, it could prove an attractive destination for companies that need physical presence in the EU.
The Banking sector in its totality will continue to pay strong attention to its regulatory compliance and AML procedures. With the latest Moneyval report pointing out the improvements that have been made as well as the additional steps that still need to be taken, we expect that Cyprus companies operating internationally will need to be constantly vigilant and be updated on all relevant legislation. We hope for increased effectiveness on the behalf of the banking sector so as to ensure that regulatory compliance does not impact ongoing business operations.
The effect of the Citizenship Program on the economy is a question-mark. There will need to be careful vetting of proposed citizens/investors in order to ensure the validity and reputation of the Cyprus Citizenship Program. A reputation that should not in itself impact the reputation of Cyprus as a whole.
2020 will continue to be a year in which we will need to be vigilant. There are potential upsides as well as potential potholes. As such, business and the government need to be flexible to take advantage of opportunities as well as deflect downward pressures.