Q: Cyprus and Saudi Arabia are currently deepening their bilateral ties in terms of trade and investment. Which sectors of the Cyprus economy could provide the most investment potential for Saudi Arabia at the moment? How can Cyprus facilitate more business and make itself even more attractive to Saudi investors?
The bilateral ties between Cyprus and Saudi Arabia have certainly come a long way in recent years. In fact, the two countries are constantly growing closer, especially following the creation of the Cyprus-Saudi Business Association and, more recently, with the visit to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, in March 2022, of the President of the Republic of Cyprus, Nicos Anastasiades, for official talks with His Royal Highness Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, Crown Prince, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defence.
The whole spectrum of bilateral relations, as well as ways to develop them further, were reviewed during the visit, along with the mutual strategic pursuit of creating a fertile and motivating environment for bilateral investment, in several sectors. This could be achieved through launching several joint initiatives, including in the fields of civil aviation, energy, maritime and air transport, ports, food, medicine, digitalisation, cyber security and financial services.
Significant potential exists for both countries to enjoy sizable benefits from such bilateral collaborations. In this regard, the Republic of Cyprus and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia are working together towards promoting a series of bilateral trade and investment agreements.
Cyprus welcomes the Kingdom’s launch of the Saudi Green and the Middle East Green Initiatives. Opportunities for cooperation in implementing Saudi Vision 2030 and Cyprus Vision 2035, are in fact immense, as joint projects are possible in a number of energy related fields, such as petrochemicals, energy efficiency, electricity production, renewable energy, clean technologies for hydrocarbons, and low-carbon fuels, including hydrogen.
Being a robust tourist destination, Cyprus has attracted the interest of leading investment groups to expand their international presence in the country. The National Tourism Strategy 2030, provides for several investment opportunities, including development in mountain and remote regions, and involves diversifying the country’s offering in order to promote sustainable tourism.
Moreover, the combination of a robust private health sector and internationally acclaimed medical research and health professionals, as well as the roll-out of a new national health system, open up investment opportunities in the field of healthcare and medical tourism.
Cyprus, as one of the first EU countries to transpose the Alternative Investment Fund Managers Directive into national legislation and having ratified the national Alternative Investment Funds Law, is an ideal jurisdiction for investment funds and asset management companies, offering direct access to key markets in a very efficient manner.
At the crossroads of Europe, North Africa and Asia and being the closest EU country to Saudi Arabia, Cyprus can serve as an ideal location for Saudi businesses to establish their European and international headquarters. In addition to ease of access to the EU market and beyond, these businesses can also benefit from Cyprus’ modern, simple and transparent tax and legal systems and the high quality of professional and financial services offered, conducive to doing business and increasing international competitiveness.
True to its business-orientated culture and constantly seeking to facilitate the ease of doing business on the island, the Republic of Cyprus has also launched, in 2022, the Business Facilitation Unit, through which business set-up, licensing and permitting is fast-tracked. In addition, Cyprus has introduced new residence and employment policies for highly skilled third country nationals.