Do­ing business at the cor­ner of 3 con­ti­nents

Back from the brink, a fully re­cov­ered Cyprus has emerged as a sig­nif­i­cant business node at the cross­roads of Europe, Asia and Africa.

Global Times – Metro Beijing - - FRONT PAGE - by Justin Calderon justin@the-busi­ness­re­

In bat­tling its fi­nan­cial cri­sis, Cyprus’ small size was its great­est as­set. The 18 bil­lion euro econ­omy proved to be nim­ble, quickly en­act­ing IMF-pre­scribed re­forms that started its early re­cov­ery. Within 16 months, Cyprus re-en­tered in­ter­na­tional fi­nance mar­kets. The gov­ern­ment has is­sued debt three times since. And pos­i­tive growth re­turned in 2015, much ear­lier than ex­pected. As the EU’s east­ern­most out­post, the Mediter­ranean is­land na­tion is now set­ting the stage to be­come a lo­gis­tics, en­ergy, ship­ping and tourism node at the nook of three con­ti­nents – Europe, Asia and Africa. Few na­tions can boast such a strate­gic lo­ca­tion, and fewer still geopo­lit­i­cally trans­for­ma­tive nat- ural gas re­serves. “The en­ergy sec­tor is going to be a mas­sive op­por­tu­nity, one that will then merge with the ship­ping sec­tor,” said Natasa Pilides, di­rec­tor gen­eral of the Cyprus In­vest­ment Pro­mo­tion Agency. “We’re a small is­land and haven’t had mas­sive in­fra­struc­ture projects yet,” she added. This fact presents myr­iad green­field op­por­tu­ni­ties, all within the EU, espe­cially for Chi­nese en­ergy and ship­ping in­fra­struc­ture com­pa­nies. “China has global know- how with in­fra­struc­ture projects, and we are now look­ing East for the next ma­jor in­vest­ment,” said Pilides. “Once we are ready for an [elec­tric­ity] in­ter­con­nec­tor,” she said, “Chi­nese in­vest­ment will have a huge role to play.” In­deed, the 755 bil­lion euro Belt and Road Ini­tia­tive would find a sta­blized geostrate­gic link in Cyprus. As both na­tions pre­pare to cel­e­brate na­tional hol­i­days on Oc­to­ber 1st, the fi­nan­cial cri­sis that brought Cyprus to the brink is al­ready be­ing viewed as a closed chap­ter in his­tory. “Hav­ing emerged from such a se­vere cri­sis in such a short time is note­wor­thy,” Pilides ob­served. “If we can go through that and come out with­out much col­lat­eral dam­age, then we are on the right path,” she de­clared.

The en­ergy sec­tor is going to be a mas­sive op­por­tu­nity. NATASA PILIDES Di­rec­tor Gen­eral, Cyprus In­vest­ment Pro­mo­tion Agency

The Oval build­ing in Li­mas­sol, Cyprus' emerg­ing business hub.

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