The FINANCIAL — The Cypriot Minister of Finance, Harris Georgiades, and European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) Secretary General Enzo Quattrociocche on January 24 signed a Memorandum of Understanding for the organisation of the Bank’s 26th Annual Meeting, which will be held in Nicosia from 9 to 11 May 2017.
The theme of the conference is “Targeting Green and Inclusive Growth: Meeting Regional and Global Challenges” and it will provide an opportunity to discuss global challenges as well as the state of the transition process. Cyprus, a founding member of the EBRD in 1991, became a recipient country of investments by the Bank on a temporary basis in 2014.
Speaking at the signing ceremony, Mr Georgiades said the Annual Meeting of the EBRD will be a high level event, “in fact, the first ever such meeting of an international financial institution to take place in Cyprus.”
“For Cyprus, the EBRD’s Annual Meeting is a unique opportunity to present itself as an attractive, safe and stable jurisdiction to an international audience, as a country which has achieved a remarkable economic recovery and which now offers excellent business and investment opportunities across the sectors,” Mr Georgiades pointed out.
He added that “more than anything, it will be an opportunity for us to express our appreciation and gratitude to the EBRD for its significant contribution in the reform and recovery of our economy”, noting that since 2014, and responding immediately to Cyprus’ request, “the EBRD has set up a local office in Cyprus and has invested so far €220 million, including a much-needed equity participation in two banks, a successful trade-finance facility, financing of shipping companies and also financing of five photovoltaic renewable energy projects.”
In addition, the Minister conveyed Cyprus’ gratitude for the EBRD’s readiness to offer support in the case of a comprehensive political settlement in Cyprus and to assist in the effort for the reconstruction and smooth re-integration of the economy.
Lastly, Mr Georgiades expressed hope that, through its Annual Meeting, the EBRD “will be able to determine its next steps and way forward, in a manner which will enable the Bank to continue playing such a constructive and pivotal role in the direction of supporting economic growth and development. Cyprus, as a founding shareholder and member of the Bank, is particularly keen to see a further broadening of EBRD operations in the eastern Mediterranean region.”
For his part, EBRD Secretary General Mr Quattrociocche said the Annual Meeting “will offer the opportunity to demonstrate to representatives of 67 shareholder countries and up to 2,000 participants from governments, businesses, civil society and media the attractiveness of the island as a place for business, commerce and trade.”
Praising the Cypriot authorities’ hard work and courage in pursuing painful yet necessary economic reforms, Mr Quattrociocche noted that “holding our Annual Meeting will be recognition of the achievements by the government and the people of the island. It will also be a demonstration of the added value the EBRD and its commitment to Cyprus can bring.”
The Annual Meeting, he added, will provide an opportunity to promote the role of Cyprus in the region, “where it is an active participant of intensifying regional cooperation and where it also contributes to regional stability and reconciliation.”
Moreover, conveying a message of encouragement for the ongoing process to find a comprehensive political settlement in Cyprus the EBRD Secretary General said “the reunification of the island is expected to offer a much-needed boost to growth and development as political reconciliation will create attractive opportunities for investors, according to EBRD.
He also said the Bank’s presence on the island “is an affirmation of our commitment to Cyprus and our readiness to support efforts to bolster its economic development for the benefit of all communities of the island.”