Recovering Cyprus Draws Record Foreign Investments

FILE - An elderly man eats a fruit as a woman uses the ATM machine outside a branch of the Bank of Cyprus in the central capital Nicosia, on Monday, March 7, 2016. (AP Photo/Petros Karadjias)

NICOSIA – Continuing to show growth after a 2013 bailout deal confiscated bank accounts, Cyprus in 2016 showed a record 9.1 percent increase in foreign investments as well as huge numbers in tourism.

The combination provided critical bumps for the recovery after President Nicos Anastasiades, shortly after being elected 4 ½ years ago, sought a bailout of 10 billion euros ($11.78 billion) and authorized the seizure of 47.5 percent of bank accounts over 100,000 euros ($117,770), breaking a campaign promise to protect depositors.

The assets of  Cyprus-based investment funds increased by 83 percent as well last yer, the outgoing President of the Cyprus Investment Promotion Agency (CIPA), Christodoulos Angastiniotis told the organization, the Cyprus Mail reported.

“An important indication of the success of CIPA is the ranking of our country as the second most rapidly developing nation brand for 2017, after Iceland, according to the internationally renowned agency Brand Finance,” said Angastiniotis.

“Even though this is a recent development, it is indicative of the success of a long-term effort to highlight Cyprus as a center of business excellence,” he said.

In 2016 GDP growth hit 3 percent while the economy was upgraded by ratings agencies. Increased investor interest in all productive sectors of the economy, such as the casino resort, marinas in Ayia Napa and Limassol, developments along the coasts and the privatisation of Limassol port all contributed to the improved performance of the economy, AGM participants were told.

Anastasiades, praised the vital role played by CIPA and the Cyprus Investment Fund Agency (CIFA) in promoting structural changes.

“With the contribution of CIPA and CIFA we managed to speed up and to capitalise the prospects for development,” he said.

Foreign investments today were in excess of 7.5 billion euros ($8.83) and a key component of the plan to help speed recovery although it nearly wiped out many Cypriots who had their live savings in banks and as Anastasiades never went after the bankers who caused the crisis as he pledged he would.