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Economy

Foreign Investors Line Up to Put Their Money on Greece

ATHENS – Putting the COVID pandemic behind him to concentrate on an economic recovery, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis’ push to bring in foreign investors is finding greater interest on them willing to take a chance.

Optimism is growing about Greece being an attractive investment opportunity, said a survey by EY Greece, at the same time that luxury resort and 5-star hotel operators are jumping in too.

Curiously, while there was a record number of Foreign Direct Investments (FDI) in 2020 when the Coronavirus hit and nearly shut down international travel, it fell back in 2021.

But the EY Attractiveness Survey Greece 2022 poll indicated that was still the second-highest in the previous 22 years and the trend looks to be continuing despite uncertainty about how long the pandemic will last.

What’s holding back some investors, apart from the attempt to improve a slow Internet, is a lagging education system that doesn’t prioritize excellence, high taxes, not enough support for high-tech strengthening small and medium-sized enterprises, it said, reported Kathimerini.

The results were presented at the fifth InvestGR Forum that found 30 FDI’s carried out in 2021, although it’s only 0.51 percent for all of Europe, among 51 countries in the survey.

Cumulatively, the investments of the last two years represent 24 percent of all investments made since 2000, showing it’s a recent phenomenon as Greece had long before that struggled to attract business reluctant to deal with a notorious bureaucracy, corruption and political volatility.

The survey carried out on a sample of 250 executives of foreign companies between March 15-April 15 showed that in 2021 that 30 percent of investments were in headquarters, 20 percent in industrial activities, and 17 percent for sales and marketing offices.

The top sectors where investments were directed in 2021 were agri-food (20 percent of investments), transport and logistics (20 percent), and software and IT services (17 percent) the report also added.

The percentage of companies planning to invest or expand their activities in the next year is rising, reaching 37 percent in 2022 from 34 percent last year and 28 percent in 2020.

Most respondents – 75 perent – felt Greece was a desirable spot for investing in the long run, far above the 64 percent average for Europe although 58 percent –  4 percent lower than 2021 – felt the country’s business image has improved, the drop seen tied to worries over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and impact.

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