A solution of the Cyprus problem could double GDP in 20 years President Nicos Anastasiades said on Wednesday.
“According to a number of studies conducted both by the Cyprus Chamber of Commerce and Industry and others, it has been estimated that with a settlement there is a potential that the all-island GDP could double in 20 years’ time,” he said.
Anastasiades was speaking at an event organised by the Cyprus Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Turkish Cypriot Chamber of Commerce entitled ‘Our vision for a post-settlement economy of Cyprus’ under the Leading By Example programme.
The two chambers have been the working together for years on preparing for a settlement and improving obstacles to mutual cooperation. Recently they have spearheaded the efforts to integrate the mobile phone and electricity systems.
Tourism, shipping, construction
Anastasiades said that the benefits would come “through, amongst others, a significant additional annual income creation in the tourism, construction and transport mainly shipping, industries, as well as the financial and insurance activities.”
Noting the increased attractiveness to big foreign investors and multinational companies, easier access to international finance and unexploited markets, Anastasiades said that a settlement would stimulate sectors that are now experiencing problems and bring “the drastic reduction of unemployment, particularly youth unemployment, and migration”.
As regards sectors, he said “tourism is the most obvious, since a united island with an integrated tourism product will penetrate previously untapped markets,” while the vast amount of reconstruction that will take place, particularly in Varosha, “will create jobs, boost the construction industry and attract foreign direct investment”.
He added that it was “obvious that the growth of these sectors will create spill-over effects for wholesale and retail trade and the overall lift to economic activity will significantly reduce unemployment rate”.
The Turkish Cypriot leader, Mustafa Akinci, echoed Anastasiades’ words, noting that after a solution all Cypriot vessels will also have access to the Turkish ports, allowing “post-settlement Cyprus, as a country with political and economic stability… to become a shipping hub in the eastern Mediterranean.”
“Besides shipping, our location, natural and historical assets and the synergy created after a settlement will enhance the image of Cyprus as an ideal destination for cruise and yacht cruising”.
Akinci also emphasised that his community needed to prepare.
“Membership itself does not guarantee a better life unless we act responsibly.”
Saying that “every effort should be made to narrow the gap between the two communities as fast as possible”, he said “we must also do our homework and speed up passing the necessary EU compliant legislation and by-laws.”
He said that both communities “should have confidence that the day after will be better than the day before. This is the only way for people to own the process.”
Striking the conciliatory note for which has won him favour among many Greek Cypriots, Akinci said “Those sitting on the opposite side of the negotiating table are not enemies but our partners with whom we build a comment future together”.