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Cyprus Business Now: weekly wrap-up

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Here are the top business stories in Cyprus from the week starting February 12:

In a recent development, Cyprus’ Research and Innovation Foundation on Monday announced that it is joining forces with Israel’s Ministry of Science and Technology, in order to boost collaboration and cross-border relations in the field of research and innovation. According to the announcement, the Research & Innovation Foundation (RIF) and the Israeli ministry have launched a joint funding initiative, with a total budget of €1.8 million, with €900,000 allocated to each country.

Meanwhile, Paphos hotels are reporting a drop in occupancy rates during the first quarter of 2024, when compared to the same period of the previous year, according to Evelyn Komodromou, deputy president of the Paphos Hoteliers Association (Pasyxe). Komodromou explained that the evolving political landscape is contributing to a more cautious approach among tourists.

Furthermore, the Cyprus real estate market performed well in 2023, with property transfers totalling €1.9 billion and sales documents amounting to €4.2 billion, the Real Estate Agents Registration Council said on Tuesday. Marinos Kineyirou, the president of the Real Estate Agents Registration Council, highlighted the market’s strong performance, emphasising its contribution to the growth of the Cypriot economy. “For yet another year and despite the significant challenges affecting demand from both local and foreign buyers, the Cypriot real estate market has endured and continued to develop,” Kineyirou said.

Additionally, Deputy Minister of Shipping Marina Hadjimanoli on Tuesday praised Cyprus’ role in project BlueBarge, which aims to provide moored ships with electricity from rechargeable, green energy batteries. Preparations for the project are underway in Limassol port. Hadjimanoli highlighted Cyprus’ involvement in the project, emphasising the country’s role in advancing sustainable energy solutions within the maritime industry. Adaptations to equipment are currently being conducted at the shipyard and anchorage in Limassol to support the BlueBarge initiative.

Subsequently, the Great Sea Interconnector is a “landmark project”, President of the House finance committee Christiana Erotokritou told the European parliament in Brussels on Tuesday. She said the cross-border benefits of the project connecting the grids of Cyprus, Greece and Israel, had been appraised. “The landmark project, partially funded by the EU, aims to end the energy isolation of Cyprus and to integrate it into the European energy network,” the MP said, adding that it was imperative to create a permanent strategic investment fund for it, in the context of the EU’s next multiannual financial framework (MFF).

In the realm of technology and innovation, Google for Startups, NVO Lab, and GameDev Cyprus (GDCy) are gearing up for the launch of the LVLUP Accelerator, a dedicated programme aimed at supporting gaming companies in Cyprus, according to an announcement released on Wednesday. The announcement, released by the Cypriot Ministry of Finance, stated that the LVLUP Accelerator programme is strategically designed to bolster new Cypriot gaming studios and startups, boosting their growth, while at the same time attracting new gaming companies to Cyprus.

Moreover, European University Cyprus (EUC) on Wednesday announced that its startup programme, implemented in collaboration with tech giant Microsoft, is set to launch its third cycle, offering active support to Cypriot startups for yet another year. According to the announcement, the programme aims to support ten emerging businesses from across Cyprus, providing them with a specialised training and mentoring package entirely free of charge. The goal, the university said, is to empower the founders of these startups to properly enter the global market and achieve their business objectives.

On the environmental front, consulting and advisory firm PwC Cyprus has marked a significant achievement in its journey towards achieving net zero greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, with the company successfully transitioning to using 100 per cent renewable electricity for its operations in Nicosia and Limassol. This noteworthy achievement is part of PwC Cyprus’ broader commitment to reducing its carbon footprint and supporting the global economy’s transition towards net zero emissions by 2030, in alignment with targets set across its network of member firms. Moreover, this transition to renewable electricity underscores PwC Cyprus’ dedication to making environmentally responsible decisions.

Economically, Cyprus is expected to experience further growth in its Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 2024, combined with a slowdown in inflation, according to the European Commission’s interim winter forecast, released on Thursday. This positive outlook was primarily attributed to strong domestic demand, strategic investments, and lower energy prices, despite broader economic challenges in the EU and the eurozone.

Moreover, Kition Ocean Holdings, the consortium tasked with redeveloping the Larnaca port, marina and waterfront, on Friday announced that the historic Larnaca Marina Pier, the first major milestone in the project, is nearing completion. “This announcement therefore marks the successful restoration, structural upgrade, and enhancement of the historic pier, set to be delivered within the agreed timeframe in April 2024,” the company said in the announcement.

“Families and visitors will once again be able to access one of Larnaca’s most beloved landmarks,” it added. Kition Ocean Holdings was awarded the redevelopment and operation of the Larnaca Port and Marina area in 2020.

Finally, The Cyprus Investment Funds Association (CIFA) this week held its annual general meeting (AGM), which sought to highlight the significant role and contributions of the investment funds sector in driving the sustainable development of Cyprus’ economy.

The meeting, which was held on Thursday, February 15, in Nicosia, received commendations from a number of important guests, including President Nikos Christodoulides, Finance Minister Makis Keravnos, and George Karatzias, Vice-President of the Cyprus Securities and Exchange Commission (CySEC).

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