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Cyprus receives greater EIB support in 2023, with heavy focus on green investments

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Cyprus receives greater EIB support in 2023, with heavy focus on green investments

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    Lending in Cyprus last year by the European Investment Bank (EIB) Group rose to €257 million, up 3% compared with 2022.

    The new financing went towards increasing economic competitiveness, mitigating climate change, and improving everyday life for residents.

    The EIB committed €130 million to support a program called THALIA that targets smart and green investments including in digitalisation, water, energy, environmental protection, and vocational training.

    Also in focus were wastewater investments in Nicosia, Limassol and Larnaca totaling €100 million to help Cyprus fully comply with EU water legislation. The remaining €27 million came from the EIB's European Investment Fund (EIF) unit.

    “In 2023, the EIB Group exceeded its targets in Cyprus,” said Kyriacos Kakouris, EIB Vice President for Cyprus.“The support is vital to help steer the country towards smart, digital, and sustainable investments, while also maintaining robust employment and social cohesion. In addition to the financial support, the number of important advisory assignments, especially in the energy sectors, will help accelerate the country's adoption of climate-friendly investments.”

    The new financing signed in 2023 was the sixth- highest among EU countries as a share of gross domestic product.

    “I am pleased that the EIB's continued strong partnership with Cyprus has resulted in new financial commitments totaling €257 million. This support is significant and targeted to important policy priorities such as sustainable energy and natural resources, innovation and sustainable cities and regions, which are of course aligned to our priorities as well. It was also a strong year in terms of disbursements since more than €220 million was disbursed supporting several ongoing projects across different sectors. Turning to the future, I am confident the EIB will continue to have even more impactful investments in Cyprus and all EU countries to address the current and future challenges,” said Cypriot Finance Minister Makis Keravnos.

    Water, digital and green sectors

     The €100 million wastewater investments in Nicosia, Limassol and Larnaca fund the preparation and construction of sewer networks and treatment facilities.

    Cyprus is one of the most water-scarce countries in the world and faces growing demand for water. Since Cyprus's accession to the EU in 2004, the EIB has approved financing of more than €650 million for water projects throughout the country.

    THALIA, which has a budget of €1.8 billion for 2021-2027, is central to Cypriot efforts to bolster economic resilience and competitiveness. The €130 million signed last year will finance operational programs and priorities, with the EIB helping the country to steer its economy through the digital and green transitions while supporting jobs and social cohesion.

    Equity ecosystem

    In 2023, the EIF supported the nascent equity ecosystem in Cyprus. The team appointed to manage the Cyprus Equity Fund, the country's first publicly supported venture capital fund, is currently fundraising.

    The EIF’s €27 million commitment was signed in September 2023. Investments are expected to start in the second quarter of 2024, marking a big step towards improving access to risk finance for startups and innovative companies in Cyprus.

    Advisory services

    In parallel, EIB Advisory expanded its footprint in Cyprus by providing technical assistance to both the public and the private sectors in infrastructure projects relating to the environment, transport, climate, digital innovation, and urban development. A key objective for EIB advisory activity in Cyprus is to maintain a strong link with EU policy priorities and an investment project focus, and this is offered independently to EIB lending activity. Currently there are five active assignments and three recently completed assignments in Cyprus.

    The highlights of advisory support in 2023 included assistance with the establishment of an efficient organizational and governance structure – as well as robust industrial safety procedures – for the Vasilikos Energy Centre, an assignment worth €1.5 million. Also included was the implementation plan for the operation of the New Cyprus Museum (NCM), to be financed by the EIB in 2024.

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