20 May 2021 - Economic Diplomacy instrumental in efforts to rebuild post-COVID

Welcome Address by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Nikos Christodoulides, at the event "Cyprus Economic Diplomacy supporting Innovation", with the participation of Heads of foreign Diplomatic Missions in Cyprus

Thursday, 20 May 2021, Atsas Training Centre (Katydata village)

[Relevant Press Release here]


Excellencies, Dear Ambassadors,

Deputy Minister for Research and Innovation Mr. Kokkinos,

Dear George David, Chairman of the board of trustees of the Atsas training Centre,

Dear friends,

It is a great pleasure to welcome you in this stunning setting, outside the city limits, with the Cypriot countryside as our backdrop, for our event on Economic Diplomacy.

Following many challenging months of social isolation due to the pandemic, the improved epidemiological situation is allowing us to meet and engage in person, and I assure you that this will be one of many events to come. A warm welcome, and thank you all for joining us.

Your Excellencies, Dear friends,

We are all emerging from a pandemic that has disrupted our lives in ways that we could have never imagined, posing enormous challenges on Governments across the world, on our citizens and our economies.

In order to contain the spread of the virus, Governments came under pressure to react quickly and decisively by introducing extraordinary measures such as lockdowns, quarantines and travel bans.

Inevitably, the world economy plunged into a profound recession characterized by a reduction in trade, fragmentation of global value chains and reduced foreign direct investment flows.

And yet, crises breed opportunities - for improvement, growth, innovation.

First and foremost, while the pandemic highlighted the vulnerabilities of an interconnected world, it also illustrated in the clearest manner that global challenges call for global solutions through multilateral cooperation on public health.

Although at the beginning of the pandemic we saw states taking an introvert approach, states quickly realized that collective action is where the answers lie, and with a sense of urgency they invested in such collective action, to safeguard the health and well-being of their citizens.

As vaccination programmes are building momentum, the world is moving into a new phase of the fight against the virus and we now stand at a critical juncture. The pandemic offers us a unique opportunity to rebuild for a more resilient, inclusive, and sustainable recovery.

For diplomats, our next major role is to become drivers and facilitators of cross country cooperation, both on the recovery from covid-19 and on other transnational challenges.

As the world starts to rebuild, we should be focusing on deepening cooperation on health, technology, trade and climate change. We believe Economic Diplomacy can play an instrumental role towards that effect.  

At the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, during the last few years, we have made it a priority to further develop Economic Diplomacy, in order to more effectively promote Cyprus’ economic, business and scientific cooperation with other countries and to facilitate the extroversion of our economy. Since 2016 we have been taking steady and decisive steps to develop close and substantial relations with all the main economic and business stakeholders of our country.

This has enabled us to undertake a more meaningful and active involvement in the promotion of economic diplomacy, because it was a growing necessity, but also because the Ministry, through its Diplomatic Missions abroad has the ability and potential for a decisive contribution.

We will provide you more details regarding our approach on this issue, in the presentation that will follow by the Head of the Economic Diplomacy Department at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

At the heart of our approach lies the support and promotion of innovation, in close collaboration with the Deputy Minister for Research and Innovation Mr. Kyriakos Kokkinos and the Chief Scientist, who are also here with us today.

I believe that dynamism and innovation will be key to overcoming the economic crisis and enabling the prospect of economic prosperity in the coming decades. Innovation can help countries to respond to current and future challenges, paving the way for sustainable economies and societies.

Cyprus has a growing Research and Innovation ecosystem, based on a highly educated and experienced human talent.

One of our Government’s goals in this field is to bring academic research to the market in order to release its economic potential.

It is in this framework, that our Government supports the efforts of “Cyprus Seeds”, a non-profit initiative which aims to build bridges between the academic research of Cyprus Universities and research institutes and the business world. You will have the opportunity to learn more about the invaluable work of this initiative later in the programme.

Your Excellencies, Dear friends,

In concluding, let me underline that the world’s recovery from the pandemic can best be achieved by all of us working together and closely collaborating to find joint solutions to common problems.

I hope today’s event will offer new and interesting opportunities for cooperation within the framework of Economic Diplomacy, as we continue our work together towards a prosperous, inclusive, resilient and sustainable future.

Thank you once again for joining us. Many thanks also to Mr. George David, one of the first promoters of Cyprus Seeds, for providing this opportunity to gather in these beautiful surroundings.