Cyprus is doubling down on its commitment to integrating technology and digitization into its governance and policy-making, underlining the central role these advancements play in the nation's development. This forward-looking approach was articulated by Undersecretary to the President, Irene Piki, during her address at the 6th Digital Agenda Cyprus Summit.
Piki stressed that modern governance is not solely defined by well-structured systems and structures; it also revolves around a people-centric approach. The impact of global crises, including the 2012 economic downturn and more recent health, geopolitical, and energy-related challenges, has significantly reshaped the daily lives of Cypriot citizens. These crises have had a profound impact on economic circumstances, leading to shifts in socio-political perspectives and, ultimately, a decline in trust in the political system, as evident through high abstention rates observed during the 2021 parliamentary elections.
In response, Cyprus has embarked on its Governance Programme, ushering in a new Social Contract with its citizens, built on a governance plan that prioritizes human well-being. Piki emphasized that the cornerstone of this plan is centered around citizens, fostering the modernization of the state, society, and institutions, with a paramount objective of rebuilding the middle class.
The central tenets of the Governance Programme encompass positioning individuals at the heart of all policies, fostering a sustainable and resilient economy, advocating for modern, equitable, participatory, and transparent governance, and driving the green and digital transition. Piki underscored the pivotal role of technology in enhancing the resilience and competitiveness of Cyprus' economy.
Furthermore, Piki addressed present-day challenges, including ongoing geopolitical shifts and the impact of inflation, which is eroding household budgets and purchasing power. She highlighted the critical need to bolster the economy's resilience and competitiveness, emphasizing that technology stands as a catalyst for this progression.
Cyprus' government projections foresee a GDP growth rate of 2.9% by 2024, with a focus on prioritizing social spending and implementing development projects and reforms in alignment with the Recovery and Resilience Plan. Piki anticipates a notable increase in social expenditure, approximately 15% in 2024, while simultaneously aiming to reduce public debt to less than 60% by the conclusion of 2026.
House Speaker Annita Demetriou echoed the government's dedication to digital transformation and innovation, reflecting the alignment of Cyprus with the national digital strategy for 2020-2025, which closely mirrors the EU's digital strategy. Cyprus is in the midst of actively enhancing digital public services, while the House of Representatives is prioritizing the modernization of its functions and boosting public participation through digital means.
Cyprus is taking resolute strides towards digital transformation, marked by its Recovery and Resilience Plan, which introduces measures aimed at developing innovation programs, financial schemes, and educational reforms. These measures are all geared toward preparing the nation's youth for the digital future, aligning with Cyprus' commitment to positioning technology and digitization at the core of its governance and future growth.
By fLEXI tEAM