Greece in south-eastern Europe has shown a remarkable resilience since a crippling economic crisis first hit it after the global crash almost a decade ago. CEO Insight looks at how this giant of history is turning it around. As a new dawn begins to take hold in Greece, it is apparent that for the canny investor there is much to get excited about. This is in large part due to the country having been compelled to implement huge reforms in return for bailout money, such that the investment landscape has opened up.
It has brought with it opportunity in sectors which are once again seeing sustained growth like tourism, energy and agriculture. Moreover, Greece’s inherent geostrategic advantages at the crossroads between East and West, its established infrastructure and business-friendly revised investment framework mean that investors the world over cannot help but sit up and take notice. Given the calamitous developments of the last few years, at the heart of the Greek government’s new course is a focus on long term growth and the creation of an outward-facing economy. In short, Greece actively welcomes new business.
"Given the calamitous developments of the last few years, at the heart of the Greek government’s new course is a focus on long term growth and the creation of an outward-facing economy."
There’s no doubting that Greece has had it hard in recent years, with the 2008 global financial crash delivering a hammer blow to its economy and revealing the chronic shortcomings of its economic infrastructure. It has been a humbling period for the proud Greek people. Yet, this chastening experience has also engendered a pragmatic attitude towards addressing and remedying the situation.
One central measure in restoring economic health has been the State Privatisation Program and its goal to attract investors and restore credibility, so allowing for Greece's return to global capital markets. Informed by this, the Hellenic Republic Asset Development Fund (HRADF) was established with a remit to develop and sell assets to the private sector by way of opening up market sectors and driving investment. It is guided by three principles for maximum benefit – namely; clarity of purpose, transparency of process and speed.
"For Greece, the fund will allow for construction of infrastructure, enhancement of the tourism product and significant job creation."
In so doing, it allows Greece to meet its international obligations and adhere to its medium-term fiscal strategy. Despite Greece’s many challenges, this represents perhaps the greatest investment opportunity in the world right now, bar none. This is partly thanks to the legislative landscape which underpins these developments, embodied in the Investment Law which offers various incentives to investors, simplifies investment procedures, and which was adopted in 2016.
For Greece, the fund will allow for construction of infrastructure, enhancement of the tourism product and significant job creation, a key goal given that almost a quarter of Greece’s working age population are unemployed, something that breeds simmering resentment and leads to social unrest. Meanwhile, for the investor they can expect a transparent and accountable process marked by numerous benefits and attention to aftercare. By way of providing further reassurance, the management team of HRADF is made up of seasoned professionals drawn from the ranks of the banking, business, consultancy and legal services sectors, assisted by a Council of Experts, while international consultants with the requisite pedigree are recruited for each project. Furthermore, to ensure optimum operational efficiency, an extremely straightforward organisational structure prevails.
At a time when investors globally are looking back at the traditional markets of Europe, it is fair to say that Greece presents something of a unique proposition, blending, as it does, the benefits of a developed country, with fantastic growth potential and ROI prospects more akin to emerging economy opportunities.