The 19th Annual Capital Link Invest in Greece Forum was organized in New York City on 11th December 2017 attracting more than 1350 participants among them government and business leaders from Greece, Europe and the United States, and top executives from the investment, financial and business communities. This was the first time that the representatives of the 3 European Institutions participated all together in a conference taking place outside Greece to honor the country, with 2 International Rating Agencies, leading US investors with active presence in Greece, 7 International Investment Banks, 4 Greek Systematic Banks and government representatives at the highest level.
Greece is slowly returning to a period of economic growth, after years of recession, and aims to position itself as an attractive investment and business destination. Representatives of the Greek government and the Prime minister Alexis Tsipras himself had the opportunity to feature the developments and reforms in the Greek economy as well as the Greek government program for the economy and the investments.
The Prime minister Alexis Tsipras in a video message addressed an invitation to international investors to take advantage of the new business opportunities presented in Greece. Putting the completion of the economic adjustment program in August 2018, the Prime minister noted that Greece is ready to leave back the recession and austerity and to open a new chapter on growth, prosperity and investments. A growth rate of close of 2% is expected for 2017, the Prime minister said, while he cited EU Commission estimates that the growth rate would reach 2.5% in 2018. Unemployment has dropped 6% since 2015 and foreign direct investments reached 3 billion euros the first 9 months of 2017, up by 69% compared to the same period in 2016."All these have led to an overperformance of our fiscal targets," he said, and made the government "extremely focused on the next chapter of Greece, the upcoming era beyond austerity and recession." Addressing the forum, Tsipras said that "American investors are one of the largest contributors of foreign investments in Greece so we expect that they will remain as such in light of investment opportunities, in order to make the most out of our country’s growth potential."The decision to make the United States the honored country in the Thessaloniki International Fair "shows our determination to foster further the business ties of our countries", he pointed out.
The Minister of Economy & Development Dimitris Papadimitriou, in his speech stated that Greece’s investment and growth revival has been the result of the government’s new National Development Strategy (NDS) in establishing a new investment friendly and export-oriented production model. He noted that this model is based on enhanced domestic industrial production of internationally tradable high value-added and knowledge-based goods and services and employing the well-educated and highly skilled part of the labor force.
The Minister of Finance Euclid Tsakalotos, stated that 2018 marks a significant pivotal point for Greece, mentioning that the new budget signals the exit of Greece from a long period of Financial Assistance Programmes. He supported his argumentation with a series of facts and data; for instance the country has successfully accessed markets funding, while borrowing rates are decreasing, fixed capital formation and private spending are accelerating, exports are improving and, as a result, consumer and business confidence is improving. The minister attributed these positive prospects to the improved faith on the sustainability of Greek public finances and to the introduction of a wide array of reforms that reshaped Greek economy. Tsakalotos also gave a clear message to investors by saying that Greece has already started implementing policies that improve business environment.
The Minister of Tourism of the Hellenic Republic, Elena Kountoura, presented the national tourism policy implemented successfully since 2015 to establish Greece as a global attractive 365-day destination and the new development and investment opportunities that have arisen in the dynamically growing tourism sector. The Tourism Minister noted that for three consecutive years, Greece achieved rates of growth of more than 7 per cent and record-breaking results in all tourism figures: international arrivals (that grew to 26 million in 2015, to 28 million in 2016 and 30 million in 2017), in tourism revenue, overnight stays, hotel occupancies, increased air connectivity, as well as in employment and new investments. Kountoura also noted that Greece aimed to strengthen its role in global decision-making for tourism and is working closely with major global institutions, most notably with United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), having been elected for the first time as a member of its Executive Council for 2018-2021 as well as the OECD, having chaired its High-Level Meeting for Tourism last October, where a Policy Statement was adopted for Sustainable and Inclusive Tourism Growth.
The Forum, which was focused on investment opportunities for Greece in domains such as energy, real estate, tourism, government and corporate bonds, offered also important networking opportunities with Group of Institutional investors.
The Senior Director of North America Sovereigns, Fitch Ratings Charles Seville, stated that Fitch Ratings’ upgrade of Greece’s sovereign rating to B- from CCC reflects their view that public debt sustainability will steadily improve,underpinned by compliance with the terms of the ESM programme, reduced political risk, sustained GDP growth and ongoing fiscal discipline. The positive outlook on the rating reflects the expectation that the third review of the ESM programme will be concluded without creating instability and that the Eurogroup will grant substantial debt relief to Greece in 2018, the representative of Fitch Ratings mentioned.
The Mission Chief for Greece on behalf of the European Commission, Declan Costello, noted that overall economic developments combined with better momentum in implementing reforms indicate that Greece is on a trajectory that could lead to a successful conclusion to the ESM programme on schedule in August 2018.
Within the context of the 19th Annual Capital Link Invest in Greece Forum, the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in cooperation with Capital Link organized a special ceremony in honor of Greece entitled “Greek Day at NYSE”, on 12th December, 2017. This year’s “Greek Day at NYSE” featured Greek Government Officials and executives representing companies listed in the US stock market s as well as companies that participated at the 19th Annual Capital Link Invest in Greece Forum. The New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) flew the Greek flag on Wall Street and issued special commemorative medals to honor the members of the Greek Delegation. The Minister of Finance Euclid Tsakalotos rang “The Closing Bell”, ending the trading session on Tuesday, December 12th 2017.
See also via Greek News Agenda: Greece's economic outlook: Facts and prospects; Positive prospects for the Greek economy attract US investment interest; Economy Minister Dimitris Papadimitriou on US potential investments in Greece