– Location: Middle East. Cyprus is an island in the Mediterranean Sea, and at the south of Turkey.
– Total area: 9,251 km2
– Capital: Nicosia
– Natural resources: copper, pyrites, asbestos, gypsum, timber, salt, marble, clay earth pigment
– Natural hazards: moderate earthquake activity; droughts
– Environment current issues: water resource problems (no natural reservoir catchments, seasonal disparity in rainfall, sea water intrusion to island’s largest aquifer, increased salination in the north); water pollution from sewage and industrial wastes; coastal degradation; loss of wildlife habitats from urbanization
– Population: 1,138,071 (July 2012 est.)
– Median age: 35.1 years
– Population growth rate: 1.571%
– Birth rate: 11.44 births/1.000 population
– Death rate: 6.48 deaths/1.000 population
– Urban population: 70% of total population
– Rate of urbanization: 1.3% annual rate of change
– Ethnic groups: Greek 77%, Turkish 18%, other 5% (2001 census)
– Languages: Greek (official),Turkish (official), English
– Religions: Greek Orthodox 78%, Muslim 18%, other 4%
– Literacy rate: 97.6% (male: 98.9%, female: 96.3%).
– Government type: Republic
– Independence: 16 August 1960 (from the UK);
Note: Turkish Cypriots proclaimed self-rule on 13 February 1975 and independence in 1983, but these proclamations are only recognized by Turkey.
– Constitution: 16 August 1960
note: from December 1963, the Turkish Cypriots no longer participated in the government; negotiations to create the basis for a new or revised constitution to govern the island and for better relations between Greek and Turkish Cypriots have been held intermittently since the mid-1960s; in 1975, following the 1974 Turkish intervention, Turkish Cypriots created their own constitution and governing bodies within the “Turkish Federated State of Cyprus,” which they then called the “Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC)” when the Turkish Cypriots declared independence in 1983; a new constitution for the “TRNC” passed by referendum on 5 May 1985, although the “TRNC” remains unrecognized by any country other than Turkey.
– Suffrage: universal.
A former British colony, Cyprus became independent in 1960 following years of resistance to British rule. Tensions between the Greek Cypriot majority and Turkish Cypriot minority came to a head in December 1963, when violence broke out in the capital of Nicosia. Despite the deployment of UN peacekeepers in 1964, sporadic intercommunal violence continued forcing most Turkish Cypriots into enclaves throughout the island. In 1974, a Greek Government-sponsored attempt to seize control of Cyprus was met by military intervention from Turkey, which soon controlled more than a third of the island. In 1983, the Turkish Cypriot-occupied area declared itself the “Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus” (“TRNC”), but it is recognized only by Turkey. The election of a new Cypriot president in 2008 served as the impetus for the UN to encourage both the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot communities to reopen unification negotiations. In September 2008, the leaders of the two communities began negotiations under UN auspices aimed at reuniting the divided island. The talks are ongoing and the leaders continue to meet regularly. The entire island entered the EU on 1 May 2004, although the EU acquis – the body of common rights and obligations – applies only to the areas under the internationally recognized government, and is suspended in the areas administered by Turkish Cypriots. However, individual Turkish Cypriots able to document their eligibility for Republic of Cyprus citizenship legally enjoy the same rights accorded to other citizens of European Union states.
The area of the Republic of Cyprus under government control has a market economy dominated by the service sector, which accounts for four-fifths of GDP.
Tourism, financial services, and real estate are the most important sectors. Erratic growth rates over the past decade reflect the economy’s reliance on tourism, the profitability of which often fluctuates with political instability in the region and economic conditions in Western Europe. Nevertheless, the economy in the area under government control has grown at a rate well above the EU average since 2000. Cyprus joined the European Exchange Rate Mechanism (ERM2) in May 2005 and adopted the euro as its national currency on 1 January 2008.
An aggressive austerity program in the preceding years, aimed at paving the way for the euro, helped turn a soaring fiscal deficit (6.3% in 2003) into a surplus of 1.2% in 2008, and reduced inflation to 4.7%. This prosperity came under pressure in 2009, as construction and tourism slowed in the face of reduced foreign demand triggered by the ongoing global financial crisis. Although Cyprus lagged behind its EU peers in showing signs of stress from the global crisis, the economy tipped into recession in 2009, contracting by 1.7%, and has been slow to bounce back since, posting an anemic growth rate of 1.0% in 2010. The economy experienced no economic growth in 2011.
Serious Cypriot financial sector problems surfaced in early 2011 as the Greek fiscal crisis and euro zone debt crisis deepened. Two of Cyprus’s biggest banks are among the largest holders of Greek bonds in Europe and have a substantial presence in Greece through bank branches and subsidiaries. A liquidity squeeze is choking the financial sector and the real economy as many global investors doubt the Cypriot economy can weather the EU crisis. Cyprus’s borrowing costs have risen steadily because of its exposure to Greek debt. The budget deficit is on the rise and reached 7.4% of GDP in 2011, a violation of the EU’s budget deficit criteria – no more than 3% of GDP. In response to the country’s deteriorating finances and serious risk of contagion from the Greek debt crisis, Nicosia is promising to implement measures to cut the cost of the state payroll, curb tax evasion, and revamp social benefits.
Economy of the area administered by Turkish Cypriots: The Turkish Cypriot economy has roughly half the per capita GDP of the south, and economic growth tends to be volatile, given the north’s relative isolation, bloated public sector, reliance on the Turkish lira, and small market size. The Turkish Cypriots are heavily dependent on transfers from the Turkish Government. Ankara directly finances about one-third of the Turkish Cypriot “administration’s” budget. Aid from Turkey has exceeded $400 million annually in recent years. The Turkish Cypriot economy experienced a sharp slowdown in 2008-09 due to the global financial crisis and to its reliance on British and Turkish tourism, both of which declined due to the recession. The Turkish Cypriot budget deficit also deteriorated in 2009 due to decreased state revenues and increased government expenditures on public sector salaries and social services. The Turkish Cypriot economy declined about 0.6% in 2010.
– Currency : Euro
– GDP (Gross Domestic Product): $24. 95 billion (2011 est.)
– GDP-per capita: $29,400 (2011 est.)
– Real growth rate: 0.5% (2011 est.)
– Unemployment rate: 7.7% (2011 est.)
– Public debt: 65.8% of GDP (2011 est.)
– Inflation rate: 3.5% (2011 est.)
– Central Bank discount rate: 1.75% (31/12/2011)
– Agriculture : citrus, vegetables, barley, grapes, olives, vegetables; poultry, pork, lamb; dairy, cheese
– Industries: tourism, food and beverage processing, cement and gypsum production, ship repair and refurbishment, textiles, light chemicals, metal products, wood, paper, stone and clay products
– Industrial production growth rate: 0.7% (2011 est.)
- Production: 4.887 billion kWh
- Consumption: 4.698 billion kWh
- Exports: 0 kWh
- Imports: 0 kWh
– Crude Oil:
- Production: 0 bbl/day
- Exports: 0 bbl/day
- Imports: 0 bbl/day
- Proved reserves: 0 bbl
– Refined Petroleum products:
- Production: 0 bbl/day
- Consumption: 58,450 bbl/day (2011 est.)
- Exports: 0 bbl/day
- Imports: 60,310 bbl/day (2008 est.)
– Natural gas:
- Production: 0 cu m
- Consumption: 0 cu m
- Exports: 0cu m
- Imports: 0 cu m
- Proved reserves: 0 cu m
– Exports: $2.165 billion
- Commodities: citrus, potatoes, pharmaceuticals, cement, clothing
- Main exports partners: Greece (26.2%), UK (10.2%), Germany (5,6%).
– Imports: $ 8.034 billion
- Commodities: consumer goods, petroleum and lubricants, machinery transport and equipment
- Main imports partners: Greece (21.5%), Israel (10.4%), UK (9.2%), Italy (8.3%), Germany (8.1%), France (5.7%), China (4.8%), Netherlands (4.6%).
– Reserves of foreign exchange and gold : $1.207 billion
– External debt: $ 35.87 billion (2011 est.)
– Stock of direct foreign investment :
- At home : $28.2 billion
- Abroad : $13.41 billion
– Airports : 15
– Roadways : 14,671 km
– Ports and terminals :
- area under government control: Larnaca, Limassol, Vasilikos
- area administered by Turkish Cypriots: Famagusta, Kyrenia