Greece’s new century

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As Greece prepares to have fun the bicentennial of the nation’s independence subsequent month, Greece can also be poised to enter a brand new period in its financial improvement as a contemporary nation-state.

Greece’s trendy historical past will be divided into a number of distinct durations. And within the lengthy and sometimes tough highway, Greece has trod during the last 200 years, there have been no scarcity of setbacks: financial crises, sovereign defaults, and misguided improvement insurance policies, mixed with wars, poverty, famine, and emigration. And but, every of these durations has given beginning to a brand new and higher Greece that succeeded it.

Greece is getting into such a brand new period now.

The first interval of the Greek state, courting from the 1821 War of Independence, was centered on consolidating the nation slightly than on constructing a steady economic system. The nation was born a runt state, half its present measurement, carved out of the slowly dying Ottoman Empire. Poor and primarily agricultural, Greece’s first interval of financial improvement culminated within the imposition of worldwide monetary controls in 1898. 

From 1898 till the top of its civil warfare in 1949, Greece gained new territory, developed the foundations of its industrial base and welcomed a small, however vital, influx of funding and human capital. But the nation additionally suffered by the financial hardships of the Great Depression, political instability, a number of regional wars, brutal international occupation, devastating civil warfare and the mixing of greater than one million Greek refugees from Asia Minor.

Since the top of the civil warfare till at present, Greece moved ahead economically, with fast improvement within the 1950s and the 1960s, and accession to the European Economic Community in 1981. But the oil crises of the 1970s and the buildup of public debt – regardless of financial progress – led to the 2008 international monetary disaster that pushed Greece right into a decade-long monetary disaster that erased lots of the positive factors of the previous twenty years.

But since rising from particular European and IMF oversight in 2018, Greece at present is now not on the margins of Europe and has established itself as a hub of financial exercise within the higher area. As we, hopefully, move into the post-COVID-era, Greece is getting into a fourth period in its financial improvement and, to a fantastic extent, by leveraging the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

At the onset of the pandemic, the Greek authorities met the problem by intensifying an bold reform program and setting new objectives for the nation. As a end result, three areas, specifically, stand out as rising progress drivers – innovation, life sciences, and inexperienced vitality.

Innovation and high-tech moved to the highest of priorities for policymakers, with tangible outcomes. Microsoft just lately introduced a undertaking to construct cloud-computing knowledge facilities in Greece – a move that can improve Greek digital infrastructure considerably and contribute an estimated €1 billion to the native economic system.

Amazon’s Web Services division additionally simply opened its first workplace in Athens, testifying to the emergence of Greece as a hub for tech and digital companies. Other tech giants have additionally seen a future in Greece: main multinationals like Samsung, Daimler, Applied Materials, Cisco, Digital Realty and Tesla – amongst others – have been investing within the nation’s up-and-coming tech sector. 

Greece’s strong life sciences sector, already an export champion within the area, has been gaining contemporary consideration with the combat towards COVID and is attracting vital funding in pharmaceutical analysis and manufacturing. Recently, pharma big Pfizer arrange an R&D hub within the northern Greek metropolis of Thessaloniki, whereas roughly 15% of all Greek start-ups are within the life sciences sector. With its high quality well being infrastructure, extra medical doctors per capita than another OECD nation, and a tourism model already related to well being and wellness, Greece is a lovely vacation spot for medical remedy and for retirees. Through numerous initiatives, the Greek authorities is now making an effort to faucet into the European Union’s €four trillion Silver Economy.

The Greek Green Deal, which foresees a whole phasing out of lignite by 2028 and doubling the contribution of renewable vitality to the nation’s vitality combine by 2030, is already attracting giant investments and rising exponentially. Four initiatives totaling 2.eight GW of wind and solar energy, and price greater than €2 billion, have been authorized for fast-track standing this 12 months.

International auto big Volkswagen has simply introduced a pilot undertaking to remodel the Greek island of Astypalaia into the Mediterranean’s first sensible, inexperienced island with electrical automobiles powered completely by renewable vitality. In the near future, Greece will introduce laws to permit the creation of offshore wind farms, tapping the limitless wind vitality of Greek seas.

These constructive developments, which serve to diversify and strengthen the Greek economic system, spring from focused reforms and a brand new imaginative and prescient for Greece, as embodied within the nation’s bold objectives beneath the €750 billion NextGenerationEU program. A brand new period and the subsequent steps Greece should take – the main focus of this 12 months’s InvestGR Forum – beckons. And if previous is prologue, Greece is poised to start a vivid, new century in its trendy historical past.