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20-10-2020 18:22

Address by the Deputy Minister of Research, Innovation and Digital Policy, Mr Kyriacos Kokkinos, at the ceremony for Signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between Cyprus and the USA

Your Excellency, Under Secretary of the United States of America for Economic Growth, Energy and the Environment, Mr Keith Krach, I would like first of all to welcome you and your delegation to Cyprus.

Cyprus and the USA share a long relationship based on shared values and deep historical roots. In fact, it is rightly stated that “the relationship between our two countries has never been better”. We see great potential and we truly believe that the time has come to inject new momentum and build an even more substantive relationship, widening our existing cooperation and developing synergies both at bilateral and at EU level.

Science and technology are essential tools for rapid and sustainable economic development, particularly in the context of today’s quest for knowledge-based societies, and with Covid-19 still challenging the efficiency of our economies, as well as the performance of our healthcare and welfare systems. It has now become more obvious than ever that we must improve both our capacity to respond to such crises and our resilience to absorb future shocks by investing in innovative scientific research and the endless possibilities offered by cutting-edge technologies.

Without any doubt, to effectively address this profound global crisis and maximize the efficiency of technological and innovative solutions, close collaboration and greater solidarity among countries is imperative. Together we can certainly achieve much more. To this end, interconnecting and strengthening our ecosystems through the exchange of knowledge, best practices, resources and skills will benefit all parties and magnify the impact of innovation, for it will support economic recovery and pave the way for sustainable development at global level.

Today’s signing of the Memorandum of Understanding on Science and Technology reaffirms our mutual will to pursue an enhanced cooperation and accelerate outputs which will translate into tangible benefits for societies. We look forward to soon being able to revitalize the full Agreement between the Government of the Republic of Cyprus and the Government of the United States of America for Scientific and Technological Cooperation, in order to broaden and expand relations between the scientific and technological communities of both countries and promote practical collaboration in a more targeted way in areas of mutual interest, benefit and concern.

Being key partners in science and technology, in particular when it comes to addressing global challenges, Cyprus and the US are deeply interconnected and have a lot to offer each other; on one hand, the United States is a world leader in this sphere of activity, while Cyprus is rapidly emerging into a regional business hub in the critical region of the Eastern Mediterranean.

We have recently embarked on an exciting journey for the accelerated enhancement of our country into a knowledge-based economy, with digital technology and scientific research being key levers and enablers for this transformation. We aim to lay the foundations for long-term and sustainable economic growth, the benefits of which will be maximized with time. Following a citizen- and business-centric approach, we aim to offer superior digital public services, while boosting our tech and telecommunications infrastructure. We place great emphasis on safeguarding the integrity, privacy, security and resilience of our digital infrastructure, data, communication networks and services, including the security of the supply, deployment, and operation of 5G networks. I would like to assure you and the US Government, that we are taking all necessary measures, policies and technological decisions so that our communications and digital infrastructure is secure and robust, for ensuring the smooth and accelerated deployment of our digital transformation as well as establishing our country as a strong regional player in the Science and Technology sphere.

To this end, strategic and proactive collaboration is key. I would like to express our sincerest appreciation for the US continued and multidimensional support to our efforts, as well as my sincere hope that the partnership between Cyprus and the United States of America will be further strengthened not only in the fields of science and technology, but across the full spectrum of bilateral relations.

(EK)