Greek and Cypriot povertyAfter decades of economic struggle which the pandemic and COVID-related restrictions exacerbated, Greece and Cyprus are optimistic about their economic futures. In 2019, both countries’ economies were in grim states. In Cyprus, 15.3% of the population was at risk of poverty as of 2020, a marginal rise from the previous year. Meanwhile, 30% of Greece’s population was at risk of poverty or social exclusion in 2020. Amid all the pessimism, however, there are reasons to have a bright outlook for the future of Greek and Cypriot poverty reduction.

EU Funding

Massive pandemic relief packages stemming from the E.U. budget have already allowed a solid recovery for Greece and Cyprus.

In June 2021, the E.U. approved a recovery plan worth 30.5 billion euros for Greece. According to E.U. Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, the plan “will help Greece build a better future.” The recovery plan could spur Greek economic growth by 7% within the next six years, giving people a reason to be optimistic about the future of Greece’s economy.

In Cyprus, the 1.2 billion euros that Greece secured from the E.U. Recovery and Resilience Program and 1.8 billion euros from the E.U.’s Structural and Investment Funds form part of the Cypriot president’s self-described “ambitious” recovery plan. The massive cash influx will help add at least 11,000 new jobs, a significant number for a country with a population of around 875,000. In addition, it will help Cyprus reverse course from the continuous austerity its government has implemented in recent years, which has proven counterproductive in the fight against poverty. These two gigantic pandemic relief packages from the E.U. will allow a bright future for Greek and Cypriot poverty reduction.

Optimistic Economic Growth Projections

Another major reason for optimism about Greek and Cypriot poverty rates is the countries’ economic growth projections. Despite the pandemic significantly shrinking both nations’ economies, economic growth projections for upcoming quarters and years are notably better than expected.

In Greece, for example, after a fantastic 4.4% rise in GDP in the first quarter of 2021 despite the COVID-related restrictions that were in place for almost the entire quarter, the E.U. Commission has released a favorable economic forecast for Greece for the remainder of 2021 as well as for 2022. It expects Greece’s GDP to grow by 4.3% in 2021 and 6% in 2022. Cyprus’s economy also appears poised to bounce back phenomenally from its shrinkage. Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades has said that the E.U.’s relief plan will enable a 7% increase in GDP over the next five years.

Gabriel Sylvan
Photo: Flickr

Women's Rights in Cyprus
The Republic of Cyprus is located in the eastern Mediterranean Sea. With a population of 1.2 million people, this country faces gender inequality in education, wages and poverty rates. However, its government is working to improve women’s rights in Cyprus through various policies and programs.

The Gender Gap

Cyprus ranks 21st on the European Union’s Gender Equality Index. The European Institute for Gender Equality (EIGE) developed this measurement to see how different factors like age and disability have an impact on gender equality. Cyprus’ ranking emphasizes the need for improved gender equality, specifically women’s rights. Even though there are more women in education than men, in 2017, only 32% of women were secondary school graduates. However, this percentage went up to 38% only a year later.

Despite having more female graduates from secondary and tertiary education, men often receive more pay than women. In fact, women earn half of what men earn. A disproportionate number of women live in poverty in comparison to men. The AROPE (at-risk-of-poverty and social exclusion) measure, which measures poverty, exclusion from the labor market and material deprivation, found that 23.3% of women were in poverty in 2019 while men were at 21.2%. Three in 10 women were at risk of poverty or social exclusion in 2017.

Despite its low ranking in the Gender Equality Index, Cyprus is making faster progress than other countries when it comes to gender equality scores. One can credit this improvement to effective government initiatives.

Government Initiatives

The Constitution of Cyprus has a section on gender equality. Article 28 of the constitution focuses on the equal treatment of women and prohibits discrimination. Cyprus has implemented many government policies and programs to improve gender equality in the country. The government distributed its Strategic Plan on Equality between Women and Men 2014-2017 to different government departments, ministries and local authorities. This precedent has continued with its National Action Plan (NAP) on Gender Equality 2018-2021, increasing awareness for gender equality throughout different areas of the country.

The government of Cyprus has established six new committees to bridge this gender gap. Two committees specifically target violence against women and trafficking and economic empowerment. The government has also increased collaboration with different women’s organizations.

Cyprus Women’s Lobby and Cyprus Antipoverty Network

The Cyprus Women’s Lobby is a branch of the European Women’s Lobby, a nonprofit organization that works with European institutions and civil society organizations. The Cyprus Women’s Lobby is a network of 16 women’s organizations and nonprofit organizations. This group formed in 2008 to improve gender equality and women’s rights in Cyprus. The NAPN-Cyprus (National Anti-Poverty Network Cyprus) is a network of nonprofit organizations. This network focuses on eliminating poverty and social exclusion. NAPN-Cyprus helps alleviate the gender inequality in the country, specifically of women’s rights due to their higher levels of poverty.

Women face a disproportionate amount of inequality in Cyprus. However, their government and different nonprofit organizations are looking to bridge this gap in inequality.

– Mia Banuelos
Photo: Flickr

Hunger in Cyprus
The Republic of Cyprus is an island country that is located in the Mediterranean. The country is between the Middle East on one side and Europe on the other. While The Republic of Cyprus has a rich history and is a beautiful location, the country has had issues with feeding its citizens in the past. Nonetheless, international organizations are making efforts to help reduce hunger in Cyprus. The U.N. is one such organization that is making efforts to help the people of Cyprus through the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Hunger in Cyprus

One of the goals is to end hunger in Cyprus by providing food security, improved nutrition and promoting sustainable agriculture. The U.N. states that Cyprus is usually able to provide food for its people and that the status of nutrition among its citizens is for the most part good. However, there have been instances in the past where this was not the case. In 2013, for example, there was a financial crisis in the country where 2,500 families had to rely on the charity of food banks to meet their daily needs. Additionally, Cyprus faced difficulties in agriculture because Cyprus has a semi-arid climate and water resources that rely on rainfall to replenish them. To overcome those challenges to effective agriculture, Cyprus must improve its production through investments and innovation.

Improving Agriculture in Cyprus

The E.U. is currently trying to do just that for the agriculture of Cyprus. It has implemented The Farm Advisory Services Programme back in 2017. The E.U. understands how vitally important agriculture is to the economy of Cyprus. There are about 10,000 farms that take up 60% of the land in Cyprus. There are also about 125,000 hectares in the north of Cyprus that have dedicated themselves to agricultural production alone. The Food Advisory Services Programme seeks to provide the farmers of Cyprus with the training and technical support that they need to best improve their production. The E.U. began the Food Advisory Program by reaching out to Cyprus farmers in 723 consultations with them. The goal of these consultations was to make sure that as many farmers as possible would have access to E.U. funding. By providing this type of support, the E.U. hopes to prevent hunger in Cyprus.

Not only will improved agricultural techniques help prevent hunger in Cypress, but it will also help the country compete on a global scale. Since 2018, the agricultural sector of Cyprus has been able to make great strides. About 50% of agricultural exports in Cyprus go to the E.U. with the rest going to European countries not part of the E.U., the Middle East or Asia. While Cyprus cannot put out as many agricultural products as larger countries, it can excel in the quality of its agricultural goods. For example, the Cypriot potato is a well known and vital export that makes up 40% of the country’s agricultural products. This particular product is of great quality in Cyprus.

Such progress in the agricultural sector will help the country alleviate its poverty and prevent the possibility of hunger in Cyprus should there ever be another economic crisis.

– Jacob E. Lee
Photo: Flickr

healthcare in cyprusIn the small Mediterranean country of Cyprus, healthcare systems function quite well. Though the World Health Organization recognizes it as being at the same level as that of other developed countries — the Cypriot Ministry of Health has decided to reform it. Here are four things to know about healthcare in Cyprus.

Important Points About Healthcare in Cyprus

Cyprus does not have universal healthcare. Instead, it is a system that is split between a private and a public sector. This, in turn, causes an imbalance. In the public system, “Entitlement to receive free health services is based on residency and income level.” Patients must endure long waiting lists for several services — a problem that has only worsened, recently. According to Cypriot Minister of Health Dr. Androulla Agrotou, “the majority of the population has the right to a free of charge access to public health services while the remaining population must pay per fee schedules set by the Ministry of Health.”

The private system is largely unregulated and financed out-of-pocket by entrepreneurs and voluntary health insurance providers. Moreover, the private system has a surplus of expensive medical technology that often goes underutilized. It also experiences staffing issues, problems with the quality of services and developing health facilities. According to Dr. Agrotou, the lack of a unifying base between the private and the public sector causes “a significant disequilibrium.”

Recent reforms

Despite the aforementioned flaws, the Cypriote Ministry of Health has recently unveiled a new, more comprehensive healthcare system in 2015. The title of the new system is — the General Health Insurance System (GHIS). It aims to provide universal coverage within many areas of the health system. In this same vein, the new healthcare system plans to provide more autonomy to and better management of public hospitals. To do this, GHIS will merge public and private health resources to introduce “information technology systems” and involve patients and the public “in developing and designing services.” In early 2019, the process of giving public hospitals more autonomy began and it aims to finish implementing the reforms in June 2020.

Where Healthcare in Cyprus Currently Stands

Healthcare in Cyprus is considered comparable to that of the U.K. or the U.S. It has made significant progress in disease prevention, as well as surveillance and control mechanisms. Notably, the indicators for life expectancy at birth are at about 75 and 80 years — for men and women, respectively. Other indicators, such as infant mortality and incidence of communicable diseases are also quite low, and “rank Cyprus in high positions in E.U.-wide and international comparisons” says Dr. Agrotou.

Future Outlook

In conclusion, though Cyprus lacks a universal healthcare plan, it is in the process of reforming its system to provide universal coverage to its citizens. Despite the split between the private and public systems, the current system is good enough as some considered it to be a high-quality service provider. However, despite this promising status, the Cypriot government is not settling for “good enough;” and valiant efforts to further improve healthcare in Cyprus are now underway.

Mathilde Venet
Photo: Flickr

Homelessness in Cyprus
Homelessness in Cyprus is increasingly becoming a problem, or at least, many are just now recognizing it as a problem. Thousands of families are unable to afford the high rents and loan installments. Furthermore, asylum-seekers from a number of countries such as Syria, Cameroon, Somalia and Iraq are unable to find housing. However, the Ministry of Labor claimed in 2019 that “there isn’t a single person living on the street, not one homeless person exists.”

The leaders of Cyprus claim that the economy has spectacularly recovered from a 2012 to 2013 economic crisis in which the second-largest bank shut down and the largest, the Bank of Cyprus, had to seize deposits from savers in a bid. The government bailed out the economy, and Cyprus was able to repay the emergency liquidity assurance and regain the trust of its people. While it is true that Cyprus has made a remarkable recovery, the country cannot continue to ignore its housing problem.

Although the government has generally failed to recognize and take action against the problem of homelessness in Cyprus, here is some information regarding how Cypriots are coming together to make a difference.

Housing for All

Created in 2019, an alliance called Housing for All unites 20 social organizations together to fix the housing problem. It put forward demands and proposals to address the issue of homelessness across the European Union.

SXEDiA Shelter

A new center for the homeless opened on July 15, 2020, in Limassol called SXEDiA. The center, led by Nicos Nicolaides, teamed up with the Labor Ministry and provides shelter and support. The center’s goal is for homeless people to gain skills to re-enter the workforce. It also works to help the homeless strengthen support networks and find housing. Cyprus’ lack of data on the homeless population fuels the problem, so the group will also collect and monitor data. This is one of the first temporary accommodation centers in Cyprus.

UNHCR

The United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) is advocating for Cyprus’ homeless, specifically the refugees. The Cyprus Refugee Law guarantees asylum-seekers immediate access to housing and social assistance after applying. However, the system currently fails to deliver on these promises. One problem is the time it takes to receive these applications, leaving many homeless and without money for long periods of time. The Kofinu Reception Center is no longer admitting single asylum-seekers, further exacerbating the problem.

However, the UNHCR claims the problem is avoidable. By allowing refugees to work as early as possible, they will become independent of state welfare and also contribute to the development of Cyprus’ economy. The UNHCR pushes for the government to review the current policy on asylum-seekers so that they can ensure a certain standard of living. They also push for assisting asylum-seekers outside of organized centers so they can more easily integrate into society.

Although homelessness in Cyprus does not seem to be a pressing problem due to the “very low rates,” it is much more of a problem than many realize. The limited statistical information hides the issue, but the number of those without housing is rising dramatically. Luckily, various organizations are taking action to ensure that the thousands in need of housing will receive it. Through direct action, Cyprus can solve its homelessness problem.

Fiona Price
Photo: Flickr

Poverty in Cyprus
Cyprus is an island country in the Mediterranean Sea, just south of Turkey, with a population of 1.2 million. The Republic of Cyprus, the country’s only internationally recognized government and part of the European Union, controls 60% of the southern region of the island. The Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus controls 36% of land in the north region of the island. The division between the North and South republics of Cyprus has created a power struggle of high tension, leaving the island politically unstable. Despite this instability, Cyprus has seen an improvement in decreasing poverty rates, as well as an expanding economy. Here are seven facts about poverty in Cyprus.

7 Facts About Poverty in Cyprus

  1. Cyprus’s economy is growing and expanding. Its tourism sector saw a significant boost in 2018 when over four million travelers visited the island, a 7.8% increase from 2017. This increase in tourism correlates to its increase in GDP per capita, rising from 25,957.85 to 28,341.05 in 2018. Experts expect Cyprus’s GDP per capita to increase even more in 2020, with models estimating a 1.03% increase.
  2. When Cyprus gained independence in 1960, it began transitioning to a service economy. Cyprus’s economy started focusing more on its tourism and service sectors instead of agriculture. This allowed the GDP to rise. As of 2020, Cyprus’s GDP is $34.5 billion, a 3.9% growth since 2019.
  3. Cyprus’s unemployment rate has decreased. With the expansion of Cyprus’s economy came more jobs in the tourism and service sectors. As a result, unemployment rates have decreased.  Since 2015, the country has cut its unemployment rate almost in half, from 14.91% in 2015 to 7.92% in 2019.
  4. Education in Cyprus is growing. Today, Cyprus has five private universities and three public ones. Both are rapidly expanding and connecting with other institutions across the globe. These schools continuously put millions of dollars back into the local economy, thus, providing thousands of jobs for the community.
  5. Life-expectancy is increasing in Cyprus. As of 2020, the island’s life expectancy is 81.05 years, a 0.19% increase from 2019. Future projections from U.N. data predict a continuous upward trend.
  6. Cyprus does not have a standard minimum wage law for all workers. However, some occupations do have certain wage requirements set by the cabinet. These requirements are reviewed and revised annually in an effort to be fair to citizens. Since there is no countrywide minimum wage, however, this leaves room for many disparities in poverty and wealth.
  7. The Economic Interdependence Project is a partnership between the Republic of Cyprus and the Turkish Republic of Cyprus Chambers of Commerce. Created in 2009, the project’s goal is to intervene and encourage partnerships between businesses of both parties. The project hopes to reveal the benefits of the two communities working together to improve Cyprus’s economic stability and growth. They have been able to open the first island-wide business directory with over 200 businesses. Additionally, the project also gave Market Research Grants to some businesses. 

Despite Cyprus’s political tensions between the southern and northern regions, the country has expanded its economy, increased tourism and implemented programs that encourage business relationships. These factors have allowed for an overall decrease in poverty in Cyprus. Hopefully, this progress will continue in the coming years.

– George Hashemi 
Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Sanitation conditions in CyprusCyprus is an island country in the Eastern Mediterranean with a rich history. Over the years, the island has sought to develop safe sanitation facilities that would greatly improve the way of life for much of its rural population. More and more measures are being taken to encourage higher hygiene levels by providing the right supplies such as proper sewer systems, latrines, septic tanks and composting toilets. Cyprus has also begun to address clean water measures throughout the country. These rapid developments have promoted economic growth and decreased high rates of poverty. Here are the top six facts about sanitation conditions in Cyprus.

6 Facts About Sanitation Conditions in Cyprus

  1. Due to the depletion of groundwater resources, the Ministry of Agriculture, National Resources and the Environment had to resort to non-conventional water resources such as desalination, using low-quality water and reusing wastewater. They have used these techniques since 1997. In fact, a desalination plant near Larnaca Airport produces about 33 million cubic meters of water per year, helping to improve sanitation conditions in Cyprus.
  2. The government implemented a harmonization program in 2012 to develop strategies that would improve water and environmental outcomes, which would improve sanitation conditions in Cyprus. It installed central sewage systems in four areas across Cyprus, including Nicosia, Larnaca, Limassol and Paphos.
  3. The irrigated agricultural sector makes up about 70 percent of the entire water use in Cyprus. The domestic sector, tourism and amenities make up the rest of it. Each year, Cyprus’ water demand equals to 265,9 million cubic meters. It is projected to rise to 313,7 meters in 2020 due to an increase in tourism and the use of domestic water sources.
  4. Currently, there is a domestic water supply project in progress to improve water and sanitation conditions in Cyprus. It will focus on the city of Nicosia and the surrounding areas in the western province of the city. The Vasilikos to Western Nicosia Conveyer Water Supply Project is financially backed by the European Investment Bank and the Kokkinokremmos Water Supply Project. It will construct necessary infrastructure including pumping stations, a pipeline and water storage facilities. The project cost around $66 million. The government of Cyprus was able to obtain a loan for almost $44 million.
  5. Due to the water shortage, many farmers face high costs today. Most of their income loss comes from competition within the agricultural sector. Insufficient surface water resources, deeper groundwater pumping and droughts can impact water availability, which then compromises water demand.
  6. According to a graph by the World Bank, the number of people using basic sanitation services in Cyprus has remained consistent from 2000 to 2016. In 2000, reports showed 99.7 percent of people had basic sanitation. In 2016, it had only decreased to 99.5 percent.

Sanitation conditions in Cyprus are readily improving with new development that has strengthened water supplies throughout the country’s regions. Water shortages compromise the livelihoods of much of the population on the island, which severely impacts the rate of global poverty as a whole. These six facts about sanitation conditions in Cyprus are therefore important in understanding how poverty in Cyprus is continuously shifting.

Brittany Adames
Photo: Flickr

Top 10 Facts About Living Conditions in Cyprus
Cyprus, a Mediterranean island with a population of 1.2 million, has endured several different occupations by major powers since the birth of the civilization. Beginning with the Assyrian, Egyptian, Persian and Roman Empires, Cyprus was then taken by the French Venetians and then the Ottoman Empire (from 1571 to 1878). The United Kingdom was the last imperial body to control Cyprus, from which Cyprus gained independence in 1960. In the article below, the top 10 facts about living conditions will be presented and will try to show how the people in this country live and what impacts their lives.

Top 10 Facts About Living Conditions in Cyprus

  1. Since 1974, Cyprus has been politically and ethnically divided into two territories- Northern and Southern Cyprus. Northern Cyprus is a de facto state of Turkey and populated primarily by Turkish Cypriots, while Southern Cyprus governs itself and is populated primarily by Grecian Cypriots. While Turkey recognizes Northern Cyprus as a Turkish territory, the rest of the world considers Northern Cyprus a part of the Republic of Cyprus, along with Southern Cyprus. Both Greek and Turkey are official languages in Cyprus. This division mostly impacts people in the country and reunification talks have been held in order to improve the situation.
  2. Cyprus joined the European Union (EU) in 2004 and has benefited politically and economically since its admission. Living conditions in Cyprus improved as the nation gained access to European treaties and European Union law to resolve internal unrest, and also the increased security that comes with EU membership. Today, more than half of Cyprus’ trade happens within the EU, expanding its markets farther and with more ease than that would be possible without the membership status.
  3. Cyprus has one of the fastest growing economies in the European Union despite the economic crisis of 2013. The nation’s economy grew 3.9 percent in 2017 and is predicted to continue growing in 2019 in the wake of expanding employment and a flourishing tourism industry.
  4. Poverty in Cyprus is notoriously hard to track, but it is presumed that the number of people at risk of poverty has been steadily decreasing over the last few years, starting from 28.9 percent in 2015, 27.6 percent in 2016 and to 25.2 percent in 2017. Improvement in poverty rates is largely due to continued economic growth, coupled with a rise in income in the nation.
  5. Along with a reduction in poverty, unemployment rates continue to fall in Cyprus. From about 15 percent in 2015, the unemployment rate fell to 13 percent in 2016 and further to 11 percent in 2017. In 2018, the unemployment rate fell to 8.2 percent, among the lowest in the EU.
  6. Global Finance Magazine ranked Cyprus 32nd in its 2019 list of the world’s safest countries. This ranks the country higher than the United Kingdom (38th), Japan (43rd) and the United States (65th).
  7. Education completion rates in Cyprus have been maintained at high rates. School completion rates hover between 97 and 98 percent, except for the year Cyprus divided in 1974 when the education completion rate was 64 percent. The political and social unease of this time is to blame for this dip in education completion rates, as the number went right back up the following year.
  8. Matching its high education completion rates, Cyprus’ literacy rate sits at around 99 percent, ranking the country among the best in the world regarding this issue.
  9. The life expectancy in Cyprus is around 80.5 years, which is comparable to neighboring countries Malta (81.8 years) and Greece (81.04 years). This rate is higher than the one in the United States (78.69 years).
  10. Health care in Cyprus is comparable to health systems in other developed nations. Split into public and private sectors, health care in Cyprus is generally free or very inexpensive for citizens and persons from EU nations. Emergency treatment is free for citizens, and EU nationals are eligible for free health insurance at public hospitals, which are located in all major cities.

While living conditions in Cyprus are already good, life in the nation could be improved by the reunification of the North and South. By some estimates, reunification could improve Cyprus’ GDP by as much as $5.7 billion in only five years, as Southern Cyprus would be less vulnerable to the economic problems of Greece and also gain access to Turkish markets. If the two territories gain free access to each other, the economy will benefit as a whole, improving further the Cypriotic economy and living conditions in Cyprus as a whole.

– Jillian Baxter
Photo: Flickr

top 10 facts about poverty in Cyprus
The small, Mediterranean island nation of Cyprus has undergone development and overall economic growth despite conflicts within the country. Although the economy has grown, the financial situation in Cyprus has fluctuated in recent years, causing more issues of poverty. In order to gain a better understanding of poverty and how it’s changing in Cyprus, below are the top 10 facts about poverty in this country.

Top 10 Facts about Poverty in Cyprus

  1. Cyprus’s economy has grown overall but fluctuated since the development of the service sector, offering citizens job opportunities to increase the standard of living. In 1980, Cyprus had a GDP of $2.15 billion. As of 2017, the country’s economy has risen to an estimated $21.65 billion. Cyprus has undergone a decrease since 2008 in its GDP, worsened by the 2012-13 financial crisis in the country, but has begun increasing since then.
  2. Although GDP has certainly increased in recent years, the rate of economic growth in Cyprus has fluctuated. In some years since faster development, Cyprus experienced as much as a 2 percent decrease in GDP due to political instability and global economic decline. Most recently, however, Cyprus maintains around 2 percent economic growth rate.
  3. The service industry is Cyprus’s largest economic sector, with specialized jobs and tourism services continuing to increase. This industry accounts for a significant majority of the GDP in Cyprus at an estimated 86.8 percent, while industry and agriculture comprise 11.2 percent and 2.3 percent of the GDP, respectively.
  4. The unemployment rate in Cyprus is relatively high due to financial and political issues in the country, with an estimated 11.8 percent unemployment rate in 2017. While economic opportunity has been improved for the citizens, this number has decreased since the 2012-13 crisis, as the unemployment rate in 2016 was 13 percent.
  5. Poverty rates in Cyprus have also steadily dropped as the economy of the country grows, although poverty in North (Turkish) Cyprus is somewhat higher than South (Greek) Cyprus. Despite decreased poverty rates and low child poverty rates throughout the country, the risk of falling in poverty increased after the financial crisis and is at 27.7 percent.
  6. Life expectancy in Cyprus raised significantly catalyzed by rapid development throughout the country. In 1960, the average lifetime of people in the country was 69.6 years and has increased to 80.5 years by 2016.
  7. School enrollment and persistence to finish school in Cyprus has risen and maintained high levels since increased development. In 1974, only 64.63 percent of primary school students completed their full studies, while this number has increased to 97.61 percent in 2016. This increase in academic persistence is likely attributed to more opportunity for skilled labor and decreased levels in poverty.
  8. Along with high primary school enrollment in Cyprus, the adult literacy rate in the country is quite high, with an overall 98.68 percent literacy rate. In young adults ages 15-24, the literacy rate is even higher at 99.82 percent, and the male and female literacy rates are relatively equal with 99.80 percent and 99.84 percent, respectively.
  9. The income per capita between the North and South is very different due to political and financial ties between the allies of both regions. South Cyprus had a higher per capita income of around $24,976 in 2017, while North Cyprus only had a per capita income of around $15,109 in the same year.
  10. Economy differences between North and South Cyprus are largely tied to Turkey and the European Union’s economic situations. The Eurozone crisis largely affected Southern Cyprus, while Turkish financial difficulties prevented economic growth in Northern Cyprus. Due to this starkly contrasted economic and political situation, reunification between the two sides would be the most stable and financially beneficial for both sides.

These top 10 facts about poverty in Cyprus underscore the government’s commitment to improving the economy and offering more opportunities for its people. A strong focus on the service and skilled industry, along with industrial and agricultural growth, has allowed the country to improve its already high standard of living. Although the economy has developed significantly, poverty for some people still continues, and with possible reunification between the North and South, poverty would continue to decrease in Cyprus.

– Matthew Cline

Photo: Flick

poverty in Cyprus
Cyprus is a Mediterranean nation with about a quarter of its population living in poverty, but it’s difficult to understand the full scope of the issue because the government does not consider poverty in Cyprus to be a major issue worthy of recording.

To make matters more complex, Cyprus is a nation divided between the north and south. The north is a self-declared Turkish Republic, and the south is known simply as the Republic of Cyprus. This division makes keeping track of those in need on the island more difficult.

 

A Brief History

Cyprus was classified as a low-income country by the U.N. until 1988, and received $331.6 million in aid from the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the U.N. from 1973 to 1988. Cyprus has since become a popular vacation spot and rebounded from its tumultuous past; however, the nation has not shown its citizens as much attention as it has its economy. Of the 1.17 million people living in this popular tourist destination in 2016, 230,000 individuals were at risk of poverty.

 

Tracking Poverty

One reason it’s hard to track poverty in Cyprus is due to the large Greek population in the south. They have strong familial relations, and if one family member suffers from poverty, there is usually someone in the family willing to take them in. Due to this, most at-risk individuals in Cyprus are immigrants, single mothers and retired elderly with no family.

Gathering statistics on poverty in the North is even more difficult, since the country is only recognized by one other U.N. nation (Turkey). Because of this, statistics aren’t regularly collected, and the only ones that are relate to GDP.

 

International Aid

In June 2012, Cyprus became the fifth euro-area member to request international aid. At the time of President Nicos Anastasiades’ first election, Cyprus had been shut out of debt markets for two years, with lenders losing 4.5 billion euros in 2012’s restructuring of Greek sovereign debt.

Over 100,000 people in Cyprus are unemployed, and shopkeepers and small businesses struggle to make ends meet. The nongovernmental organization, Volunteer Groups, reported that there are still over 12,000 additional families in desperate need of basic provisions.

 

Supporting the Community

Food lines and soup kitchens are a part of daily life for at least 40,000 Cypriot families. The Sophia Foundation and other charities are busy feeding school children and citizens in destitution. Up for election again in 2017, Nicos Anastasiades ran against opposition party leader Andros Kypriano — Kypriano said that the president is never called out on the issues of poverty in Cyprus.

“Mr. Anastasiades is not asked to explain why, whereas he and his administration are portraying Cyprus as something akin to Switzerland, about one-third of the population is on the poverty threshold. For the last five years this government has turned its back on low-income pensioners, disabled persons and sick people.”

Hopefully with more time and development, Cyprus will not only be able to accurately and comprehensively document its impoverished population, but it will also be able to make strides in poverty eradication.

– Sam Bramlett

Photo: Pixabay