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Cyprus to spend €400 mln to develop rural areas

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Cyprus Energy and Trade Minister Natasa Pilides and Rural Development Commissioner Costas Champiaouris visiting a lace making pilot programme in Lefkara, part of a wider programme to promote weaving, ceramics and other handicraft in the region

The Cyprus government will spend €400 mln by 2030 to revitalise communities in mountainous and remote areas, interior minister Nicos Nouris said on Friday.

He added that a new annual allowance will be given to support residents living in remote communities, beyond 40 km from an urban centre.

Addressing a press conference on Friday elaborating on the rural development programme, President Nicos Anastasiades said the government’s roadmap aims to upgrade rural areas in the next decade.

He said that the roadmap laid out by the government will see more than 300 actions, with a horizon of implementation by the end of 2030 and a total budget of €400 mln.

“To date, 24 projects worth €8 mln have been completed, benefitting 113 communities in the Troodos area. Another 49 projects worth €65 mln are in progress, while ten projects worth €165 mln are expected to be announced by the end of the year,” the president said.

He said that the government aims to reverse the wave of urbanisation and to breathe new life into the mountainous areas, making them attractive for new families, investors and entrepreneurs.

Anastasiades said that he will be appointing a commissioner to oversee the projects.

Rural Communities’ Commissioner Costas Champiaouris said that, “actions are underway that will focus on innovation in farming, manufacturing and a new model to develop tourism in rural and mountainous area.

The president said that the government will also be giving out housing incentives for young couples to settle in mountain communities.

“Some 386 communities, or 70% of all communities will benefit from the schemes,” Anastasiades said.

 

Troodos policy statement

In addition, the so-called Troodos policy statement is expected to be presented soon, through which specific spatial and urban planning will be defined.

Anastasiades said that within 2021, the National Strategy for the Development of Mountain Communities will include villages in Paphos and Larnaca.

He further said that some €280 mln will be given to infrastructure works, in order to improve the connectivity of rural areas with town centres.

The President was referring among other projects to the construction of a road connecting Limassol with the village of Saitas, the Nicosia-Palaichori road and the Astromeritis-Evrichou road. All projects are scheduled to begin within the current year.