Greek civilization and legacy rest on the country’s territorial morphology that comprises some 6,000 islands and skerries, spread in the Aegean and Ionian Seas, of which only 227 are inhabited. The Greek Archipelago claims more than 7,500 km of the country’s total coastline of 16,000 km.
Throughout history, transiting people and cultures were met with “Filoxenia”, Greek for hospitality and geniality, important attributes for doing business with other nations.
The Greek economy (GDP) from 2004–2008 expanded at one of the highest rates in the Eurozone. However, since 2009 and up-to 2017, due to the continuing current economic crisis, the GDP decreased by approximately 20%. Greece achieved a real GDP growth rate of 0.4% in 2014 after 6 years of economic decline but contracted by 0.3% in 2015 and by 0.05% in 2016. In 2017 GDP is expected to remain at the same level as 2016 (179%).
Currently, there is a crisis in international confidence in Greece’s ability to repay its sovereign debt. To avoid a default, the other Eurozone countries and the IMF agreed on rescue packages which involved giving Greece loans totalling €240 billion. To secure the funding, Greece was required to adopt harsh austerity measures to bring its deficit under control, privatisation of government assets, implementation of structural reforms to improve competitiveness and growth prospects, and a restructure of all public debt held by private creditors by accepting a 53.5% face value loss which is estimated at €110 billion. The Eurozone countries and the IMF are regularly monitoring the implementation of the measures. Greece exited its six-year recession in the second quarter of 2014 but the challenges of securing debt sustainability remain.
A population of 10.75 million boasts an adult literacy rate more than 96% with over 84% having completed upper secondary education and over 35% having attained a University (or similar) degree. Computer literacy, extensive use of mobile phones and Internet access, a healthy mix of university-trained multilingual managers in business, engineering and applied sciences, are some of the quality characteristics underlying Greek human resources.
Greece’s Research & Development map posts a complex multi-disciplinary web of R&D Institutions and Science and Technology Parks.
Greece, an ageless destination ranking among the world’s top 15, generates about 18% of annual GDP from tourism. International investors from Europe, North America, South Africa and Australia have invested in a variety of resorts including marinas, spas, golf courses, hotels and conference centres.
The shipping industry is a key element of Greek economic activity dating back to ancient times. Today, shipping is one of the country’s most important industries. It accounts for 7% of GDP and employs about 4% of the workforce.
Food and Beverage is the most dynamic and profitable sector in Greek manufacturing with production costs remaining among the most competitive in the EU. An abundance of quality raw material sources, branded domestic products and an extensive import-export network operated by Greek companies and major multinationals supply emerging markets in Southeast Europe and the Middle East. R&D infrastructure and generous investment incentives for Mediterranean and Organic products substantiate the prospects of further growth.
Greece has evolved into an energy centre, thanks to a dynamic, reformed and liberalised energy market and alliances with major multinational groups, e.g. oil and gas are transported from Russia and the Caspian Sea for transmission and distribution into Europe. Currently the government is in a process of appointing technical advisors to explore for gas and oil in offshore Greece, and providing generous investment incentives to encourage renewable energy sourcing.