Facts and Figures
Official name: The Republic of Cyprus
EU Member State: since 01/05/2004
Political System: Presidential Democracy
President: Mr. Nicos Anastasiades
Population (July 2013 est.): 1,155,403
Area: 9,251 km²
Languages: Greek and Turkish are the official languages while English is widely spoken.
Currency: Euro (since 01.01.2008 when it replaced the Cyprus pound)
Cyprus is an island in the northeastern basin of the Mediterranean Sea, at the crossroads of Europe, Asia and Africa. Ideally located to serve three continents, it represents a strategic hub for business activities in the region. Throughout the centuries, Cyprus has been a meeting place of civilizations and cultures.
Cyprus enjoys a Mediterranean climate with long dry summers from mid May to mid October and abundant sunshine throughout the year. Variations in temperature and rainfall are governed by altitude and, to a lesser extent, distance from the coast.
Cyprus became an independent Republic in 1960, adopting a governmental structure modeled on Western democracies. The head of state is the President of the Republic, elected by universal suffrage for a five-year term of office. The Council of Ministers, appointed by the President, constitutes the main executive body of the Republic. Cyprus has an efficient civil service, with highly trained personnel, a considerable percentage of which holds academic qualifications.
Legislative power rests with the House of Representatives, elected for a five-year term. A multi-party system is in operation, while the electoral system is based on proportional representation.
Cyprus is well connected via sea, air and telecommunications. Due to its advanced telecommunications network and the superb regional and global connectivity on offer, the island is considered as one of the most important telecommunication hubs in the Eastern Mediterranean and the Middle East region. This is also enhanced by an extensive submarine fibre optic cable network and access to major satellite systems.
In addition, Cyprus' role as a regional commercial and business centre, coupled with the increasing tourist traffic, has led to the development of a wide network of air-routes offering excellent connections with Europe, Africa, and Asia. The country has two international airports which are situated near Larnaca and Paphos. The newly built Larnaca airport operated for the first time in November 2009 while the Paphos airport was renovated during the same year.
The multi-purpose ports of Limassol and Larnaca are the country's main sea gateways for seaborne cargo and passenger traffic. Both ports have become important regional warehouse and distribution centres.
Cyprus is a member of the European Union, the United Nations, the Council of Europe, the World Trade Organization, the World Bank, the Commonwealth, and the International Monetary Fund. Moreover, Cyprus is represented through diplomatic missions in over 30 countries and has particularly good relations with the Middle East region, the Mediterranean countries, as well as other developing countries.
Full time education is compulsory for all children from the age of five. The 12 year span of education consists of six years elementary education and six years of secondary education. Several private fee-paying schools operate in all towns, catering for the needs of foreign speaking pupils. Their basic teaching language is usually English and tuition is offered at reasonable fees.
The University of Cyprus is a distinguished institution offering a wide range of programmes of study at various levels. Furthermore, a good number of private institutions of higher education are also available. Two more public universities, the Open University of Cyprus and the Technological University of Cyprus have been established and operate since 2006 and 2007 respectively. Also three other private universities have been established recently, the European University, the University of Nicosia and Frederick University.
It is noteworthy that Cyprus currently has the highest percentage of citizens of working age who have higher-level education in the EU at 30% which is ahead of Finland's 29.5%. In addition 47% of its population aged 25–34 have tertiary education, which is the highest in the EU. The body of Cypriot students is highly mobile, with 78.7% studying in a university outside Cyprus.