The biggest problem faced in the effort for digital transformation is resistance to change, Cyprus’ Deputy Minister for Research, Innovation and Digital Policy, Kyriacos Kokkinos said on Monday in parliament where he presented his Deputy Ministry’s budget for 2023 and the work it has carried out during the past two years since its establishment.
Kokkinos also said that an action plan was needed to encourage more young people in Cyprus to study technology-related programs as there is currently a staff shortage in this sector. He also stressed the need for such positions in Cyprus to match the same salary and benefits offered abroad to prevent the brain-drain to other countries. According to the Deputy Minister, however, the fact that Cyprus has now become a technology center, with many technology companies operating in the country, and employing, in the IT sector alone, around 15,000 professionals, has motivated several young people to return.
During the discussion at the House Committee on Financial and Budgetary Affairs, during the presentation of the work of the Deputy Ministry, it was mentioned that within two years, among other things, they implemented a fully digital system for the management of the pandemic, created and developed the gov.cy portal, increased digital services, and upgraded telecommunications.
According to the data submitted by Kokkinos to the Parliament, within two years, Cyprus went up four places in the Digital Economy and Society Index (DESI), which will now be used as a tool to monitor EU countries' progress in implementing the EU Digital Decade 2030 policy agenda. In 2022, Cyprus ranked 20th among the 27 EU member states, which the Deputy Ministry’s note submitted to Parliament said, marks "a rapid pace of progress" and was "applauded" by the European Commission.
Kokkinos also referred to the issue of “resistance to change” regarding digital transformation. He said that changing systems was “the easy part”, but that if structures and processes are not touched, then digital transformation will not be successful. That is why, he said, they exert “tremendous effort” to do so in collaboration, both with the departments and Ministries whose systems are working on but also with citizens, as affected parties.
He also said they will be launching a campaign this week to encourage companies that want to establish operations in Cyprus to choose cities other than Limassol, which, he said, “is saturated”. Kokkinos said that there is a problem now in Limassol, and referred to the environmental burden, the increase in traffic, and the financial burden, giving rent as an example.