Citizenship by investment: an opportunity for economies in the age of global citizens

Global Citizen Forum Monaco  Dr Dusko Knezevic and Mario David

Last week I participated in the 2015 Global Citizen Forum which took place in Monaco on 8th and 9th of October and was curated by Arton Capital.  The Global Citizen Forum is an annual non-profit gathering that empowers discussions on what it means to be a citizen of the world. Considered to be the “Davos” of the industry, the forum in Monaco focused on the global migration trends and the ongoing European refugee crisis with a special focus on global investor migration as a growing economic sector.

 Global Citizen Forum Monaco


I was glad to participate in the event that gathered such important and influential members of the global community and gave us an opportunity for high profile and highly useful networking.  Kofi Annan, former Secretary-General of the United Nations, Jose Manuel Barroso, former President of the European Commission, former Prime Minister of Portugal, Irina Bokova, Director-General of UNESCO, Mario David, Vice president of the European People’s Party Member of the European Parliament from Portugal and general Wesley Clark were there to share their opinions on global citizenship and migration trends with business and government representatives from all around the world.


World leaders, policymakers, philanthropists and thought leaders, such as Robert Sharma, that we had opportunity  to listen to  during two day forum in Principality of Monaco, gave us an important  insight in implementing economic citizenship, as well as a global perspective on the migration trends that affect all of us as a global community. 

Global Citizen Forum Monaco  Dr Dusko Knezevic 1

More states are open to making citizenship rights available through investment and it makes a lot of sense. Why not give citizenship to people who contribute a lot to the country? It is a question of mobility and security, especially if you are from a country that is politically unstable, and naturally, you want to have an alternative for your family and your business. Based on the industry insights  - quantity residency/citizenship applications and investments made in the past -  Arton Capital estimates that up to 1 billion euros could be raised within 60 months of its creation.  Furthermore, Global Residence and Citizenship Programs for investors in the European sector have attracted more than EUR 5 billion in capital over the past 18 months, including investment programs in the UK, Lithuania and others.

However, we should never forget that we live in a highly competitive global economy and we have to make decisions that will aid in sustainable economic growth of our countries and, by that, the future of its citizens. With proper systems and infrastructure in place, citizenship by investment, an estimated 50 billion market, can be a great opportunity for such growth. EU member countries such as Portugal, Cyprus, Bulgaria, Spain, and Malta have all benefited through such programs by attracting and facilitating direct foreign investment and empowering their economies in the time of crises.

In that sense, Malta is great example in my opinion. Malta started implementing the program of economic citizenship in January of 2014. During its first year, the program raised more than €500 million which is equivalent to 16 percent of the government’s budget for 2014. Applicants are cross checked against law-enforcement databases and evaluated by specialist due diligence firms. 

Global Citizen Forum Monaco 1

In my opinion, an especially effective model of an economic citizenship program has been implemented in Cyprus and it could be used as a good raw model for countries such as Montenegro, Albania and Croatia, whose economies are highly based on tourism and possess attractive real estate projects.  For example in Cyprus,  the third-smallest country in the European Union, no residency is required for economic citizenship, applicants fill out a three-page form, invest €2.5 million in a property, and pay €7,000 in fees. Consequently, as long as they’re able to produce a “Certificate of Clean Criminal Record” within 90 days, they can receive economic citizenship.


We live in a challenging age of global citizens dominated by migration trends and constant economic instability and change. In such a world, citizenship by investment is an opportunity for prosperity and economic growth that should not be ignored.

Dr Dusko Knezevic  

President Atlas Group

Published on LinkdIN, October 2015

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