Fairfax head Prem Watsa says now is time for investments in Greece

Fairfax Financial Holdings Chairman Prem Watsa expressed optimism for the prospects of the Greek economy on Tuesday, addressing the general assembly of the Hellenic Federation of Enterprises (SEV) at the Athens Concert Hall.

“Now is the time for investments for Greece,” he said and cited the example of Ireland, for which forecasts in 2012 pointed to a 1-2 pct growth for the next years, when the country’s actual performance was around 5 pct.

“There’s no reason why Greece cannot be the best country for investments. This way you will regain control of your destiny. I’m optimistic that all this will happen and that the difficult years will remain in the past,” he said.

He noted however that to bring investments, the country must promote economic freedom and form a business-friendly environment, adding that the role of the state is to ensure there is infrastructure and rules while jobs are created by businesses.

Watsa commented on the effects of the crisis on the Greek economy, such as the drop in the GDP which exceeded that in the United States during the Depression, the high unemployment, the drop in the stock exchange, the reduction in foreign investments and construction and congratulated the companies that managed to survive.

He also presented the investments he made in Greek businesses in the last two years noting that the high level of the country’s human resources was one of the reasons that counted in taking those investments decisions.