The Cyprus Chamber of Commerce, founded in 1927, was the first type of collective organization of the commercial business world of Cyprus. It operated only in Nicosia and it included representation of all the towns of the island.
Parallel to the Cyprus Chamber of Commerce, the Commerce & Industry Federation of Cyprus was founded in 1952, having the Commerce & Industry Federation of Famagusta as an associate member.
In 1963, the Cyprus Chamber of Commerce and the Commerce & Industry Federation were joined to form the CCCI (Cyprus Chamber of Commerce & Industry), with the local Chambers of Nicosia, Limassol, Famagusta, Larnaca and Paphos, as federal members.
The constitution of CCCI provided that the local Chambers would, if they chose to, keep their own offices, personnel and administration, provided their registered members exceeded a minimum number, 130 in the case of Famagusta.
The active members of the Chamber worked towards achieving the required minimum number, so the Chamber of Commerce & Industry of Famagusta soon acquired its own offices, which were originally housed in the offices of the shipping company “Frangoudis & Stephanou” on Thoukididou street, no. 1, thus making use of the company’s office facilities. The first member of staff of the Chamber was Mrs. Olga Stoupenou. In 1966 the Chamber’s offices were moved to Gladstonos street, no. 26A, with Mrs. Kyproulla Englezou on its payroll. In 1967, miss Maro Karanikola replaced Mrs Englezou and in 1968, Mr. Pavlos Vanezis was hired as a Secretary General. The first Board of Directors of the Famagusta Chamber of Commerce & Industry consisted of the following Stephanos Stephanou, President, Christodoulos Mavroudis, Secretary, Andreas Giorgis, Treasurer, and George Colocasides, Evagoras Gavrielides, Spyros Ioannou, Photos Lordos, Phanos Epiphaniou, Andreas Zisimos, Sotos Hadjisoteriou, Omiros Kourtis and Takis Philippou, members.
The Famagusta Chamber initiated a strong activity and was instrumental in the development of trade and industry of Famagusta, as well as the Cyprus economy in general. It has promoted, among other activities, the development of the Free Industrial Zone, the School of Hoteliers and various infrastructural works. In collaboration with ΚΕPA (Cyprus Productivity Centre), it organized various training seminars, offered education grants, published its own newsletter and participated in various cultural activities. In addition, it was the Chamber’s initiative that institutionalized the Famagusta Coordination Committee, which operates to this day as the official representation body of the Famagusta area.
In 1971, during Mr. Christodoulos Mavroudis’ presidency, the Famagusta Chamber of Commerce & Industry (FCCI) was fraternized with the Chamber of Commerce of Piraeus.
While the development of Famagusta was climbing, and the FCCI was looking at a bright future ahead, the Turkish invasion of July 1974 and the tragic events that followed, halted everything, causing the violent exit of Famagustians from their beloved city, leaving it vacant and exposed to the destructive elements of nature, up to this day.
Despite the destruction and the painful consequences of the Turkish invasion, the business world of Famagusta, scattered throughout the free area of Cyprus, managed to recompose itself with admirable courage and, having as its only weapon the skills and experience gained, was reactivated and contributed greatly to the well-known post-war economic miracle of Cyprus.
The displaced Chamber of Famagusta was activated right after the invasion and, hosted by the Limassol Chamber of Commerce and Industry in its offices, started to contact its members. In 1975, all personnel were rehired to help the members of the Chamber to face their various problems (debt and interest, securing loans, housing, etc). Parallel to these activities, the FCCI engaged in lobbying activities, contacting foreign governments, organizations, parliament members and other instrumental bodies, in order to inform the world about the political situation of Cyprus.
At the beginning of 1978, FCCI personnel started issuing Certificates of Origin to its members, for exports of Cyprus products. Subscriptions from members were collected normally.
In 1979 Mr. James Chatzivarnavas hired in the position of secretary / manager and starts a new attempt to reorganize the chamber.
In December of 1980, FCCI moved to its own rented offices, on Koumandarias street, no. 1, in Limassol, and subsequently, in 1989 it acquired its own property to use as office space, on Ayiou Andreou, no. 339, Limassol. In addition to the Limassol offices, in 1996 the Board of Directors of the FCCI decided to open a branch office in Paralimni, on First April Avenue, no. 24, in order to best service the members of FCCI based in the free Famagusta region. In 2010, the Paralimni offices were moved to a newly-constructed building which offered ample office and conference area, on Griva Digeni Avenue, no. 152.
Operating away from its natural home and away from occupied Famagusta, the FCCI continues to have admirable activity. It participates in all the activities of the Cyprus Chamber of Commerce & Industry, while at the same time keeping its autonomy, working towards solving the various problems of its displaced members, as well as towards the promotion of the development needs of the free Famagusta area.