The meeting of the Chairman with the Regional Director of Friedrich Ebert Stiftung
The Chairman, Mr. Irakli Kobakhidze held the introductory meeting with the newly appointed Regional Director of Friedrich Ebert Stiftung, Mr. Felix Hett.
The parties discussed priority directions and implemented projects of the Stiftung and touched upon future cooperation in terms of capacity building of the Parliament.
The meeting was attended by the Deputy Chair of the Foreign Relations Committee, Dimitri Tskitishvli, the Head of the Speaker’s Cabinet, Nikoloz Samkharadze, the former Regional Director of the Stiftung and the Director of the Stiftung Georgia Office.
Sebastian Molineus: I am really pleased to see many very important reforms in Georgia
I am really pleased to see many very important reforms in Georgia. It was announced by Sebastian Molineus, Regional Director of the World Bank for the South Caucasus after a meeting with Irakli Garibashvili, Prime Minister of Georgia today.
According to Mr. Molineus, Georgia plays a role of a strong leader both in the region and globally.
Irakli Garibashvili and Sebastian Molineus reviewed the projects currently implemented and planned in Georgia with support of the World Bank, along with the assistance received by the country during the COVID pandemic. Significant support of the World Bank demonstrated in the fight against the virus was particularly highlighted.
The Prime Minister of Georgia expressed gratitude to Sabastian Molineus for the effective and productive cooperation with the Government of Georgia, thereby noting that engagement of the World Bank in various sectors of the economy are genuinely appreciated.
According to the Head of Government of Georgia, financial resources were allocated by the World Bank over the decades for financing a number of significant projects, totaling to 2.7 BLN USD. Current portfolio of the World Bank consists of 12 active investment projects and Development Policy Operations (DPOs) amounting to 928 MLN USD in total.
It was noted during the discussion that projects oriented towards boosting the micro, small and medium enterprises (MSME) have given a great stimulus to the economic recovery and gradual resumption of business in Georgia. According to the Prime Minister of Georgia, the country aims to shape into a transport and logistics hub between Europe and Asia, thus making the regional development projects a key priority in the agenda of the government, while the financial support of the World Bank playing a significant role towards this end.
"I was very pleased to meet the Prime Minister. The main focus of the discussion was around the economic reform program and I am really pleased to see many very important reforms that are underway and being launched. The first such reform is around the human capital agenda, where the World Bank jointly with the Government is preparing a major - what I would refer - a transformational reform program to improve health outcomes, particularly addressing the high out-of-pocket costs that many Georgians are faced today, improving the educational outcomes, making sure that the PISA rankings are improved and that we can improve the quality of education from early childhood all the way to a university. And then the number three, addressing important social protection reforms, in particular ensuring that the social protection measures address those families that need it most, in particular families with children. So, this is the human capital agenda and the first main topic that we discussed. The second topic that we discussed was around the ongoing COVID response, making sure that some of the very positive measures that the Government has undertaken as of late - Green Passes, financial incentives for the elderly - are continued and strengthened with a very robust communications campaign to ensure that all Georgians are vaccinated. And number three: We discussed the overall economic and structural reform agenda. What are the reforms to increase the productivity of the Georgian economy, so that it can create more jobs for the people of Georgia? What are some of the reforms that are needed to ensure that growth is sustainable and I am thinking in particular about the climate agenda? And then finally, what is needed to ensure a strong, competitive and digital economy for Georgia? Last, but not least, we discussed the logistics agenda, making sure that when it comes to regional connectivity and integration, that Georgia can be a strong leader not only in the region, but globally as well, given its geopolitical placement in the region" noted Sebastian Molineus.
Press Service of the Government Administration
World Bank pledges EUR 85 mln to support job creation and pandemic-affected firms in Georgia
Micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises in Georgia impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic are to benefit from EUR 85 million in financing support, approved today by the World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors. The new Relief and Recovery for Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) project aims to help businesses and create jobs by expanding and strengthening programs that support MSMEs and by promoting the digitalization of Georgia’s economy.
“Through this latest support package, the World Bank will boost job creation and support firms that are the backbone of Georgia’s economy and key to a resilient recovery,” said Sebastian Molineus, World Bank Regional Director for the South Caucasus. “This includes helping firms gain easier access to finance and funding investments in financial infrastructure that will promote technology adoption and the use of digital financial services.”
The project will support at least 6,000 MSMEs across the country, increasing businesses’ chances of survival, preserving productive assets, and helping firms adjust to the new economic and public health challenges.
Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), on the other hand, will be eligible for support through co-financing of interest payments under EG’s Produce in Georgia program, which will reduce their borrowing costs and address immediate liquidity constraints. SMEs will also benefit from access to partial credit guarantees through financial institutions, which are designed to address high collateral requirements and heightened risk aversion of financial institutions.
“Development of small and medium enterprises is a priority for the Government of Georgia, as it is a precondition for private sector growth, the creation of new jobs and the strengthening of the entrepreneurial culture in the country,” said Natia Turnava, Minister of Economy and Sustainable Development of Georgia. “In this regard, the support of the World Bank and the allocation of EUR 85 million to help Georgia’s small and medium-sized enterprises in the post-pandemic period is invaluable.”
The project will also help strengthen the country’s financial infrastructure and increase the use of digital financial services. This includes support for upgrading the payment systems infrastructure by introducing a new instant payment system (IPS), the rollout of a digital know-your-customer (KYC) registry, and strengthening the secured transactions framework, aimed at broadening access to finance through increasing the use of movable collateral, such as vehicles, equipment, and intellectual property.
As a special consideration for the effects of the pandemic on firms, the project will also support the design and provision of technical assistance to firms to adjust to the new normal, via the adoption of relevant managerial, digital, and other COVID-proofing practices. The focus will be directed at the identification of key skills needed to facilitate digitalization and COVID-proofing in key economic sectors, with particular focus on the needs of female entrepreneurs, climate change, and the green economy.
This project is part of the World Bank’s broader support for the people of Georgia and is the third lending operation to the country directed at mitigating the social and economic impacts of the pandemic.
The Views of Georgians on Personal Finances, Family and Career in 2020
The joint survey of Noblet Media and Info Sapiens reveals the genuine attitude towards life goals and priorities of consumers in 6 countries: Georgia, Ukraine, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Moldova and Uzbekistan
Tbilisi, August, 2020 – Communications company Noblet Media CIS, Edelman affiliate, in partnership with Info Sapiens research agency, presented the survey on lifestyle and financial views of middle and upper-middle classin the countries where the companies operate. Noblet Media CIS, in cooperation with current Info Sapiens team, conducted such surveys in 2009-2013 and decided that it’s high time to update the data.
The beginning of 2020 obviously adjusted everyday lives all over the world, forced to slow down and become more flexible. Nevertheless, did it actually change the values, global goals and dreams of the consumers? Did they become more united or learn some responsibility? This survey conducted in April 2020reflects the portrait of the most active consumers, setting the tone for economic life in the six countries.
‘We have been providing communication services on these 6 markets for many years, tracking the impact of both global and local challenges on the consumers’ behavior, – Zhenya Pankratieva, CEO, Noblet Media CIS noted. – Certainly, the reality has significantly changed for last 5 years. In 2020, many factors, including the pandemic, put a question mark over all the communication means and channels. The outcomes of this survey help companies to better feel the moods of their consumers and to choose the right strategy for each market’.
The survey was divided into several blocks. Here are the key findings on the Georgian and other five markets:
- Personal goals and career opportunities. Much like the citizens of other five countries, Georgians most often are oriented on improving economic well-being (71%). More Georgian citizens think of achieving personal popularity and high status (34%) rather than certain changes in their community or society (13%). Compared to other countries, Georgians as well as Azerbaijani are more flexible: 6% and 10% appropriately are ready to change their area of activity for the next 10 years. 23% of Georgians would like to use this flexibility while working as a part of a global private company, 18% - in the non-governmental sector at the local level and only 13% would like to start their own business. Worth mentioning that percentage among Georgians, willing to work in public sector (15%), is the highest among all 6 countries. Key similarity with all the countries except Ukraine lies in enjoying free time: most Georgians tend to spend time with friends as much as possible while Ukrainians would prefer to start family and have children.
- Personal budget and expenses. Georgians tend to spend money almost equally on their appearance (including clothes, footwear and personal care) (32%) and meetings with friends and entertainment (31%). Georgia is one of the countries whose citizens prefer not to keep cash at home, but to invest money in starting or developing own business (37%) or in buying real estate (33%) and it obviously helps the country’s economy to thrive afterwards. Besides, Georgians prefer to open a bank deposit in dollars (24%) rather than GEL (5%).
- Coronavirus. All the citizens have recently faced the difficulties related to the pandemic. Businesses, governments and international organizations joined forces in order to take the immediate actions against the virus and provide the nations with truthful information. In Georgia, doctors from other countries (72%) and WHO (71%) are the primary sources of information about COVID-19. Answering which sources of information about COVID-19 do they trust mostly, Georgians almost equally indicated doctors from other countries (26%), acquaintances and colleagues (26%), healthcare authorities (25%) and family (25%) while WHO is a dominant trustful source of information (34%).
The hallmark of Georgians includes their team spirit: they have a desire to be associated with some groups or ideas, to share common views. Only 11% of Georgians can publish their opinion on the economic and social topic online freely, while half of citizens is disposed to the discussions of the future of the country with their family and friends privately. It’s fair to notice that despite the friends-oriented nature, the family is the one having the greatest impact on the opinion of 58% of the Georgian citizens. Georgians are ready to take a stand on subjects which are reflecting their own values, that’s why the companies have to consider Georgian employees as effective team players but also to provide them with the details of companies’ vision and mission in order to engage people in the corporate life as much as possible. Businesses need to take into account the friends-oriented approach of getting news for Georgians and therefore to use social media as a primary source of information.
Anna Shevchenko, Regional Director, Noblet Media CIS comments: ‘The study shows that vast majority of Georgians with middle or upper-middle income aim at improving their economic well-being during next 10 years, much like citizens of other 5 countries. At the same time, achieving high status in the society, feeling team spirit and spending time with friends shape the outstanding features of portrait of a Georgian consumer. That probably proves once again that current pandemic crisis couldn’t beat hundred years of traditions and values of the population’.
About methodology of the survey
The survey presents data on social, financial and economic views, behavior, lifestyle and media usage of middle and upper-middle class in 6 countries – Ukraine, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova, and Uzbekistan. 200 face-to-face interviews with urban citizens aged 18-45 were held in each country in April 2020. According to the survey, middle and upper-middle class representatives constitute between 50-60% among the urban citizens of the target age, being the group making the most important decisions about large purchases and investments. Full data from survey is available on the website.
About Noblet Media CIS
Noblet Media CIS is a Public Relations, Communications and Marketing Company founded in 2004. Today the company operates in eight countries – Ukraine, Georgia, Armenia, Moldova, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan – with headquarters in Kyiv and Tbilisi. Noblet Media is Edelman affiliate, the world’s biggest independent communications and marketing company. Noblet Media provides a full range of professional PR and marketing services using expertise from both within and outside the European Union’s Eastern Partnership countries. More information about the company and its services is available on the website or facebook page.
About Info Sapiens
Info Sapiens research agency specializes in public opinion surveys (social, political and marketing), behavioral measurements and in analyzing data from secondary sources. Info Sapiens was established in September 2018 due to the global closure of custom research business by GfK company. Almost all Info Sapiens employees are former GfK Ukraine employees. Within 2019-2020 Info Sapiens conducted more than 500 research projects for more than 200 clients. According to the Ukrainian Marketing Association as of 2019, we are the largest local research agency (following the 5 representatives of the international companies). Info Sapiens complies with all research standards of ICC/ESOMAR and is listed in ESOMAR Directory. More information about the company and its services is available on the website or facebook page.
EBRD to finance modern municipal infrastructure in Bakuriani, Georgia
The population of Bakuriani, a city in the Borjomi municipality of Georgia, will benefit from improved public transport and services thanks to a €5 million loan provided by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD).
The financing will help to acquire special vehicles for street cleaning, snow removal and waste collection, as well as to purchase multi-purpose trucks, and 10 modern buses for passenger transport.
The new low-floor buses will considerably reduce emissions in this popular mountain and ski resort and offer more comfortable journeys. The EBRD is also providing technical cooperation funding aimed at training and promoting women for bus-driver roles.
Bakuriani is a small town in the central part of the country. It is one of the most-visited mountain and ski resorts in Georgia and famous for its climate and natural environment.
The technical cooperation will make recommendations for safe, accessible and inclusive transport that integrates the needs of passengers into urban transport services. Additional technical assistance funded by the donors of the Early Transition Countries Fund (Canada, Finland, Germany, Ireland, Japan, South Korea, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taipei China and the United Kingdom) will help the company improve its corporate development.
“This project will help to improve the quality of municipal services and safety measures in an important resort town. Improving Georgia’s municipal infrastructure, especially in the regions, is of paramount importance for the EBRD. The project will also help promote gender equality across the workforce,” said Catarina Bjorlin Hansen, EBRD Regional Director for the Caucasus.
The EBRD is a leading institutional investor in Georgia. Since the start of its operations in the country, the Bank has invested over €3.8 billion in 252 projects there, in the financial, corporate, infrastructure and energy sectors, with 89 per cent of these investments in the private sector.
The second round meetings of the State Constitutional CommissionThe SCC Working Group on Fundamental Human Rights and Freedoms, Judicial Authority, Preamble and the General and Transitional Provisions of the Constitution held the second round meeting. The SCC Chair, Irakli Kobakhidze introduced the brief summary of the previous meetings and the regulation of the agenda. “The First Working Group of the State Constitutional Commission started the second round meetings two weeks ago. The group considered the Chapter I of the Constitution and the Chapter II on Human Rights up to the Article 20 inclusive. Today, we resume consideration with the Article 21 on property rights”. The group started consideration of the alternative drafts and the Article 21. The Commission members will in details consider the Chapter II Articles on fundamental human rights, property rights, labor rights, rights on education, freedom of expression and equality issues.