Giorgi Kvirikashvili to Participate in World Economic Forum in Davos
Georgian Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili will participate in the World Economic Forum in Davos. The Head of Government will visit the Swiss Confederation on January 22-24.
During the World Economic Forum, the Prime Minister of Georgia will deliver a speech at the Strategic Outlook—Eurasia discussion. Giorgi Kvirikashvili is scheduled to hold bilateral meetings with political leaders from different countries, European Commission leadership, and founders of large international companies.
The Georgian delegation under the leadership of the Prime Minister includes Vice Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Mikheil Janelidze, Finance Minister Mamuka Bakhtadze, and Co-Investment Fund CEO Giorgi Bachiashvili.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs of Turkmenistan gave a speech at the 13th Central Asia-Korea Cooperation Forum
On November 25, 2020, the 13th Central Asia-Korea Cooperation Forum was held, during which the video statement of the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Turkmenistan R.Meredov was heard.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Kazakhstan M. Tleuberdi, the First Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Kyrgyz Republic N.Niyazaliev, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Tajikistan S. Mukhriddin, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Uzbekistan A. Kamilov and Minister of Foreign Affairs Republic of Korea Kang Kyung-wha also gave speeches in the framework of the Forum.
During the Forum, a wide range of issues of cooperation between the countries of Central Asia and the Republic of Korea in the political-diplomatic line, as well as in the trade-economic and humanitarian fields were discussed.
The parties noted the similarity of their positions on promoting international mechanisms aimed at maintaining peace, security and sustainable economic growth at the regional and global levels.
Turkmenistan stands for the development of the investment climate in the region, welcomes the "New Northern Economic Policy", as announced by the President of Turkmenistan at the International Forum on Northern Economic Cooperation in October this year. “This important initiative of the Republic of Korea is in many respects consonant with the concept of the “Revival of the Great Silk Road”, stressed Minister R. Meredov.
The agenda focused on public health, education, standardization and the environment. The parties exchanged views and proposals regarding the development of cooperation in each direction.
In his speech, the head of the Foreign Ministry of Turkmenistan reflected the activities of Turkmenistan in the health sector, including its contribution to the overall fight against the spread of the coronavirus. It was noted that under the leadership of the President of Turkmenistan, active cooperation with the World Health Organization continues.
R. Meredov drew attention to the need to ensure universal and equal access to vaccines, and suggested continuing scientific and research contacts.
Interaction in the field of education, including scientific exchanges and programs to improve the qualifications of specialists on a mutual basis, was considered.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs of Turkmenistan spoke about the concrete results of the partnership, including the opening in Ashgabat of the Educational Center for the Study of the Korean Language and Culture of the King Sejong Institute Foundation and others.
The parties agreed to continue cooperation in education, in particular distance education, using modern information and communication technologies. Interaction between the specialized structures of the CA countries and the Republic of Korea continues.
The Forum discussed issues of standardization, in particular from the point of view of the development of regional and international economic ties. It was stated that interaction in this area is important for the development of trade and economic relations between the countries of this format.
During the meeting, issues of environmental safety were also considered. The parties discussed the possibilities of expanding cooperation in combating climate change, maintaining a green economy, and careful use of natural resources.
Following the meeting, the participants adopted the Joint Statement of the 13th Central Asia-Korea Cooperation Forum and the Action Plan of the Forum Secretariat for 2021.
President of Turkmenistan addresses participants of the Exhibition of Economic Achievements and Conference on Digital Economy
“I congratulate you opening of the Exhibition of Economic Achievements of Turkmenistan and the scientific-practical conference “Digital Economy - the Most Important Factor of Economic Development”! I sincerely wish great success to the forum dedicated to the 29th anniversary of independence of Turkmenistan!”- says President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov, addressing the participants of the exhibition and conference.
According to the President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov, today neutral Turkmenistan occupies a leading position among the dynamically developing countries of the world, is known as the state that relies on high technologies, successfully implementing large-scale programmes. Initiatives aimed at ensuring well-being of the peoples in the region and the planet are widely supported by the international community that also contributes to the steady growth of the international authority of the country.
“In a short historical period, Turkmenistan has carried out fundamental reforms and has achieved high results in all areas of the state's life.
“We will continue implementing economic reforms, ensuring dynamic development of the country. We will strive for the main goal – to bring Turkmenistan up to the level of a number of highly developed states of the world.
“Based on the principles of peacefulness and progressive development, the domestic and foreign policy of the country, large-scale activities in the interests of the state and society, as well as the peoples of other countries, the fundamental transformations carried out in the country serve a great goal - to ensure the comprehensive harmonious development of the independent state, to improve the living standards of the Turkmen people”, says the President of Turkmenistan in his address.
In conclusion, President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov expressed confidence that the exhibition and conference would provide a platform for presenting Turkmenistan’s achievements in the economic and social sphere and wished their participants good health and great success in work.
DETAILS RELEASED OF GEORGIAN GOVERNMENT’S CAMPAIGN TO STRANGLE ANAKLIA PORT PROJECT
Ruling Georgian Dream Party Reversed its Support for Vital Project,
Wiping Out Economic Benefits for Georgia
TBILISI, GEORGIA, 9 September, 2020 – The Anaklia Development Consortium (ADC), the company originally selected by the Government of Georgia to develop the strategic Anaklia Port Project, today shared additional details of the Government’s campaign, directed by the ruling Georgian Dream party, to undermine the project by dissuading potential project investors, lenders, contractors and suppliers from joining the project in order to kill it.
The following statement is issued on behalf of the ADC Supervisory Board:
“All infrastructure projects of such scale require government support; namely the encouragement of lenders and investors, the assistance in permitting, regulatory approvals and a favorable tax regime, and providing any ancillary support; in this instance, the provision of land and the construction of road and rail infrastructure. For a government to actually oppose an infrastructure project that it had itself approved is highly unusual in the global economy.
“The Georgian Government’s campaign to strangle ADC’s ability to develop the Anaklia Port Project represents a self-inflicted wound for itself and considerable injury to Georgia’s economy and its role in the region.
“Taken together, the Georgian Government's specific actions are part of a deliberate and well-orchestrated campaign to destroy a project which the Government itself originally sponsored and endorsed, but subsequently chose to destroy as a result of what appear to be the political and economic self-interests of the Georgian Dream Party and its principals.
“The Government manufactured all sorts of excuses for not wanting to see various investors, lenders and partners involved in the project, but the Government really only had one purpose: to choke the project to death by scaring away everybody who might have an interest in supporting it.
“Also, is it beyond coincidence that government ministers – including two Prime Ministers -- who voiced support for the project or otherwise expressed concern about the growing controversy with the project were tendering their resignations shortly after such comments were made?
“The damage to Georgia caused by the Government goes well beyond the potential loss of the Anaklia Port and the associated Special Economic Zone. The conduct of the Government is scaring away investors at a time when Georgia cannot afford to lose any more foreign investment. According to the National Statistics Office of Georgia, the amount of foreign direct investment in Georgia has fallen from nearly US$ 2 billion in 2017 to just over US$ 1.3 billion in 2019, and in the first quarter of 2020, stood at only US$ 171.8 million - a catastrophic decrease even before the Covid crisis began to take effect. As Retired U.S. Lt. Gen. Ben Hodges of the Center for European Policy Analysis said, ‘the government only has itself to blame.’”
Some examples of the Government’s efforts to strangle ADC and the Anaklia Port Project include:
- Georgian Dream party leader Bidzina Ivanishvili requested to meet with ADC to discuss the Anaklia Port Project and asserted that the expansion of Poti Port could achieve the same objectives of the Anaklia Port at a far lower cost.
- During a June 12 meeting of the Georgian Dream party, attended by more than 100 party officials, Party Leader Bidzina Ivanishvili personally blamed Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili for his actions in support of the Anaklia project and for having close ties to ADC investor Mamuka Khazaradze. Mr. Kvirikashvili resigned the day after that meeting.
- In February 2019 ADC learned that during an October 2018 meeting with senior U.S. State Department officials in Tbilisi, Mr. Giorgi Gakharia (then Minister of Interior) advised the U.S. officials that the Anaklia Port project was not in Georgia’s interests.
- SSA Marine, which was selected as the Anaklia Port operator and was a potential investor, alerted ADC of its concerns about what seemed to be the Government’s support of an expansion of the Poti Port. (Following detailed studies sponsored by the Government back in 2013-14, it had been determined that Poti Port could never meet Georgia’s needs for a Deepwater Port, which is why the government itself selected Anaklia for development at that time. The Government’s subsequent expressions of support for expansion at Poti was a clear signal to the lending and investment community that the Government was no longer supportive of Anaklia.)
- A sovereign European development bank advised ADC that it had decided against supporting the project because of the negative actions of the Georgian Government, and the possible shift of support to the Poti Port.
- Another sovereign European development bank advised ADC that it was withdrawing its support because one of its counterparts had just done so (above) due to the state’s apparent shift of support from Anaklia to Poti.
- It has been reported that Infrastructure Minister Maya Tskitishvili, in ministerial hearings before Parliament, undermined SSA Marine as a potential investor and as the port operator, claiming the company lacked experience and financial capacity. These assertions were not true. In the process of her speech, the minister also breached legal obligations of confidentiality that were associated with the investment agreement.
- SSA Marine advised ADC that it was suspending its activities related to the Anaklia Port project.
- Mr. Giorgi Kobulia, Minister of Economy and Sustainable Development, told “Forbes Week” that the negative public discussions and media reports of the Anaklia project were having a negative impact on the business climate within Georgia. He subsequently resigned within days of the interview.
- A major U.S. private equity firm which was in advanced negotiations with ADC to join the project revealed to ADC that Government officials warned the firm to stay away from the project.
- Prime Minister Mamuka Bakhtadze, in a trade visit to the U.S., met separately with SSA Marine, the leadership of the U.S. private equity firm that were interested in investing in the project, and with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in Washington, D.C. Secretary Pompeo expressed support for the Anaklia project with the prime minister standing next to him, saying it would “strengthen Georgia’s ties with free economies and not allow Georgia to be under the economic influence of Russia or China.” Upon his return to Georgia, Mr. Bakhtadze resigned, and this again put the project in unchartered waters.
- At a meeting in Tbilisi, a large Hong Kong-based private equity group with significant Central Asian transportation synergies that was considering joining the project was told bluntly by Infrastructure Minister Tskitishvili that the Government did not desire their participation in the project. At this same meeting Ms. Tskitishvili reaffirmed the Government’s seeming opposition to SSA Marine’s involvement in the project.
- Giorgi Volski, Vice Speaker of Parliament, falsely claimed that the Hong Kong private equity group mentioned above is a “Russian” company, with the intention either of disparaging it or sowing further confusion about the government's position in respect of the project.
- In a meeting between Prime Minister Gakharia and an Anaklia Supervisory Board member, Mr. Gakharia stated that “things had to get quiet” before he could reassure the major potential U.S. investor of the state’s support for the Anaklia Project, which the board member understood to be a condition that ADC and Mr. Khazaradze stop criticizing the government publicly on its opposition to the Anaklia Project, and the government would stop criticizing ADC.
- Also, the Supervisory Board was promised a letter of support to a U.S. investor from the highest levels of the Government, but this never materialized, even though ADC did comply with the Government’s request.
- A delegation from the U.S. (in Tbilisi to participate in the 5th annual Tbilisi International Conference sponsored by the McCain Institute) met with new Prime Minister Giorgi Gakharia, and subsequently with Mamuka Khazaradze. Representatives of the delegation told Mr. Khazaradze that Prime Minister Gakharia told them the Anaklia project was not commercially viable when this was patently not the case.
- Fadi Asly, chairman of the International Chamber of Commerce in Georgia, is quoted in the media saying, “No one will invest in Anaklia project as long as Bidzina Ivanishvili wants to destroy it.”
Taken together, these are only a selection of the instances where the Government of Georgia actively undermined the project in an effort to prevent ADC from developing the project. ADC intends to present evidence during the upcoming arbitration proceedings to demonstrate the degree to which the Government took such steps.
Further details of the Anaklia Port project and ADC can be found at http://anakliadevelopment.com
Turkmenistan’s Foreign Minister holds meeting with experts of the World Health Organization mission
The Foreign Ministry of Turkmenistan hosted the meeting of Head of the Ministry Rashid Meredov with experts of consultative and technical mission of European Bureau of the World Health Organization, which is on working visit to our country.
As is known, delegation of European Bureau of the World Health Organization has come to Turkmenistan to inspect the measures and procedures taken by the country for provision of readiness and response to COVID-19.
During the conversation, Foreign Minister R. Meredov has noted constructive character of cooperation between our country and the World Health Organization and highlighted that Turkmen side strictly adheres to the WHO recommendations. At the same time, willingness to continue multilateral cooperation in combating pandemic on international and regional levels has been confirmed.
On behalf of the management of the World Health Organization, Head of the WHO country office Paulina Karwowska expressed gratitude to the Government of Turkmenistan for organization of the visit of the mission of the WHO ERB and comprehensive support. It was noted that efforts of Turkmenistan aimed at combating COVID-19, including proposal on establishment of International Council of medical scientists and joining of the country to COVID-19 Technology Access Pool (C-TAP), are very significant. Head of the mission, Emergency Response Specialists of the WHO ERB Katrine Smallwood has told about particulars of the Pool.
The Head of the Foreign Ministry has noted that active implementation of National Infectious Disease Readiness, Protection and Response Plan of the country is carried out at present. The Plan of social and economic measures of Turkmenistan against coronavirus pandemic, which provides readiness of all structures to stop entry of COVID-19 to the country, has also been approved.
Vice-premier R. Meredov highlighted that Turkmenistan together with the UN agencies starts to developed the third national plan, which covers humanitarian component of measures against COVID-19.
During the meeting, special focus was made that Turkmenistan has sufficient potential and resources for operational analysis of all cases including notifications about such cases for steadfast and timely measures.
In this contest, it was highlighted that taking into account scientific studies confirming possibility of spread of new type of coronavirus by smallest aerosol drops, which stay for a long time in air, active informational campaign is carried out now for awareness of the population about the risks and methods of health protection.
On the same day, delegation of the WHO European Regional Bureau had a meeting with the officials of the Ministry of Health Protection and Medical Industry of Turkmenistan, during which measures taken on national level for response to acute infectious diseases have been discussed.
The state news agency of Turkmenistan
You can too! How the EU supports women entrepreneurs in Georgia
You can too! How the EU supports women entrepreneurs in Georgia?
- 1. I want to start my own business, but I’m not sure my idea would work. Who can advise me?
The European Union is very active in supporting the development of new businesses, particularly among women and particularly in the regions of Georgia, often with a focus on rural and disadvantaged areas. So don’t think that you need to be in Tbilisi, to have a higher education or an established business in order to access EU support – on the contrary!
The EU supports a number of programmes and business support facilities that provide know how, practical help, and even funding to help you start your business.
Here are some examples:
If you are looking for support in agriculture, the ENPARD programme provides information, training, advice and financial support all over Georgia, with hundreds of thousands of farmers benefitting since 2013. Visit the programme’s interactive map to find regional initiatives, contacts, information centres and cooperatives near you.
The Mayors for Economic Growth programme supports local authorities in developing economic growth and job creation. Among the dozens of local authorities that have signed up in Georgia, three – Bolnisi, Gori and Tbilisi – are running pioneer projects including support for new entrepreneurs with training and business development facilities, ensuring the equal access of women to development opportunities.
- 2. Business advice is all very well, but you need money to develop your business. How can I get funding when I have no money of my own and no business experience?
A number of grants for agricultural projects are available under the ENPARD programme. Follow the calls section on their website to see the list of grant competitions that are available.
While the local development projects funded under the Mayors for Economic Growth initiative do not provide grants, they will help you to access finance. For example, the SPARK business accelerator set up under the project in Tbilisi offers new businesses assistance in preparing a business plan, and puts you in contact with potential investors and sources of finance.
One EU-funded programme offers loans that are specifically tailored to women: Women in Business can provide finance both to start and develop a business. The programme works with local partners Bank of Georgia and TBC Bank and offers preferential terms for women entrepreneurs to finance new business ideas or expand an existing business. Several other projects under the EU4Business initiative also work with local banks to provide loans for SMEs – from micro-finance to major investment loans.
- 3. I already have a business, but I need help to take it to the next step: is there any EU support available for me?
If you already have a business and you are looking to develop, funding (and training) is available through a number of programmes under the EU4Business initiative, which supports private sector development across Georgia.
Apart from providing loans, Women in Business offers training and subsidised advisory services that are specifically tailored to women-led businesses. The programme also offers a personalised online tool – the Business Lens – to assess your business and see what kind of support you can access.
Some EU4Business programmes also offer finance for much larger businesses, but others such as the DCTA Initiative East offer microfinance loans up to €25,000. The European Fund for South East Europe (EFSE) also provides small loans (average loan size €14,300) to the smallest businesses (less than 10 employees) in sectors such as agriculture, industry, trade and services. Click here for the full list of finance programmes under EU4Business, here for projects offering training and business advice, and here for projects supporting access to markets.
Georgian entrepreneurs also have access to the Enterprise Europe Network, which helps Georgian SMEs find business and technology partners across Europe and beyond.
- 4. I’m not sure I want to start a business, but I want to learn new skills: is there something for me from the EU?
Training and skills are a key priority of EU support in Georgia, and the EU provides considerable funding for Vocational Education and Training (VET). The EU recently launched a 150 million GEL programme supporting vocational education and labour market development. The 5-year programme will help 105,000 Georgians find jobs by expanding high quality vocation education, improving labour policies, and supporting entrepreneurship training.
In terms of direct support, the individual EU4Youth programmes – Say YES: Skills for Jobs, Enhancing Youth Education, Employment and Participation in Conflict-affected Areas in Georgia and Ukraine, Fostering Potential for Greater Employability, and Better Skills for Better Future – have a strong focus on skills for under-35s, especially in less advantaged regions of Georgia, providing training, mentoring and internships to help young people find jobs.
For young women under the age of 30, the EU offers exciting opportunities under its Erasmus + youth programmes. You can join the almost 10,000 young Georgians who have already learned new skills and developed valuable experience by participating in youth projects or volunteering for work abroad under the European Solidarity Corps.
- 5. Are there women like me, who started their own business with EU help?
There are lots!
Nata, Manana, Irina and Dali all received grants under the ENPARD programme. Natalia and Irina come from Tbilisi, Manana from Tsalka, and Dali from Upper Alvani. Natalia grows cucumbers, Irina tomatos, Manana runs a tea processing enterprise, and Dali combines honey production with educational courses. They have all developed their business with the help of EU training and grants.
Irina Gloveliand Tekla Mamageishvili both received advisory support as part of the Women in Business programme. For Tekla, the project helped to plan the activities of her eye clinic more strategically and attract financial resources, while Irina received help to put her engineering company’s financial reporting in order, leading to a 7.5% rise in profits.
Manana Chqareuliworked from home as a seamstress. With the help of loans under the EFSE programme, she was able to upgrade her equipment, lease a proper workspace and hire staff to develop her business. Now her company is on its way to becoming a brand in its own right.
Diana Bakradze and Anna Varamashvili benefitted from skills training and internships under a project for ‘Support of vulnerable youth to become productive citizens through learning, training and employment’, an important step to an independent professional life.
Click here for more success stories from ENPARD, here to find out what the city of Bolnisi is doing under the Mayors for Economic Growth project, and here to learn about five Georgian women who have benefited from EU support across a range of areas.
- 6. Whom can I ask for help?
Visit the ENPARD website to find contact information in all the different regions of Georgia, and check the programme’s interactive map to find regional initiatives, contacts, information centres and cooperatives near you.
If you already have a business and are looking to develop it, check out the training and funding opportunities available under EU4Business in Georgia.
For education and youth opportunities, contact the national Erasmus + office in Georgia.
And don’t forget to follow the EU Delegation to Georgia on Facebook for updates and new opportunities.