Presidents of EBRD and ADB Confirm Readiness To Help Georgia Return to High Rate of Economic Development in Video Conference With Giorgi Gakharia

Published in Politics
Thursday, 09 April 2020 12:03

Prime Minister of Georgia Giorgi Gakharia held a video conference with the presidents of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) regarding the possible assistance and financial resources to be allocated to Georgia due to the challenges associated with the global pandemic.

Economic problems caused by the global spread of COVID-19 were emphasized during the video conference. Funding allocated by EBRD and ADB to the Georgian private sector, Georgian banks, and other business entities was noted in particular.

The sides also discussed post-crisis measures and the assistance that Georgia might receive from the financial institutions, which would enable the government to continue the state funding programs that are being implemented today to support citizens and private businesses.

It was noted that the government team is actively working with the local representatives, as well as the head offices of both EBRD and ADB to jointly develop a package of measures that will focus on overcoming the ongoing challenges.

According to the assessment of the presidents of the financial institutions, the fact that Georgia is successfully coping with the crisis constitutes sufficient grounds to say that the country will very quickly regain the rate and positions of economic development that it possessed at the beginning of 2020. Suma Chakrabarti and Masatsugu Asakawa confirmed their readiness to actively support Georgia in this area.

The Georgian side stressed that EBRD and ADB are very strong and serious partners for Georgia. It was noted that the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development and the Asian Development Bank have financed extremely important projects worth hundreds of millions of dollars in Georgia, including in the area of infrastructure. It was noted that all major systemic infrastructural projects funded by them are still in the active phase of implementation today, despite the ongoing crisis.

The head of government thanked EBRD and ADB for their active cooperation and their support of Georgia.
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Regional Development and Infrastructure Maia Tskitishvili and Minister of Finance Ivane Machavariani participated in the video conference.

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  • How to help your business recover after COVID
    1. 1.       COVID hit my business badly. Where can I get some financing to recover?

    The EU offers financing and guarantees to local financial institutions to unlock lending. This makes it possible for the local lender to provide more affordable financing to SMEs. For instance, you could benefit from lower-interest loans, longer repayment terms, lower collateral requirements, including some loans based in lari instead of foreign currencies. Check what these banks in Georgia have to offer under the EU4Business Initiative:Microfinance Organisation Crystal, Basisbank, Bank of Georgia, TBC Bank, TBC Leasing.

    Here are some examples of SME owners who benefited:

    Natia Khelaia, CFO at Food Alliance, a company offering high-quality frozen pastry, received a loan of through the EU4Business-EBRD Credit Line, which includes a 15% cash-back incentives funded under the EU4Business initiative. This enabled the company to add necessary inventory and equipment to its factory, expanding production while increasing efficiency by 50%. 

    Mikheil Melua expanded production capacity of his bay leaf production company Black Sea Laurus, acquired modern equipment, and established food safety standards in line with EU practice with support from the EU4Business-EBRD Credit Line. As a result, Black Sea Laurus generated 8 new permanent and some 100 seasonal local jobs, and launched exports to European markets, doubling production and income both.

    1. 2.       How do I apply for a bank loan? What are the requirements?

    The EU offers a wide range of options for different types of SMEs. For instance, the EU provides concessionary loans to underserved micro-enterprises and low-income households as well as SMEs in the agri-food sector, manufacturing, services, real estate. There are also attractive opportunities for the businesses seeking to boost trade with the EU and upgrade their businesses to the EU standards as well as for the women-led SMEs.

    You can check the conditions for the EU partner banks on the EU4Business website and just call the bank directly. Remember to mention the programme. Very simple!

    1. 3.       I’ve heard about loans, but are grants also available to small companies?

    Yes, there are!

    For instance, the most efficient and sustainable local solutions to improve food production and reduce rural poverty may get grants under the ENPARD III programme implemented by the UNDP.

    1. 4.       The pandemic showed that there is sustainable demand for my business. How can I get knowledge, advice and skills needed to scale up my business?  

    To support SMEs like yours, the EU assists local business associations and agencies, leading to SME growth. Just check all available business development opportunities, pick the one that suits your needs, and get in touch directly with the organisation!

    Under the project “EU Innovative Action for Private Sector Competitiveness in Georgia”, nursery owners can attend a series of trainings and workshops to receive practical knowledge on how to align the Georgian production of seedlings with the international standards and best practices of European countries.

    The EU project “Green Economy: Sustainable Mountain Tourism and Organic Agriculture” (GRETA), offers support to local initiatives in sustainable gastronomic tourism and organic agriculture. Local businesses can get the relevant knowledge, find out about opportunities of cooperation and earning income, and make new contacts.

    Under the ENPARD III project, farmers, rural households, cooperatives and other small and medium enterprises in rural areas can apply for access to better services and inputs. They can benefit from pilot activities for farmers including various types of demonstration, information dissemination, and training.

    If you own a business in the construction, tourism or apparel sectors, the Clusters 4 Development – Better Business Sophistication in Georgia project implemented by the GIZ might be of interest to you. It helps increase SME competitiveness through the development of clusters.

    If you want to improve your coding and tech entrepreneurship skills, the Development of youth coding and tech entrepreneurial club networks programme may be for you – during the next 3 years, tech clubs will appear in 100 locations across 8 regions of Georgia.

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    You can even make sure your voice is heard in the national reform process and help your government to better understand issues affecting SMEs like yours! Just check the business enabling environment activities in Georgia supported by the EU.

    1. 5.       I think exporting to the EU could help my business recover. Where do I start?

    Indeed, that’s a great way to scale up your business! And we have something interesting to offer.

    The EU4Business: Connecting Companies project supports SMEs with exports going to EU countries. You can apply for training, coaching and even matchmaking with businesses in the EU.

    The EU4Business Eastern Partnership Trade Helpdesk will facilitate you in identifying trade obstacles and better understanding regulatory and procedural issues in trading goods and services. Soon, this one-stop-shop online platform will be available that will offer access to trade information (tariffs, non-tariff measures, taxes, trade statistics and procedures).

    Alongside financial support, the following programmes provide consultancy and business development opportunities for SMEs to better utilise the free trade opportunities: the DCFTA Initiative East by EIB supports SMEs in agri-food sector, and the DCFTA Programme by EBRD may help you to resolve the challenges utilising the opportunities offered by the DCFTA. The DCFTA SME Direct Finance Facility helps SMEs identify quality capital investment projects.

     1.6.       Are there SMEs like me that got help?

    There are more than you can imagine!

    Between 2019-2020, 55,181 SMEs in Georgia received support through the EU4Business Initiative. Among those, a total of 5,621 entrepreneurs received loans for a total value of €307.25 million under EU programmes that support SMEs. Over 48,642 consultancy services were delivered to SMEs. The income of these supported SMEs rose by 9.4% in 2020 amounting to almost €69.86 million, and 10,055 new jobs were generated as a result of this support in 2020 alone.

    Here are some success stories from SMEs like yours:

    Gano Melitaurireceived EU4Business support to procure new sewing equipment in the middle of the pandemicso that her company Kombinezona did not have to halt production. Instead, they shifted their focus to making antibacterial face masks and protective gear, were able to employ more people, and distributed a good number of free masks.

    Baia Saluqvadze and Levan Bolqvadze, co-founders of Agritrade,purchased a new calibration line, a vertical elevator, and conveyor with the support from the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) and the EU as part of its ENPARD and EU4Business Initiative. Agritrade’s Kakheti hazelnuts can now be directly exported to China, generating more export opportunities.

    Click here for more success stories to learn about Georgian SMEs that are doing business in many different areas and have benefitted from EU support.

     The material is prepared within the project "EU NEIGHBOURS east"

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    Read the Judges’ reviews of the three shortlisted titles

    The independent panel of judges for this year’s Prize chose the three finalists from 10 longlisted titles, announced on 11 March. The longlisted titles, in alphabetical order by author, were:

    Love in the Days of Rebellion by Ahmet Altan, translated by Brendan Freely and Yelda Türedi (Europa Editions). Language: Turkish. Country: Turkey.

    The Pear Field by Nana Ekvtimishvili, translated by Elizabeth Heighway (Peirene Press. Language: Georgian. Country: Georgia.

    Grey Bees by Andrey Kurkov, translated by Boris Dralyuk (MacLehose Press, an imprint of Quercus). Language: Russian. Country: Ukraine

    Carbide by Andriy Lyubka, translated by Reilly Costigan-Humes and Isaac Stockhouse Wheeler (Jantar Publishing Ltd). Language: Ukrainian. Country: Ukraine

    Hana by Alena Mornštajnová, translated by Julia and Peter Sherwood (Parthian Books). Language: Czech. Country: Czech Republic.

    No-Signal Area by Robert Perišić, translated by Ellen Elias-Bursac (Seven Stories Press). Language: Croatian. Country: Croatia.

    The Highly Unreliable Account of the History of a Madhouse by Ayfer Tunç translated by Feyza Howell (Istros Books). Language: Turkish. Country: Turkey.

    The King of Warsaw by Szczepan Twardoch, translated by Sean Gasper Bye (Amazon Crossing). Language: Polish. Country: Poland.

    Mr K Released by Matei Vişniec, translated by Jozefina Komporaly (Seagull Books). Language: Romanian. Country: Romania.

    Your Ad Could Go Here by Oksana Zabuzhko, translated by Nina Murray, Marta Horban, Marco Carynnyk, Halyna Hryn, and Askold Melnyczuk

    (Amazon Crossing). Language: Ukrainian. Country: Ukraine.

    The EBRD Literature Prize is a project of the Bank’s Community Initiative, a programme which provides a framework for the engagement of staff and the institution in philanthropic, social and cultural activities in the regions where the Bank works.

    By This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

    Source: https://www.ebrd.com/news/2021/-ebrd-literature-prize-2021-finalists-announced.html

    The news prepared in the framework of the EU project "EU NEIGHBOURS east"

  • Georgia: Leading MEPs react to the refusal of the political parties to reach an agreement

    In a joint statement, MEPs deplore that Georgia’s political leaders did not agree to EU mediator Christian Danielsson’s proposal and announce consequences in terms of EU-Georgia relations.

    Following a meeting on 1 April with Christian Danielsson, personal envoy of European Council President Charles Michel for the EU-mediated political dialogue in Georgia, leading MEPs issued the following joint statement:

    “We are deeply disappointed with the political leaders in Georgia for their inability to reach an agreement last Tuesday despite the best efforts deployed by the European Union to help put an end to the current political crisis. Both the ruling and the main opposition parties taking part in the discussions are to be blamed for this outcome and a special responsibility lies with the party in government.

    We reiterate our strong support to Christian Danielsson’s tireless work and welcome the publication of the proposal he made to the political parties, which further increased the transparency of the mediation process. It is essential to rebuild confidence between political party actors. The content of this proposal is indeed the right way ahead for Georgia: ambitious electoral and judicial reforms, meaningful sharing of responsibilities in the Georgian Parliament and, most importantly, a solution on future elections and on two cases of politicised justice. This solution is politically balanced and respects both the rule of law and the international assessment of the 2020 elections. We also welcome the idea of a Jean-Monnet Dialogue process supported by the European Parliament, when the political situation allows.

    Following the refusal from the political parties to compromise, Georgia’s leaders should not expect a return to business as usual from the European Union. The European Parliament in particular will call for consequences in terms of EU financial assistance, including both a suspension of further disbursements of and an increase in conditionality linked to EU Macro Financial Assistance and budget support programmes.

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    We call on Georgia’s leaders to take action immediately. The future of EU-Georgia relations is at stake.”

    Background
    The increasing frictions between political parties in Georgia following the November 2020 parliamentary elections and the arrest of the opposition leader in mid-February have sparked a major political crisis in Georgia. The EU is actively engaged to help overcome the tensions among Georgia's political parties. Christian Danielsson, European Council President Charles Michel's personal envoy, conducted in Tbilisi two rounds of mediation among the parties and presented a proposal for a way ahead for Georgia. The European Parliament strongly supports his efforts.

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    David McAllister (EPP, Germany), Chair of the Committee on Foreign Affairs and the Co-Chair of the Democracy Support and Election Coordination Group;

    Marina Kaljurand (S&D, Estonia), Chair of the Delegation for Relations with the South Caucasus;

    Andrius Kubilius (EPP, Lithuania), Chair of the Delegation to the Euronest Parliamentary Assembly;

    Viola von Cramon-Taubadel (The Greens/EFA, Germany), lead member of the Democracy Support and Election Coordination Group for Georgia;

    Sven Mikser (S&D, Estonia), European Parliament’s Standing Rapporteur on Georgia;

    Michael Gahler (EPP, Germany), European Parliament’s Standing Rapporteur on Ukraine;

    Petras Auštrevičius (Renew Europe, Lithuania), European Parliament’s Standing Rapporteur on Belarus.

     

    Source: https://www.europarl.europa.eu/news/en/press-room/20210401IPR01301/georgia-leading-meps-react-to-the-refusal-of-the-parties-to-reach-an-agreement?xtor=AD-78-[Social_share_buttons]-[facebook]-[en]-[news]-[pressroom]-[statement-georgia]-

  • EBRD Literature Prize 2021: selected longlist announced
    • The Prize recognises the best works of literary fiction from the EBRD’s regions translated into English
    • Longlist features work translated from eight languages
    • Winner of €20,000 prize to be announced in May

    The EBRD Literature Prize 2021, launched by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development to promote translated literary fiction from its regions of operations, announces its selected longlist today. 

    This is now the fourth year of the EBRD Literature Prize which celebrates the very best in translated literature from the nearly 40 countries where the Bank invests: from central and eastern Europe to Central Asia, the Western Balkans and the southern and eastern Mediterranean.

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    The international prize was created in 2017 by the EBRD with funding provided by the members of the EBRD, in cooperation with the British Council. It is one of the few international literature prizes which recognises both author and translator in equal measure.

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    Toby Lichtig, Chair of the Judges, said: “Given the diversity of territories covered by the EBRD, it is perhaps unsurprising how varied and culturally rich this longlist is, both thematically and stylistically. The ten books move us from 1930s Warsaw to 1950s Czechoslovakia to contemporary Ukrainian no man’s land; from a Kafakaesque tale of judicial injustice to an absurdist tragicomedy of human smuggling; from the dying days of the Ottoman Empire to an alternative Balkans hauling itself into the present day. Taken together, they give a picture of an Eurasian region riven with the scars of war and displacement, cruelty and carelessness, and teeming with human resilience and ingenuity. And love. Each book is unique, each translation brilliantly realised.”

    The longlist titles, in alphabetical order by author, are:

    Love in the Days of Rebellion by Ahmet Altan, translated by Brendan Freely and Yelda Türedi (Europa Editions). Language: Turkish. Country: Turkey.

    The Pear Field by Nana Ekvtimishvili, translated by Elizabeth Heighway (Peirene Press. Language: Georgian. Country: Georgia.

    Grey Bees by Andrey Kurkov, translated by Boris Dralyuk (MacLehose Press, an imprint of Quercus). Language: Russian. Country: Ukraine

    Carbide by Andriy Lyubka, translated by Reilly Costigan-Humes and Isaac Stockhouse Wheeler (Jantar Publishing Ltd). Language: Ukrainian. Country: Ukraine

    Hana by Alena Mornstajnova, translated by Julia and Peter Sherwood (Parthian Books). Language: Czech. Country: Czech Republic.

    No-Signal Area by Robert Perisic, translated by Ellen Elias-Bursac (Seven Stories Press). Language: Croatian. Country: Croatia.

    The Highly Unreliable Account of the History of a Madhouse by Ayfer Tunc, translated by Feyza Howell (Istros Books). Language: Turkish. Country: Turkey.

    The King of Warsaw by Szczepan Twardoch, translated by Sean Gasper Bye (Amazon Crossing). Language: Polish. Country: Poland.

    Mr K Released by Matei Visniec, translated by Jozefina Komporaly (Seagull Books). Language: Romanian. Country: Romania.

    Your Ad Could Go Here by Oksana Zabuzhko, translated by Nina Murray, Marta Horban, Marco Carynnyk, Halyna Hryn, and Askold Melnyczuk

    (Amazon Crossing). Language: Ukrainian. Country: Ukraine.

    The EBRD Literature Prize is a project of the Bank’s Community Initiative, a programme which provides a framework for the engagement of staff and the institution in philanthropic, social and cultural activities in the regions where the Bank works.

    The Chair of the Community Initiative, Kazuhiko Koguchi, said today: The Literature Prize reminds us of the wealth of creativity and cultures across our regions of operations, and highlights the role of storytelling in connecting us all and building bridges across borders.

    The finalists (three authors and their translators) of the EBRD Literature Prize 2021 will be announced on 3 May 2021. All will be invited to attend the award ceremony later that month (date to be determined), where the winner of the EBRD Literature Prize 2021 will be announced.

    The news prepared in the framework of the EU project "EU NEIGHBOURS east"

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