GLOBALink | First batch of COVID-19 vaccines donated by China arrives in Nicaragua

Published in CHINA
Tuesday, 14 December 2021 15:52

The first batch of COVID-19 vaccines donated by China has arrived in Nicaragua, after the two countries resumed diplomatic relations. It will soon be applied to protect the health of the local people.

Produced by Xinhua Global Service

GLOBALink | Anti-pandemic measures on cold-chain food in NE China's Heilongjiang

Published in CHINA
Monday, 13 December 2021 17:50

China has stepped up efforts to block the spread of COVID-19 through cold-chain food. Supervised warehouses have been put into use in many cities to ensure food safety.

According to the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), since living novel coronavirus has been isolated from the outer packaging of cold-chain food, contact with such packaging could lead to infection.

Produced by Xinhua Global Service

GLOBALink | African youths hail China's COVID-19 pandemic control approach

Published in CHINA
Thursday, 21 October 2021 15:46

Dozens of youths from China and Africa have gathered in Beijing for the sixth China-Africa Youth Festival this week.

The event was hosted by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and organized by the China Soong Ching Ling Foundation.

Joseph Oliver Mendoo, a Cameroonian PhD student majoring in international politics at Peking University, has been in China for almost six years.

He said he has learned a lot from the way the Communist Party of China (CPC) and the Chinese government have been handling the pandemic.

Fatma, an Egyptian student from the North China University of Technology, said that China is much safer than many countries in the world and China has made the best efforts to protect its people.

Produced by Xinhua Global Service

 

Team Europe: EIB provides €6 million for COVID-19 recovery for Georgian businesses

Published in Economics
Thursday, 21 October 2021 10:04

The European Investment Bank (EIB), the bank of the European Union, has provided a €6 million loan to Terabank Georgia to support its local currency lending to micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) in the country. 

The loan is part of the EIB’s SME Outreach Initiative, which promotes access to finance for MSMEs in Georgia by helping smaller banks in the country to offer tailor-made services and financial products to their clients.

Covered by a guarantee from the European Union, the EIB financing aims to mitigate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and to contribute to an economic recovery that puts Georgia on a long-term sustainable growth track. As part of Team Europe, the EIB works hand in hand with other EU projects implemented in Georgia under the EU4Business brand.

MSMEs are the backbone of the Georgian economy, and access to finance is one of the major challenges they face. To date, the EIB has invested over €300 million in credit lines for Georgian businesses, sustaining more than 54,000 jobs in the country.

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

How to help your business recover after COVID

Published in Economics
Tuesday, 07 September 2021 20:18
  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.

Women-led businesses can benefit from the EU4Business Women in Business Advisory Programme implemented by the EBRD to access know-how to transform their businesses. This covers a wide range of topics, from the technical knowledge to build a website, for example, or to introduce a quality management system that meets ISO standards, improve energy efficiency or improve Human Resources management. These usually involve working with qualified local consultants with a portion of the net costs reimbursed.

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

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"

GLOBALink | U.S. Fort Detrick should be investigated for virus origin tracing, say experts

Published in World
Thursday, 29 July 2021 18:18

"If an investigation is to take place, it must start from the United States of America in the beginning."

Experts have voiced opposition to the politicizing of COVID-19 origin tracing, saying that the U.S. lab of Fort Detrick must be probed if studies are to be further conducted. #GLOBALink

Produced by Xinhua Global Service

GLOBALink | COVID-19 origin-tracing should be conducted in multiple countries, regions: experts

Published in CHINA
Monday, 26 July 2021 17:43

As COVID-19 origin-tracing is an important and complex scientific issue, it should be conducted in multiple countries and regions by collaborative efforts worldwide instead of targeting one country to blame, some experts has said.

 

Produced by Xinhua Global Service

European Union and WHO support Georgia’s efforts to prepare for the mass COVID-19 vaccination process

Published in Health
Friday, 16 July 2021 10:21

72 high quality laptops, 20 tablets, 200 vaccine carriers with 800 icepacks, 300 medical refrigerators with accessories, 300 thermometers, a specialized vaccine-carrier vehicle – this is just short list of the equipment that EU and WHO are donating to the government of Georgia to support the mass COVID-19 vaccination process to be launched in summer.

Today, Mr. Catalin Gherman, Deputy Head of Cooperation of the EU Delegation to Georgia and Dr. Silviu Domente, WHO Representative and Head of the WHO Country Office in Georgia visited the National Center for Disease Control and Public Health to hand over part of the equipment and discuss further needs in support for a successful vaccination process.

This donation is just part of the assistance provided by EU and WHO to the Government of Georgia. Since the onset of the pandemic, EU and WHO have worked to ensure effective response to the current COVID-19 crisis and strengthen overall preparedness capacities of health sector in Georgia. Now the EU-WHO action to support deployment of COVID-19 vaccines and vaccination in Eastern partnership countries, supports the Government of Georgia with provision of necessary supplies, development of software and mobile applications, training of key personnel involved in vaccinations, monitoring of vaccine efficacy and safety, and development and implementation of a nationwide communication campaign to promote vaccinations and to address vaccines hesitancy.

“Vaccines and their roll-out are crucial to overcome the pandemic. In recent days Georgia has received vaccines from Austria and today the EU is proud to hand over equipment as part of our large scale support to Georgia via WHO to ensure that vaccines are used as effectively as possible for maximum impact. The EU and Team Europe continue to stand by Georgia in the pandemic,” – said Catalin Gherman, Deputy Head of Cooperation at the EU Delegation to Georgia.

“We expect a real mass vaccination to be initiated in Georgia in July, and we hope the provided equipment will be very useful for the vaccination teams all over the country, along with other support provided under the current EU-WHO action,” – said Silviu Domente, WHO Representative and Head of Georgia Office.

This assistance is part of a wider support package provided by the EU and Team Europe consisting of GEL 1.5 billion of new and reallocated assistance to help Georgia deal with the COVID-19 pandemic, including support to vulnerable groups and economic recovery. That is one of the highest levels of EU assistance per capita to any country in the world and demonstrates the EU’s strong solidarity with Georgia at this time of unprecedented crisis.

In addition, the EU and Team Europe – including the European Commission, the European Investment Bank and Member States – are some of the strongest supporters of the COVAX, through which Georgia receives part of its vaccines. The EU and Team Europe have so far announced contributions of more than €870 million to the facility.

Xinhua Commentary: Solid growth momentum highlights China's economic resilience

Published in CHINA
Thursday, 15 July 2021 16:42

BEIJING, July 15 (Xinhua) -- The Chinese economy grew 12.7 percent year on year in the first half of 2021, as the world's second largest economy continued to emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic and share its growth dividends with the world.

The country's gross domestic product (GDP) rose to 53.2 trillion yuan (about 8.23 trillion U.S. dollars) in the first six months. The robust growth is a reflection of the vitality and resilience of the Chinese economy once hit hard by the pandemic.

Evidence has shown the recovery is in full-swing. Industrial production, fixed-asset investment, retail sales and foreign trade posted steady growth.

As the spokeswoman of the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) said at the press conference on Thursday, China's economy continues to recover steadily, production and demand continue to rise, employment and prices are generally stable, new growth drivers develop rapidly, economic quality and efficiency improve steadily, market entities are expected to improve, main macro indicators are in an appropriate range, and economic development shows a steady trend.

China's solid performance is also good news to the world.

The World Bank affirmed China's contribution in its June report, which said that the recovery in East Asia and the Pacific will be the strongest in 2021, which is primarily due to the strength in China. It is estimated that China's contribution to global economic growth will exceed 25 percent in 2021.

China mission chief and assistant director in the International Monetary Fund's Asia and Pacific Department Helge Berger said China, as one of the world's largest economies, plays a large role in Asia's recovery and global recovery, not only because of its share in global growth, but also due to its growth spillovers.

China still faces multiple challenges in the rest of the year, as the NBS spokeswoman cautioned over uncertainties stemming from the global spread of the pandemic and the unbalanced domestic recovery.

The International Monetary Fund and the World Bank projected that China's growth will exceed 8 percent in 2021.

China's ability to contain the pandemic pretty quickly, its significant policy support, as well as the recent pickup in global trade will help support the country's strong recovery. 

5000 doses of AstraZeneca have arrived in Georgia

Published in Health
Wednesday, 07 July 2021 13:58
Georgia received a batch of 5000 doses of AstraZeneca as a humanitarian assistance from the Austrian Embassy to Georgia and the Austrian Government.  The vaccines donated to Georgia arrived at the Tbilisi international Airport.

The Deputy Minister of Internally Displaced Persons from the Occupied Territories, Labour, Health and Social Affairs of Georgia, Giorgi Tsotskolauri, the Deputy Foreign Minister, Alexander Khvtisiashvili and the Austrian Ambassador to Georgia, Thomas Mühlmann received the batch at the airport.

The Georgian Vice Prime Minister/Foreign Minister David Zalkaliani thanked his Austrian counterpart for his personal contribution to providing Georgia with vaccines: “Greateful to my colleague Alexander Schallenberg. Joint efforts and cooperation in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic are of paramount importance. Your support is much appreciated” – David Zalkaliani has tweeted.
 
Statement of the MFA Georgia
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