Sebastian Molineus: I am really pleased to see many very important reforms in Georgia

Published in Economics
Wednesday, 24 November 2021 11:44

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

Irakli Garibashvili: World Bank Study of Corruption Control ranks Georgia 45th among 189 countries and captures it at 45th Position in Top 50 of the World and 19th in Top 20 of Europe

Published in Politics
Tuesday, 28 September 2021 11:45

According to the World Bank study on Corruption Control, Georgia is ranked 45th among 189 countries and is captured at 45th position in Top 50 of the world and 19th in Top 20 of Europe. It was announced by Irakli Garibashvili, Prime Minister of Georgia at the press-briefing held at the Government Administration today.

According to the Head of Government of Georgia, it has been the fourth time in a row that Georgia got captured in the Top 20. The Prime Minister also noted that in the assessment of Freedom House, Georgia is ranked 11th among corruption-free countries of the world.

"I wish to start with a just released piece of information. It relates a World Bank study on governance and indicators summarising the analysis performed by dozens of research institutions and international organizations. Thus, I wish to let the public know that Georgia truly has a very significant progress and advancement towards this end. According to this report, Georgia has a leading and exemplary position in Europe and throughout the world by corruption-free and effective governance.

More specifically, let me say that by the effective control of corruption, Georgia is ranked 45th in 189 countries of the world and is captured in the Top 50. In the European context, Georgia is ranked 19th. It is worth noting that it has been the fourth successive position occupied by Georgia in the referred Top 20.

For the purposes of comparison, let me say that Georgia was ranked 62nd in the study published in 2012. Naturally, we were positioned outside the Top 20 of Europe.

By effective control of corruption, our country is ahead of 10 EU member states: Czech Republic, Italy, Slovakia, Cyprus, Malta, Croatia, Hungary, Greece, Romania, Bulgaria. Georgia is preceded by countries of non-continental part of Europe: Ireland, UK, Iceland and some leading states of Europe.

Out of NATO member states, Georgia is ahead of 14 by the effective control of corruption. Our country leads in the region, while it is preceded only by Baltic countries from the post-soviet bloc.

As for the corruption-free index, Georgia is perceived to be at the 11th position in the assessment of Freedom House.

According to the global survey of The Gallup Organization, Georgia has been captured at 14th position in the Top 20 of Europe among 122 economies of the world" stated Irakli Garibashvili, Prime Minister of Georgia.

The Head of Government of Georgia also noted that by effective governance, Georgia has been ranked 38th in the best 20% of 189 countries, according to the World Bank. Our country has been named at 19th position in the Top 20 of Europe among the continental member countries of the World Bank.

"For comparison, it is worth noting that Georgia was ranked 50th by effective governance in the study published by the World Bank on October 1, 2012. We have had truly great progress towards this end as well. Georgia is ahead of 8 EU member states: Italy, Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, Greece, Croatia, Bulgaria and Romania. Out of NATO member states, Georgia is ahead of 12 by effective governance and occupies the first place in the Caucasus and Black Sea region.

I wish to note that the Economic Intelligence Unit carried out a study as well and assessed countries with a methodology deploying global governance indicators. Bureaucracy was measured in 180 countries and territorial units of the world in two dimensions: (a) degree of bureaucracy and institutional effectiveness and (b) freedom from excessive bureaucracy.

Georgia received 75 out of 100 percentile assessment for the fourth time in a row this year, thus progressing to 17th position among the member countries of the World Bank and 12th in Europe.

Also, I wish to note that Georgia precedes 1 country of G7, 2 member states of the EU and 5 member states of NATO by the rule of law. It is worth noting that in 2008-2012 Georgia fell outside several dozens of positions in the assessments of bureaucracy and received 62.5% at that time" noted the Prime Minister of Georgia.

As noted by the Head of Government of Georgia, rule of law is at a higher level in Georgia than in Italy, Bulgaria, North Macedonia, Montenegro in the international rating. According to him, Georgia ranks fourth in the post soviet block, right after the Baltic countries.

"By the corruption of civil servants and government officials, Georgia has been ranked at 20th position among 180 countries of the world and 12th among European countries.

Georgia has also gone forward to many leading countries of the world. Our assessment is one and a half times higher than 9 European countries: Spain, Italy, Portugal, Poland, Hungary, Czech Republic, Malta, Cyprus as well as South Korea and twice higher than in Bulgaria, Romania and Greece. With these measurement results, Georgia has been equalised with such leading countries of the world as the USA, Japan, France, Ireland, Austria, Belgium, Iceland, Slovenia, Croatia and others.

For comparison, it should be noted that the current assessment of Georgia is 3 times higher than the results demonstrated in 2011-2012.

And lastly, by the degree of regulation, the World Bank ranks Georgia 19th among 189 countries of the world and captures it in the Top 20 of Europe. Hence, I wish to once again thank every cabinet member and civil servant for this success" added Irakli Garibashvili, Prime Minister of Georgia.

Press Service of the Government Administration

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. 

World Bank pledges EUR 85 mln to support job creation and pandemic-affected firms in Georgia

Published in Economics
Wednesday, 12 May 2021 12:36

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.

World Bank Pledges $80 Million to Support Georgia’s Response to COVID-19 Pandemic

Published in Economics
Thursday, 30 April 2020 11:24

The World Bank will provide a $80 million financial support package to Georgia to help the Government’s efforts to mitigate and address the health and social impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. The support is provided under the World Bank’s Fast Track Covid19 Facility (FTCF). The World Bank is also collaborating with the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank to provide an additional $100 million under a joint co-finance arrangement.

The objective is to finance measures that help prevent, detect and respond to the threat posed by the COVID-19 pandemic and provide immediate social protection support to the most vulnerable. It is expected to benefit the population at large, and in particular, the infected people and at-risk populations such as the elderly and people with chronic conditions, as well as medical and emergency personnel. Health-related emergency COVID-19 response measures include case detection and confirmation, increased testing, as well as health system strengthening for case management.

In addition, the project will provide income support to the poor and vulnerable households by scaling-up of the Targeted Social Assistance program and providing temporary cash transfers to workers who lost jobs due to the pandemic.

“Through our rapid support we are helping save lives and protect the livelihoods of those impacted by the pandemic during this challenging time," said Sebastian Molineus, World Bank Regional Director for the South Caucasus. “We estimate that the total WBG financing package for Georgia COVID-19 response will be approximately $200 milion in new financing, in addition to the approximately $300 million funds in our pipeline for 2020-2021 for projects in support of broader development needs, such as digital connectivity and infrastructure”.

“I would especially like to note that our partners have been actively involved in the negotiations with the Government of Georgia since the very first days of the pandemic. Once again, I would like to thank them for that tremendous support,”- said Ivane Matchavariani, Minister of Finance of Georgia. “Furthermore, I would like to emphasize the role of the World Bank in the preparation of this program, as well as in the development of our country in general”.

This project is a part of World Bank’s broader support for the people of Georgia, and it is the first in the series of three lending operations to be rolled-out over the coming three months. The second upcoming operation will come in the form of additional financing to the existing Economic Management and Competitiveness Development Policy Operation (approved by World Bank's Board of Executive Directors on March 26, 2020), aiming to help the government cover the unanticipated financing gap and ensure Georgia’s progress in implementing reforms in areas critical for inclusive economic growth. The third is the upcoming Relief and Recovery for MSMEs and Jobs project, which intends to support the jobs agenda as well as micro, small and medium-sized enterprises that have been affected by the pandemic.

European Union and six Eastern partner countries set targets and action plans to further protect the environment and grasp opportunities of greener development

Published in Society
Tuesday, 02 July 2019 11:14

On 27-28 June, the European Union, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, the Republic of Moldova and Ukraine meet to define priorities, targets, and specific actions to work together and further protect the environment and actively use opportuinities for greener development. Under the EU-funded “European Union for Environment” (EU4Environment) programme, high-level representatives from Eastern Partner countries, European Union Member States, European Union institutions, international partners (OECD, UNECE, UN Environment, UNIDO, and the World Bank), took part in an inaugural event in Brussels.  
 
The event provided the opportunity for all partners to agree on country-specific work plans to improve and implement policies that can spur an environmentally friendly economic growth, and enhance societies’ resilience and citizens’ well-being.
 
Our cooperation on environment with the Eastern Partner countries is stronger than ever and is already bringing tangible benefits to the daily lives of citizens across the region. Together the EU and its six Eastern Partners are working to increase our joint ambition to tackle environmental protection and climate challenges. There is no time to lose. Today's meeting has brought all partner together to agree on the next steps forward.” said Katarína Mathernová, Deputy Director-General for Neighbourhood and Enlargement Negotiations at the European Commission.
 
Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, the Republic of Moldova and Ukraine are committed to actively implement the Sustainable Development Goals and other international commitments, including those tackling climate change under the Paris Agreement. In addition, within the framework of the Eastern Partnership, the European Union together with all partners have also agreed to certain targets under the “20 Deliverables for 2020”. In this context, the EU4Environment programme is supporting the countries to transition towards greener, more efficient and sustainable economies, as well as to addressing environmental challenges. Complementary measures will be implemented under EU4Climate programme.
 
EU4Environment builds on the achievements of past EU-funded programmes, which brought important policy changes and enterprise-level measures. For example, previous work has contributed to the adoption of new laws on the environmental assessment of strategies, plans and investment projects in Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine. More than 400 enterprises received expert advice to identify green solutions that result in annual savings of some EUR 10 million. The six Eastern partners also identified additional nature conservation areas four times the size of Belgium.
 
 
Background: 
EU4Environment is project funded by the European Union worth EUR 20 million to support Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, the Republic of Moldova and Ukraine in implementing the Paris Agreement on Climate Change, improving climate policies and legislation, and reducing the impact of climate change on people’s lives. EU4Environment is working with the six countries to preserve and better use their natural capital, increase people's environmental well-being, and grasp new development opportunities. For example, businesses, particularly small and medium-sized enterprises, are being supported to save energy, water and materials. Leading international experts are also advising national administrations on better environmental governance, such as assurance of compliance with laws, effective use of public finance and building of administrative capacity.

For more information on EU4Environment: 
https://www.euneighbours.eu/en/east/stay-informed/projects/eu4environment

Dimitry Kumsishvili will attend the Spring Meetings of the World Bank Group and the International Monetary Fund in Washington, DC

Published in Economics
Tuesday, 19 September 2017 17:02

First Vice-Prime Minister of Georgia, Minister of Finance Mr. Dimitry Kumsishvili, will attend the Spring Meetings of the World Bank Group and the International Monetary Fund in Washington, DC. During the visit Minister will also meet other International Finance Organizations and investor companies.

Mr. Dimitry Kumsishvili as a Minister of Finance as well as Governor for Georgia at World Bank Group, will meet high level officials from the World Bank Group and the International Monetary Fund.

First Vice-Minister, Minister of Finance of Georgia Mr. Dimitry Kumsishvili will meet with Katarína Mathernova, Deputy Director-General of Neighbourhood and Enlargement Negotiations, where EU-Georgia cooperation topics will be discussed.

Minister Kumsishvili will meet various business representatives attending Spring Meetings 2017. 

From the Georgian side meeting will be attended by Mr. Nikoloz Gagua, Deputy Minister of Finance.

Kumsishvili will attend the Spring Meetings of the World Bank Group and the International Monetary Fund in Washington, DC

Published in Economics
Friday, 18 August 2017 10:09

First Vice-Prime Minister of Georgia, Minister of Finance Mr. Dimitry Kumsishvili, will attend the Spring Meetings of the World Bank Group and the International Monetary Fund in Washington, DC. During the visit Minister will also meet other International Finance Organizations and investor companies.

Mr. Dimitry Kumsishvili as a Minister of Finance as well as Governor for Georgia at World Bank Group, will meet high level officials from the World Bank Group and the International Monetary Fund.

First Vice-Minister, Minister of Finance of Georgia Mr. Dimitry Kumsishvili will meet with Katarína Mathernova, Deputy Director-General of Neighbourhood and Enlargement Negotiations, where EU-Georgia cooperation topics will be discussed.

Minister Kumsishvili will meet various business representatives attending Spring Meetings 2017.

From the Georgian side meeting will be attended by Mr. Nikoloz Gagua, Deputy Minister of Finance.

The meeting of Nino Goguadze with the World Bank representatives

Published in Politics
Thursday, 06 April 2017 11:35

The Member of Gender Equality Council, the First Deputy Chair of the Foreign Relations Committee, Nino Goguadze held the meeting with the WB representatives working on gender issues. The parties attached attention to the rights of women in Georgia, gender equality and the respective processes. “I introduced the activity of the Gender Equality Council, priorities and action plan. We spoke about our future plans for 2017. The main emphasis was made on our plans in legislative terms, as well as provision of society with information and coordination with other state agencies on gender equality issues”, - she stated.
The guests emphasized consideration of gender components for the children at early education stage and asked about cooperation of the GEC with local and international organizations.
The parties expressed opinion that in terms of exchange of information, it would be preferable to hold the intermittent meetings with participation of WB, UN Women organizations and GEC.
The guests emphasized economic issues of women and budget analysis, which is the part of our action plan to provide gender analysis of the budget to estimate degree of consideration of gender component in the budget. It is noteworthy that they underlined importance of this issue”, - N. Goguadze stated. The parties agreed on future cooperation.

NATO Summit to begin in Warsaw

Published in World
Thursday, 07 July 2016 16:26

On Friday and Saturday (8-9 July 2016), the leaders of the 28 NATO Allies and many partner nations will meet for a landmark Warsaw Summit. Together, they will take decisions to enhance the Alliance’s security by strengthening its deterrence and defence, and projecting stability beyond its borders.
Allies will agree to deploy four robust and multinational battalions to Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland, on a rotational basis. A multinational framework brigade in Romania will provide a tailored presence in south-eastern Europe. NATO will also take further steps to improve cyber defences, civil preparedness and to defend against ballistic missile attack from outside the Euro-Atlantic area.
To project stability beyond our borders, leaders will agree to extend NATO’s training mission in Iraq and to broaden the Alliance’s role in the central Mediterranean. They will also approve the deployment of NATO’s AWACS surveillance aircraft to support the Global Coalition to Counter ISIL. NATO will continue its military and financial support for Afghanistan and will strengthen political and practical cooperation with Ukraine, Georgia and the Republic of Moldova.
Since NATO’s last summit in Wales in 2014, Allies have implemented the biggest increase in collective defence since the Cold War. Last year, Allies also increased defence spending for the first time in many years.  Today, NATO is faster, stronger and more ready for any challenge.  The decisions taken at the Warsaw Summit will help to ensure the safety of our citizens for years to come.
There have been 27 previous summits. The first one was in December 1957. The last one was in Wales in September 2014. This Summit is the first to be hosted in Poland and the first to be chaired by Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg. Fifty-eight official delegations will participate in the Summit. This includes all 28 NATO Allies, Montenegro - whose accession to NATO is currently in the ratification process, 26 partner countries and representatives from the United Nations, the European Union, the World Bank and the NATO Parliamentary Assembly.  About 2,500 official delegates and 2,000 media representatives will attend.

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