EBRD President Praises Georgian Gov't's Efforts in Covid-19 Management

European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) is one of the most important partners of Georgia and strengthening of the successful, exemplary cooperation acquire a greater importance during the post-pandemic economic recovery, as a result of which Georgia has turned into one of the largest per-capita beneficiaries of support from EBRD in recent years. It was announced by Giorgi Gakharia, Prime Minister of Georgia at an online meeting with Odile Renaud-Basso, newly appointed President of EBRD today.

The Head of Government of Georgia wished her successful service, especially in the context of global challenges and stressed the support enjoyed by the country in economic, infrastructure and private sector development through over 250 projects in the value of over 4 billion Euros in total.

In the opinion of Giorgi Gakharia, support of EBRD is particularly appreciated in the private sector of the country with investments doubling for businesses and financial sector of the country in 2020, irrespective of the pandemic, because a strong private sector is a key driving force of economic growth and sustainable development.

Meeting, engaging Maya Tskitishvili, First Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Regional Development and Infrastructure of Georgia; Ivane Matchavariani, Minister of Finance of Georgia and Natia Turnava, Minister of Economy and Sustainable Development of Georgia, focused on the economic challenges caused by the pandemic and critical importance of support from EBRD for the post-pandemic economic recovery. The significance of the platform offered by the Investors Council was underlined in terms of communication between the Government and private sector of the country, which facilitates better identification of challenges faced by the private sector and design of structural reforms that are essential to be implemented by taking into account the post-pandemic economic needs for the business and investment environment in particular.

The President of EBRD predominantly emphasized the efforts made by the Government of Georgia and referred to the steps made by the authorities for the management of the crisis caused by the coronavirus as effective.

Media Statements were made after the meeting by the Prime Minister of Georgia and the President of EBRD.

Giorgi Gakharia once again pointed out the huge importance of the visit virtually made by the EBRD President to Georgia, especially by considering the challenges related to COVID pandemic and arising opportunities.

"This virtual visit of the President of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development to Georgia and a meeting with her team is profoundly important. EBRD is one of the most significant partners of Georgia in its development. We talked about projects that are already implemented by EBRD in Georgia for the physical infrastructure, energy sector, structural reforms and many other areas of coverage. Of course, we spoke about the importance of cooperation by and between EBRD and the Government of Georgia for a loud statement to be made by the country at the end of 2024 towards a fully-fledged membership of the EU. EBRD is an organization that supports the country in developing its economy for making us reach this goal. Support rendered by EBRD is important for the private sector. You may well be aware that the private sector is a key driving force for the development of Georgian economy and job creation. That is why, we of course expressed gratitude to our colleagues for such support.

"Areas that we covered in the discussion are most important: energy, transport, physical infrastructure, structural reforms and we will continue our cooperation in these areas of course. I wish to once again thank our guests and express hopes that a new Country Strategy for Georgia for the next 5 years - which the EBRD has already started to develop - will be as successful as the current program of cooperation," noted Giorgi Gakharia.

President of EBRD confirmed the commitment of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development towards supporting Georgia in overcoming the difficulties caused by the coronavirus and in facilitating a strong, sustainable and inclusive recovery.

"I would really like to extend my gratitude to the Government of Georgia for the warm welcome and productive dialogue during the virtual visit. I am delighted to have my first visit in a country of operation since I took office as EBRD President taking place in Georgia albeit only virtually, because you know we are limited by travel restrictions. I thought it was really important for me to be able to meet the government and other stakeholders in Georgia in order to start work and continue building on very good cooperation that we have with the country.

"We discussed the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on Georgia and how the country in dealing with this unprecedented challenge and EBRD's contribution first to overcome the crisis and second to build a better one and to lay a foundation for sustainable and inclusive growth. And I must say that I have been truly impressed by the determination of Georgian authorities in overcoming the crisis and want to publicly reiterate the EBRD's commitment to supporting the country in its way forward.

"We can build on a very strong foundation thanks to a record made in 2020 when the EBRD's overall investment reached a record-high level of 630 million Euros through 16 projects in various sectors and with new clients as well as with existing clients, who were able to benefit of the emergency support. We invested in the energy sector as well as in the health sector. We worked with the Georgian financial institutions, with SMEs and our activities always aimed at benefiting the real economy.

"The coronavirus pandemic has put all economies around the world under an unprecedented strain and the EBRD responded swiftly with a 1 billion solidarity package as early as March to help the countries in its region of operation to cope with the impacts of the virus. And this is what we have implemented with a very strong determination in Georgia for the benefit of the economy.

"Looking forward, and this was the large part of our discussion, we discussed the EBRD's strong commitment to continue supporting Georgia's economy with a combination of private sector finance, as well as an active policy dialogue initiatives to facilitate the economic recovery.

"We are preparing our 5-year strategy, which will focus on addressing Georgia's needs and priorities. We will address the green economy, social inequality and the digital divide. We see priority reform to continue work in the further development of the private sector, recovery of the economy, making the economy more inclusive, strengthening the human capital and developing the infrastructure and connectivity especially in terms of digitalization.

"It is also very important to keep reforms related to the EU Association Agreement on track. This agreement provides an excellent framework, roadmap and timeline for structural reforms.

"So, we are looking forward to continuing to work very closely with the government, private sector and civil society on the development of the strategy. The EBRD stands by Georgia as an investor and a friend. I really want to thank once again the government for its very warm welcome and a very productive discussion we just had," noted Odile Renaud-Basso, President of the EBRD.

Giorgi Gakharia thereafter invited Odile Renaud-Basso to Georgia for a discussion on further deepening cooperation between Georgia and EBRD, along with new prospects of interaction.

02 February 2021 17:25