Georgian PM Promotes Georgia at the Davos World Economic Forum

Prime Minister of Georgia Giorgi Kvirikashvili Addressed the Davos World Economic Forum Session ‘Eurasia and the Modern Silk Road’ last week.

The PM underlined reconstruction of the economic Silk Road, ‘One Belt, One Road’ initiative that brings new momentum for developing economic ties on the Eurasian continent. PM Kvirikashvili mentioned that Europe indeed needs dynamism from China and Asian countries and Asian countries need new technologies and know-how from Europe.

The Prime Minister discussed infrastructural projects implemented in the recent years in Georgia and steps taken to modernize the railway system.

“We are completing highway construction and are working very closely with our neighbors in order to develop a holistic approach in managing the South Caucasus corridor together with Kazakhstan and central Asian countries,” the PM said.

He highlighted the momentous event in December when direct trains passed from China’s Xinjiang province, through Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, and Georgia, toward Europe through the Black Sea and Turkey. “The project is developing fast and we see increasing demand. The direct train from Xinjiang province to Tbilisi took 7 days, which means that in about 10-11 days a train can travel from China to Europe,” the PM said.

In an interview with CNBC News during the Forum, the PM said, “The Silk Road Project brings a new dynamic from Europe to Asia and vice versa. Europe needs new drives for growth and Georgia is definitely the place to link the two continents.”

PM Kvirikashvili also underscored some important projects in Georgia, such as infrastructure modernization, including the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway project, deep Sea Port construction in Anaklia (Western Georgia) and some large scale projects in the hydropower sector.

He emphasized that Georgia is among the leaders in terms of ease of doing business, and has one of the lowest tax rates in the world. “Liberalization of tax administration is ongoing, and profound changes derived from the Free Trade Agreement with the European Union are being introduced.”

During the address, the Prime Minister also put emphasis on Free Trade Agreements with the neighboring countries in the region, with the European Union, and the recently launched free trade negotiations with China. “We are becoming one of the most open economies in the region, with very liberal regulations and relatively low energy costs, with relatively low labor costs and an educated workforce. We believe that in this partnership picture Georgia will play a very important role,” PM Kvirikashvili stated.

In his speech, the Prime Minister’s message also concerned Georgia’s attempt to deepen its relations with the European Union and countries within the region and decrease political tensions with the Russian Federation. “We need to decrease political tensions and allow ourselves and all other countries to develop in a less tense environment.”

During the Forum, the Georgian PM met Suma Chakrabarti, the President of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD). Chakrabarti told the Georgian Premier that the EBRD will continue close cooperation with Georgia in the future and the volume of investment and financial aid will be increased in 2016.

The parties discussed prospects of growth of investments, and stimulating the private sector and developing business environment in Georgia.

Also within the frames of the Forum, a meeting between the heads of an Emirati holding company based in Dubai, Majid Al Futtaim Group, and Prime Minister of Georgia was held. The Company expressed its willingness to increase the volume of its investments in Georgia. In particular, Majid Al Futtaim is interested in the construction of hotels and trade centers in Georgia. Further details are to be discussed with the leaders of the Georgian Co-Investment Fund.

The Georgian Prime Minister also met with the Assistant US Secretary of State, Victoria Nuland, the President of the European Investment Bank, Werner Hoyer, and the President of the Swiss Confederation, Johann Schneider-Ammann. In addition, discussions were held with Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev and NATO Secretary General, Jens Stoltenberg.

Zviad Adzinbaia

25 January 2016 21:27