Prime Minister of Georgia chairs first meeting of Investors Council

By Loretta  Martikian

Prime Minister of Georgia chairs first meeting of Investors Council

The newly established Georgian Investors Council has held its first meeting, chaired by Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili, in Tbilisi.

Government officials, representatives of local business associations and International Financial Institutions (IFIs) discussed key challenges affecting the business climate in Georgia and how to further support the development of the private sector.

Key steps towards achieving this goal are reforms and policy dialogue between the government and the private sector. Continuous interaction allows the legal and regulatory environment to be shaped in a way that is favourable to attracting investment and sustainable economic development.

The Georgian Investors Council was established in May 2015 when Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili and EBRD President Sir Suma Chakrabarti, as well as the other founding members, signed a Memorandum of Understanding which sets out the principles and goals of the institution.

The objective is to facilitate constructive dialogue at the highest level, bringing together representatives of the government, state agencies, local and international business associations and the business ombudsman, in order to further improve the business climate, advance economic development and attract additional investors to Georgia.

By facilitating mutual understanding and trust, the Investors Council is strengthening the foundations for the expansion of business activities for the benefit of the country. The Council is focusing on practical steps needed to address investors’ needs and concerns.

Daily operations of the Investors Council are managed by the secretariat, headed by Mariam Megvinetukhutsesi, a former EBRD banker. The secretariat leads in key issues such as developing reforms, facilitating consultations with the business community and communicating feedback on reform proposals to the authorities.

Bruno Balvanera, EBRD Director for Caucasus, Moldova and Belarus, said: “We are impressed and encouraged by all participants’ commitment to the goals of the Council at this first working meeting. Georgia has made significant progress in terms of improving the business climate, but there are still many gaps to close. It is important, in light of the requirements of the EU Association Agreement, to support Georgia in adopting further regulations based on European Union standards.”

The EBRD is financing the Investor Council’s secretariat with the help of technical cooperation funds from the EBRD Early Transition Countries (ETC) Fund* and support from the government of Georgia. Other international development partners have been invited to join.

The EBRD is the largest institutional investor in Georgia with over €2.5 billion investments in more than 180 projects to date. In addition to being a leading investor in many sectors of the Georgian economy, the Bank is also providing advisory services and is committed to mobilising additional investment in Georgia.

*Donors to the ETC Fund include: Canada, Finland, Germany, Ireland, Japan, Korea, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the Taipei China and the United Kingdom.