The EBRD has played a key role in Georgia’s development
Think Georgia and you think of amazing landscapes, warm and hospitable people, fabulous food and great wine.
Think Georgia and you realise just how far the country has come since the dark days of the early 1990s.
Georgia has undertaken significant changes to eradicate crime and corruption, to reform government administration and to adopt a framework to enable a market economy. These steps have made Georgia the top reformer compared to the CIS countries and the surrounding geographic region.
However, it remains a lower-middle income country with a population still yearning for stability, prosperity and opportunity.
To take the next step, Georgia can now launch a second wave of reforms by strengthening institutions, encouraging competition and adopting international best practices. The Association Agreement signed with the EU provides an excellent framework for these structural reforms – though the journey will require persistence and some sacrifice.
The EBRD has played a key role in Georgia. We have invested €2.6 billion since the early 1990s, one of the largest investments per capita in our countries of operations. We have supported the development of the banking sector, the renewable energy sector, and the growth of the private sector while encouraging foreign investments.
We have complemented our financial support with technical assistance to strengthen the skills of small and medium-sized companies. Our policy dialogue initiatives include energy efficiency, digital broadcasting, concession laws and energy regulation.
A much needed platform for dialogue between the private and public sectors will be provided by the Investors Council, a joint initiative of the Georgian government and the EBRD in which business associations and international development partners will play an active role. Our strategy has been targeted: to develop the private sector, to strengthen energy independence and to develop further regional integration.
This series of articles, Georgia: investing for change, includes success stories – positive, encouraging tales of local business development. We hope these real examples of what businesses are able to achieve will strengthen the spirit of the private sector, inspiring and leading to new ideas.
The EBRD stands ready to offer its knowledge and support to local and foreign investors.
Bruno Balvanera is EBRD Director for Caucasus, Moldova and Belarus