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Old September 13th, 2010, 05:33 PM   #141
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Archil Kekelia: We Plan to Turn the Country into a Major Aviation Hub Connecting European and Asian Markets
Monday, September 13, 2010
Georgian Business Week publishes an exclusive interview with Archil Kekelia, first deputy Minister of Economy and Sustainable Development, on expected FDI inflows to Georgia and the tourism sector development plans.
- Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili says Georgia will record 10 million visitors until 2013 and the proceeds from the tourism sector will mark 10 billion. What are concrete indicators behind the President’s statement and what the Ministry and the Tourism Department plan to implement the project?

First eight months of 2010 saw unprecedented 1.3 million international visitors coming to Georgia and we at the Ministry expect that the number of tourists will exceed 2 million by the year end. Considering year-on-year growth of around 40%, we believe that it is realistic to reach up to 3 million visitors next year and witness the number of international travelers surpass the population of Georgia in 2013. Increase in number of visitors is proportional to increase in tourism receipts, creation of jobs and boost of sectors associated with tourism such as hospitality, agriculture, real estate, transportation and others. As we speak now in September 2010 it is of utmost importance to catch the current favorable momentum and concentrate our efforts in order to sustain the said growth.
Therefore, within the Government’s endeavor to attain ambitious tourism plans, we are actively developing infrastructure (transport, communications, utilities, etc.) throughout the country. We are positioning Georgia as an interesting, safe and friendly tourism destination for all four seasons and simplifying entry and customs formalities for foreign residents to make them feel welcome. The Government, Ministry and National Tourism Agency invite and assist leading airlines to start their operations in Georgia and we plan to turn the country into a major aviation hub connecting European and Asian markets. Construction of key international hotel chains such as Kempinski, Hyatt, Intercontinental, Hilton, Radisson and others is underway and we are also working closely with 3 and 4-star hotel brands and investors to enter Georgia in order to fill the gap and accommodate needs of middle-class visitors.
Importantly, now us being Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Growth, we are positioning our country as a green, ecologically clean and unique destination not available anywhere else in the world. In fact, Georgia has every natural splendor a person would want, plus amazing history, extraordinary gastronomy, incredible wine and most importantly, hospitable people. Keeping this in mind, we need to offer visitors value-added services and packages based on our competitive advantage which they will truly appreciate and the people of Georgia will benefit from.
- Georgian Prime Minister Nikoloz Gilauri says the inflow of foreign direct investments (FDI) to Georgia will mark 1 billion GEL. What are the ground behind this statement?
Investment policy of the Government has been consistent over the last few years. It is based on liberalization of economy, creation of clear legislative framework and in general, introduction of simple and transparent policies where rules of the game are same for all the players. This policy has allowed for sound performance in 2004-2008 and continuity of our direction was also a major reason why Georgia, regardless the financial crisis and 2008 war, still managed to attract more than USD 750 million of FDI in 2009.
Government’s efforts in reviving its economy and attracting FDI have been recognized by international financial organizations, non-governmental sector and media such as The World Bank, Transparency International, Heritage Foundation or Forbes. Amongst many accolades that Georgia received I would like to highlight 2009 The World Bank survey of 87 countries worldwide, named “Investing Across Borders”, where Georgia is ranked #1. “Ease of Doing Business”, also published by The World Bank, puts Georgia #11 among 183 countries before countries such as Sweden, Switzerland, Germany or Netherlands, just to name a few.
FDI forecast for this year is based on ongoing and planned investment projects as well as the analysis of the performance of the previous years. It needs to be mentioned that next to government efforts, performance of the global economy is also key to our FDI performance. With that in mind, conditions in global markets this autumn will be of critical importance.
- How would you characterize the privatization policy of Vera Kobalia’s new team and how much does the Ministry expect to collect from the privatization process?

- The policy of the Ministry with regards to privatization is focused around 3 main pillars: we want to extract maximum financial benefit from the assets sold, we want to make the process as quick as possible and finally, we want privatization to be transparent so that all bidders are treated equally.
Firstly, we started working with real estate brokers. Commissions they receive for the property sold will be higher than those they receive in private sector and we are close to signing memoranda with selected brokers. We plan to work with banks and introduce innovative credit product - low-rate mortgage loans in case of procurement of state property. Negotiations on those issues with several banks are already completed. The Ministry also creates a public front office, where any person will be able to obtain the information about objects to be privatized.
Secondly, we intend to become an entity which will be able to make quick decisions. The objects prepared for privatization will go into an auction in a rapid manner, the transparency of this process and informational support will be significantly increased. We work to reactivate relations with media, in order to air more information about the privatization processes in business broadcasts. The Ministry now has a press-speaker who makes statements about the upcoming auctions. Besides, the so called “open door” days are planned in large-scale privatization objects where all type of information will be available.
Thirdly, the Ministry is setting up a system where our compatriots living abroad will be involved in the process of privatization. In particular, we are creating mechanisms to encourage representatives of our diasporas in realization of our state property and reward them financially, similar to what we plan to do in case of brokers. The “open door” policy will also be available for foreign citizens having interest to invest in Georgia.
Finally, we estimate to raise around GEL 150 million from our privatization activities in 2010.
http://www.gbw.ge/news.aspx?sid=6594...f-1dd940010b82
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Old September 14th, 2010, 07:05 PM   #142
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Georgia, Azerbaijan, Romania sign new energy agreement
14.09.10 18:35
Presidents of Georgia, Azerbaijan, Romania and the Prime Minister of Hungary have signed a new energy project on transportation energy resources from Azerbaijan to Europe via Georgia. The leaders of these countries delivered speeches and emphasized the importance of the new energy corridor.
The so-called AGR-Project aims at supplying natural gas from Azerbaijan to Europe. It should be noted that Hungary is involved in the new energy project for the first time.
The president of Azerbaijan, Ilham Aliyev spoke about the contribution of Georgia to this project and thanked Mikheil Saakashvili for cooperation.
Rustavi 2

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Грузия, Азербайджан и Румыния готовятся к совместным поставкам газа в Европу14.09.2010, | Политика Главы Государственной нефтяной компании Азербайджана, Нефтегазовой корпорации Грузии и румынской компании ROMGAS на встрече в Баку подписали меморандум взаимопонимания по проекту AGRI - Azerbaijan-Georgia-Romania Interconnector. АGRI – это проект по транспортировке сжиженного газа в Европу. Он предполагает доставку азербайджанского топлива по трубопроводам на черноморское побережье Грузии. Здесь газ будет сжижаться на специальном терминале. После этого танкерами топливо поставят в румынский порт Констанца. Далее сжиженный газ будет приводиться в состояние природного. Большой интерес к проекту проявляет Венгрия. Неслучайно, что Баку посетил и премьер-министр этой страны Виктор Орбан. Главной целью его визита является четырехсторонняя встреча с участием президентов Грузии, Азербайджана и Румынии. Лидеры Тбилиси и Бухареста встретились со своим азербайджанским коллегой еще накануне. Ильхам Алиев показал Михаилу Саакашвили и Траяну Бэсеску обновленный Баку. Президенты трех стран в неформальной обстановке прогулялись по набережной азербайджанской столицы и прокатились на электромобиле.
http://www.1k-tv.com/index-3-newsinfo-8511

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Azerbaijan, Georgia, Romania Sign Gas Deal
SEPTEMBER 15, 2010
Azerbaijan, Georgia and Romania have signed a deal to create a transit corridor for natural gas that will bypass Russia and run directly from the Caspian Sea to Europe.

Officials said Tuesday that under the deal, a liquified natural gas pipeline will link the Caspian to Georgia. The gas then will be carried by tankers across the Black Sea and into the rest of Europe via existing pipelines.

Azerbaijan's state energy firm SOCAR said in a statement that state-run energy corporations in each country will hold equal stakes in the estimated $5 billion venture.

The project is expected to supply up to eight billion cubic meters of gas a year.

Several European capitals have been seeking alternatives to Russian gas, in the aftermath of several recent pricing disputes between Russia and Ukraine that led Moscow to cut pipeline supplies bound for western Europe.

A spokesman for the Hungarian prime minister said Hungary had signed onto the deal in a separate agreement.

In January 2009, Russia cut gas flow through Ukraine to the West for nearly two weeks, before settling a dispute that had left large parts of Europe without adequate winter heating supplies.

Many Western governments, reeling from the shortages, labeled Moscow as an unreliable energy partner.

The new transit corridor is seen as a way of diversifying gas deliveries.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and Reuters.
http://www.voanews.com/english/news/...102890319.html

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Old September 19th, 2010, 04:43 PM   #143
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Cisco and Hewlett Packard Show Interest in Opening Regional Service Centers in Tbilisi
2010.09.18
Tbilisi (GBC) - Vera Kobalia, Minister of Economy and Sustainble Development of Georgia, is conducting negotiations with representatives of Silicon Valley and its companies in San Francisco.
http://gbc.ge/?lang=eng
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Old September 20th, 2010, 11:35 AM   #144
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Britain’s New Ambassador Counts on Stronger Commercial Links Between the UK and Georgia
Written by Koka Kalandadze
20/09/2010
The FINANCIAL -- “British companies have been successfully operating in Georgia for a long time, making a significant contribution to the local economy. I hope that we can build on this, and forge even stronger commercial links between our countries,” newly appointed British Ambassador Judith Gough told Georgian businessmen last week at a reception hosted by Karen Moran, the British Deputy Head of Mission. The previous Ambassador, Denis Keefe who served for 3 years, left the office late in June, moving to MOSCOW .

In her address, Ms Judith Gough spoke about her past experience, background, and the foreign policy priorities of the new British Government, including its ambition to put greater emphasis on business and trade promotion.

Ms Gough joined the FCO in 2001 from Ernst and Young, where she worked as a Senior Management Consultant specialising in Financial Services and Emerging Markets.

Her first role in the FCO was as Desk Officer for Gibraltar, after which she went on to be Head of the Albania, FYR Macedonia and Balkans Strategic Policy Team.

From 2004 to 2007 Ms Gough was posted to Seoul as Political Counsellor during which time she was head of Chancery as well as being responsible for Press and Public Affairs and Economic issues. On her return to London in 2007 Ms Gough became Deputy Director of the Shared Services Programme, responsible for designing future models for a more cost-efficient FCO.

Since 2008 Ms Gough has been Deputy Head of the Security Policy Group, with responsibility for arms control, nuclear disarmament and international security, including managing the UK’s participation in the 2010 NPT Review Conference.

The new British Ambassador Judith Gough arrived in Georgia on 4 September, 2010, meeting with different government and business representatives in the following days.

The Ambassador welcomes strong British-Georgian relations and highlights the potential of further developing business opportunities between the two countries.

“I have received a very warm welcome from Georgia in the week that I have been here,” Judith Gough told Georgian businessmen. It’s a very exciting time to be in Georgia. I am getting a real sense of energy and opportunity and that’s quite something, especially against the very difficult economic climate globally. I’m very passionate about continuing our support for Georgia’s democratisation process and the search for peaceful resolution of the conflicts.”

“Wherever I go in the world I know there will be some businessmen or businesswomen that are exceptionally good at conducting business, which has resulted in some very interesting situations for me. One example is when I was in the middle of North Korea, and I met a businessman running a tour company. So by the same token I see an entrepreneurial spirit which we all have and that’s why we (the UK) are the 6th largest economy with a preeminent financial market where we’re still leaders in finance, oil and gas, in manufacturing industries, etc.”

“I’m very excited by the amount of British activity going on in Georgia, and I want to see more of that. British companies have been successfully operating in Georgia for a long time, making a significant contribution to the local economy. I hope that we can build on this, and forge even stronger commercial links between our countries.”

“When British companies are doing business overseas, they also get to know and invest in local economies and communities. And I know that a lot of work goes on here as well as all over the world in terms of investing in local communities.”

“In terms of me, I’m a slightly unusual British Ambassador in a number of ways, as I started out as a management consultant, 6 very happy years. In the past decade I’ve been working as a diplomat. I hope that my commercial background will be useful here, and I’m still very interested in the role of Ambassador as it isn’t just about foreign policy but is I think increasingly becoming more and more commercial with its trade links. As we now in fact have a new government in the UK elected back in May, when I saw the Prime Minister and former Secretary in July they were very clear that the role of Ambassador is to go out, look at British exports, emerging markets, securing access to resources, sustainable growth, and prosperity. And that’s very much what my objectives are here, thus improving prosperity not only in the UK but in Georgia as well,” she said.

The previous Ambassador, Denis Keefe who served for 3 years, left the office late in June, moving to MOSCOW . Mr. Keefe was actively involved in the democratisation processes and peaceful resolution of conflicts in Georgia. He took important steps when working with the Georgian Government about a new action plan of engagement with Abkhazia and South Ossetia.

He also contributed to the improvement of social life, carrying out sports relief programmes in addition to raising money for infant houses.

Promoting business overseas and establishing new trade links is a key priority for British Embassies around the world.
http://finchannel.com/
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Old September 21st, 2010, 04:31 PM   #145
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Cisco and Hewlett Packard Show Interest in Opening Regional Service Centers in Tbilisi
Tuesday, September 21, 2010
Vera Kobalia, Minister of Economy and Sustainble Development of Georgia, is conducting negotiations with representatives of Silicon Valley and its companies in San Francisco.
“The main goal of my visiting California is to see Silicon Valley and meet with representatives of IT companies”, Vera Kobalia said.
Vera Kobalia has visited Cisco company too.
“We plan to organize a Cisco center in Georgia. We also intend to provide job for developing the education and business sectors. Moreover, we will refer San Francisco University graduates with MA degree in business administering to work in Georgia free of charge and help you in drawing foreign investments”, the Cisco manager general told Rustavi 2.
Besides Cisco, Hewlett Packard (HP) representatives have also showed interest in starting business in Georgia. The company vice president expresses readiness to arrive in Tbilisi and unveil a regional service center.
“We hope for concluding an ultimate agreement with these companies. We will start with small centers and enlarge our cooperation later”, Vera Kbalia noted.
The Georgian Economy Minister delivered a speech at the American-Georgia business summit and the 13th annual conference of the American-Georgian business council in San Francisco.
The visits aim at deepening Georgia’s relations with the USA Embassy, the US Department of Commerce and the American business sector, as well as drawing investments, Kobalia said and added meetings have been held at San Francisco City Hall . The Georgian Economy Minister pointed out a San Francisco City Hall official pledged to ensure tight cooperation between Georgia and San Francisco in the tourism and IT sectors.
Vera Kobalia will stay in the USA until September 20. Meanwhile, on September 18 the Minister plans to meet with representatives of Google and Intel companies too.
http://www.gbw.ge/news.aspx?sid=7c9e...d-90bb58940c31
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Old September 22nd, 2010, 09:42 AM   #146
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Israel Tries to Switch Tourists from Turkey to Georgia
Written by Keti Chkhikvadze
13/09/2010
The FINANCIAL -- Number of tourists from Israel to Georgia was more than double last year”, Yehiel Bar, City Council Member, Tourism and Foreign relationships Portfolio Holder at Jerusalem Municipality told The FINANCIAL. “We are marketing Georgia in Israeli media especially after diplomatic crisis we had with Turkey so we want Israelites who go to Turkey to switch to Georgia and visit Georgia,” he said.

Real estate, tourism, commerce sectors are named as the most attractive spheres for investment by Israel-Georgia Chamber of Business and Jewish Delegation visiting Georgia during Israel Week in Georgia.

“From Israel to Georgia there is 250 million USD investments in total, if not the crisis the figure would have reached milliard USD,” says Itsik Moshe, President of Israel-Georgia Chamber of Business.

“The crisis has not ended in Easter Europe yet. The total investment from Israeli side to countries of Eastern Europe Romania, Bulgaria, and Hungary are approximately 10 milliard USD. The next stage is Georgia. The investment from Israel in Georgia will start from Batumi and Tbilisi at the first stage.

We see advance in several sectors in Georgia. Tourism has increased by 85%, the flights are almost 7 times per week and the investors are arriving from Israel to Georgia,” adds Moshe.

“There are many Jewish and Israelite investors who have come and are coming to Georgia and we are encouraging more to come to invest here,” says Itzhak Gerberg, Ambassador of Israel in Georgia.

“The most attractive areas we have identified with a lot of potential are agriculture, communication, healthcare, equipment and all the IT issues,” adds Gerberg.

Moshe and Bar named tourism and real estate sectors as of high potential for investing.

As Moshe declares there will be deficit of 10 000 hotel rooms in 2013 in Georgia, thus creating deficit of 100 hotels. As for real estate market there is 15 million square meters amortized, and deficit of 7 million square meters of dwelling houses.

“There is a huge real estate opportunity in Georgia. Now Israel investors can buy land here in Georgia and help in building houses, business malls, industry areas and Israelites are very good at it,” says Bar.

“Very many big and small construction and building companies in Israel are coming to Georgia these days and with the help of Itsik Moshe and Israel Chamber of Business find opportunities here.

It’s good time for investment now as if you have a look at Georgia three years ago it was much cheaper and three years from now it will be much more expensive, so the right thing to do is to invest in Georgia where the prices are not so high but are much higher than 3 years ago,” adds Bar.

“Tourism as well as agriculture is very interesting. As much as I know Israel developed the system of how to use small land with major products. Government of Israel and Embassy here are developing the courses of different approaches in all what agriculture is in this country.

Moreover, Israel is very famous in hi-tech, so I think this is what Israel can share with Georgia,” says Eli Cohen, General Director of Jewish Agency in Israel.

As Bar declares, except of real estate opportunities in Georgia there is a vast opportunity in commerce and merchandise.

“Just in this delegation we brought big delegation from Jerusalem of businessmen and commerce people to find things to bring and import from Georgia to Israel and maybe to offer from Israel to Georgia as well.

Israel can offer to Georgia things in the area of medicine, science, pharmaceutical and everything you can imagine Israel has. Georgia can offer a lot of the products Israel is lacking of. I know in a couple of weeks we will have agreement of trade and merchandise between Israel and Georgia, and this is the thing we have to do more and more in order to strengthen both economies,” declares Bar.

Moshe says there are the companies which think of exporting Georgian products to Israel at present.

“Georgia is becoming more advertised country and its products become more interesting. Production in Georgia was good before however, the country was not famous in the West. There are many Georgian products such as wine, Borjomi, Nabeghlavi, agricultural products which will be successful in Israel market,” says Moshe.

According to Bar, mainly water and wine might be of success in Israel.

“In Israel we drink a lot of wine every year. Mainly wine is brought from France or South America or Africa, and I think Israeli people have not discovered Georgian wine yet. So, wine is one thing and of course water. Israel has deficit of water, so you have the best mineral waters Borjomi, Nabeghlavi and other brands. I think water and wine can be the best products Georgia can give to Israel,” adds Bar.

Legal base and the environment for investment is pretty interesting for Jewish investors.
“Jewish companies feel support in Georgia. Georgia is already western progressive free country. If banking sector issued loans with lower rates I see the investments from Israel will be doubled, as big scale projects need support with loan and at this stage this is still stopped,” declares Moshe.

“Legally everything is good in Georgia. Around the world and in Israel people have some fear because they think Russia will attack again or maybe the Bank of Georgia will collapse. However, now Georgia became partner in the western world and has a lot of support from America, Israel and from other countries and what happened with Russia a couple of years ago, cannot happen easily next time,” says Bar.

“Bank of Georgia opened a branch just recently a few months ago in Tel Aviv, and I know Israel businessmen do invest in Bank of Georgia in Tel Aviv. Investing in Bank of Georgia means we believe in Economy, otherwise we would not spend a dollar,” adds Bar.

Cohen said that this was his second visit to Georgia after 8 years. “I see during this visit how much the country has developed and Tbilisi city. I visited Gori and saw how they renewed all the places that were damaged by the war in 2008. So, I think the potential here is very high and I really wish Georgia to continue to develop.

I think the relationship between Israel and Georgia can strengthen mutual communities and help the knowledge of Israel with the potential of this country. The relationship can help this country to be more developed,” adds Cohen.

“Georgian market is much weaker than Israeli market, which has much stronger economy and survived the latter crisis,” says Bar.

“Georgia is reminding Israel maybe 15-20 years ago, and you can see clearly that the stages in root of growing getting stronger, so what happened to Israel should and will happen to Georgia as Georgian economy is now very smart.

There are a lot of young people who are very talented and educated. In Israel we invest in science, in education and this is what this generation has made after revolution and what is actually very similar to the road Israel took before, so I can see the resembles and I am pretty optimistic about Georgia,” adds Bar.

Georgian and Israeli people have 26 century relationship. Moshe says the relationship of nations transfers to relationship of countries and between Georgia and Israel the country relationships have already started.

“Georgian and Jewish people have more than 2000 years relationship and I am very glad that recently Israel and Jewish people discovered Georgia again, as for many years we had not such good relationships. Now Georgian and Israel have both come to visit, to make business, to do tourism.

I think Georgia is one of Israel’s best friends. In Georgia we found people who love and appreciate Israel, and Israel and Jewish people appreciate Georgia very much,” declares Bar.

“Georgia was the first country to open borders, when Soviet Union collapsed it was the place where the Jewish agency built the office to serve the Jewish community here and to strengthen the relationship between both countries,” says Cohen.

“There is big Georgian Jewish community in Israel that is helping to strengthen the relationship between the two countries. I was very happy to know that Georgian government avoided visa regime from Israel. I hope that in the future there will be good conditions to help Georgians come to Israel as well,” comments Cohen.
http://www.finchannel.com/news_flash...ey_to_Georgia/
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Old September 23rd, 2010, 10:20 AM   #147
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Construction continues of Baku-Tbilisi-Kars Railway
22.09.2010 16:19
Azerbaijan, Baku, Sept. 22

An 8.5-kilometer railway bed and two bridges have been repaired along the Chkhardzma-Chinchkaro section of the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars Railway project, Azerbaijan Railways said today. A new bridge was also built in the same area.

The construction and repair works were carried out by Demiryolservis. Azerinshaatservis is engaged in constructing the railway in Georgia.

Construction work in Georgia is currently underway.

A new 105-kilometer branch railroad will be constructed as a part of the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars Railway. About 76 kilometers will traverse Turkey, with 29 kilometers passing through Georgia. Moreover, an Akhalkalaki-Tbilisi-Marabda railway section will be reconstructed in Georgia to increase transport capacity to 15 million tons of cargo a year.

Works on opening railway transport on the route of the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars will be completed in the first half of 2012, Azerbaijani Transport Minister Ziya Mammadov said earlier. He said despite the previously agreed terms of the project's implementation, the side are working to accelerate the process and complete most of the work before late 2011.

The corridor's peak capacity will be 17 million tons. Initially, the figure will be 1 million passengers and 6.5 million tons of cargo.
http://en.trend.az/capital/transport/1754550.html
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Old September 24th, 2010, 12:17 PM   #148
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Renewable energy brings change to mountainous regions
Thursday, September 23
A Mini hydro power plant has opened in the village of Chiora in the Racha region. With 70 kW capacities, it will produce about 400 thousand kWh energy a year, which will provide the village residents with a year-round energy supply.

Giorgi Khachidze, Minister of Environment Protection and Natural Resources of Georgia; Inita Paulovica, Deputy Head of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Georgia; and David Gagoshidze, Governor of Racha-Lechkhumi and Kvemo Svaneti, attended the opening of the mini hydropower plant on 22th of September.

The project in Chiora has been implemented by UNDP with USD 100 thousand in funding from the Government of Norway. In addition, UNDP will help to construct another hydropower plant near Telavi and to rehabilitate the Khani-2 hydropower plant in the Baghdati district. Both hydropower plants will be handed over to the local municipalities by 2011.

UNDP has been active in promoting the use of renewable energy resources in Georgia since 2004. With funds from the German Development Bank (KfW) and the Global Environmental Facility (GEF), UNDP encourages the development and use of small hydro and geothermal resources, as well as solar and biomass energy technologies (solar thermal panels, biogas digesters and high efficiency wood stoves).

UNDP implements model projects in the mountainous regions of the country to show the benefits of these initiatives and to attract local investors.

UNDP projects are implemented in co-operation with the Ministry of Environment Protection and Natural Resources, the Ministry of Energy and the Ministry of Finance of Georgia.
http://www.messenger.com.ge/issues/2...2199_undp.html



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‘Khrami - 2’ back to operation after 12 years
22 September 2010

First stage of Hydro Power Plant (HPP) Khrami - 2 reconstruction program has been completed and the HPP got back to operation on September 20, 2010.

HPP Khrami - 2, managed by Russian-based Inter-Rao UES is located in Dmanisi, South-East part of Georgia and is functioning from 1956. Inter-Rao took the unit under 25 years management right in 2003. The unit is of significant importance to sustainability of energy system of Eastern region of Georgia. Based on the direct agreement electric energy produced by the plant is bought by JSC Telasi, Tbilsi Electricity Distribution Company owned by Inter Rao UES.
Capital repair works have been developed on the HPP, two units of which are operating for the first time in combined regime since 1998. Italian modernized turbines have been installed. Spherical valves of HPP derivation pipeline have been equipped with air-oil pressure equipment which has no analogue in Georgia, Telasi spokesperson informed Georgian Journal. As a result, the exploitation of turbine generators has become completely secure. Khrami HPP operation is fully computerized by the implementation of Siemens modern electrical equipment systems. Installation of a new control board has significantly increased HPP operational quality.

Electricity indicators have improved after the completion of Khrami-2 HPP rehabilitation works. HPP’s two turbines generators with design installed capacity 110 megawatt/hour (Mgwt/h) increased to 120 Mgwt/h. Subsequently the HPP’s total annual generation will reach 370 million kilowatt/hour (kwt/h). “Khrami-1” and “Khrami-2” HPPs total generation is 650 million kw/h making one-third of annual electricity consumed by Tbilisi.
The rehabilitation of “Khramhesi 2” HPP started in 1996. The government of Japan allocated GEL 50 million to this end. The JSC Khrami 2 started the redevelopment of the program after giving in temporary ownership to energy holding Inter-Rao UES in 2006. The government allocated additional GEL 10.8 million. Due to the rehabilitation works the one turbine-generator of the HPP has been working with full load since 2008. Inter-Rao allocated additional GEL 5 million investments for the rehabilitation of another second generator.

The second stage of the rehabilitation of Khrami 2 will start next year in frames of the 5 year investment program, which consists of two stages: the rehabilitation of 220/110 kilowatt open distributing sub-station of the company and the capital refurbishment of the exterior and interior of the HPP. Inter-Rao plans to allocate additional GEL 5.5 million for the modernization of high voltage electricity distributive equipment.
http://georgianjournal.ge/index.php?...onomy&Itemid=6
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Old September 24th, 2010, 08:54 PM   #149
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UNDP and EU officials visit factory in Gori
Friday, September 24
Representatives of the Georgian government, European Union and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) visited a milk-processing plant in Gori on September 23. Head of the European Union Delegation to Georgia Ambassador Per Eklund, Head of UNDP in Georgia Jamie McGoldrick, Deputy Minister of Education and Science of Georgia Irina Kurdadze, Deputy Minister of Agriculture Malkhaz Akishbaia, and Shida Kartli Governor Zurab Arsoshvili met the mini plant personnel and the Gori University students.

First opened 4 month ago, the milk-processing plant produces a variety of quality dairy products while at the same time serving as a site for practical training for the vocational education students of the Gori University.

The plant is equipped with up-to-date technology to comply with international food safety standards. It can process up to 1,000 litres of milk a day ensuring quality control at all production stages.

Speaking in Gori, Deputy Minister Irina Kurdadze said: “Establishing small production at the vocational education centres is a successful model that can be replicated by the other professional colleges.”

The plant in Gori was established as part of the joint EU/UNDP initiative “Early Recovery Efforts in Georgia.”

“Provision of tangible results and specific solutions has been at the core of this project from its beginning. We are pleased that it has become possible to create new jobs and offer many people access to practical training. We consider this an important area of the European Union assistance to Georgia in post-war recovery,” Ambassador Per Eklund said.

Head of UNDP Jamie McGoldrick noted the progress achieved in vocational education thanks to the joint EU/UNDP programme.

“The University of Gori is now offering educational courses in 12 and retraining in 16 professions. All courses are tailored to the needs of the local labour market. It is the only educational institution in Georgia that provides theoretical as well as practical training in milk processing industry,” he said.

The joint EU/UNDP initiative is the response to the August 2008 war, which severely affected livelihoods in or close to the conflict areas. With Euro 4.4 million in EU funding, it is designed to provide more income generation opportunities and to encourage economic recovery and development in the regions of Shida Kartli, Samegrelo and Mtskheta-Mtianeti.
http://www.messenger.com.ge/issues/2...2200_undp.html
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Old September 27th, 2010, 08:18 PM   #150
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$15 million to be invested in Kutaisi FIZ
27.09.2010

Georgia, Tbilisi, Sept.27 / Trend, N. Kirtskhalia /
An additional $15 million will be invested in the Kutaisi Free Industrial Zone, government sources said on the day a memorandum with a company that plans to produce household appliances in the zone will be signed.

A textile factory, built by Egyptian investors, and a metallurgical plant, financed with Ukrainian-Indian-Georgian investment, will also be built in the Kutaisi FIZ.

In addition, from late September, Egypt's FRESH Electric Company will begin production of household appliances in the zone. Until now, its household appliances were assembled from imported parts.

FRESH entered the Georgian market in April 2009. It should initially should $1.2 billion in the Kutaisi FIZ.

Due to the additional investments in the Kutaisi FIZ, FRESH will finalize a memorandum today. The event will be attended by the Georgian Government's representatives.

The project envisages construction of 12 plants of different profiles.
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Kutaisi Industrial Zone signs memoranda with enterprises
27.09.10
Cooperation memoranda were signed Monday between the Kutaisi Industrial Zone and metallurgical and textile factories.
Georgian-Ukrainian-Indian enterprise is going to employ 150 people and make investment of Gel 10 million, while a Georgian-Egyptian textile factory is going to employ two thousand people and make investment of Gel 5 thousand for this purpose.
Georgian vice Premier Giorgi Baramidze attended the signing ceremony today. The guests also viewed the Georgian-Egyptian works of home appliances that has been working for one year. The enterprise used to set up devices with spares imported from abroad, but since now, it will be producing all the necessary details for its productions.
http://rustavi2.com/news/news_text.p...main&ct=0&wth=

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Old October 1st, 2010, 10:47 AM   #151
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France ready to increase investment in Georgia
Q and A with Gilbert Hie, President of FBC – Georgia


Georgia is the real gateway to entering the markets of the South Caucasus, says Gilbert Hie, President of the French Business Council - Georgia (FBC – Georgia). According to Hie, French investment represents two percent of Georgia’s total Foreign Direct Investment. Georgia Today spoke with Hie about French-Georgian business ties and FBC’s efforts to boost the still-modest level of French investment in Georgia.

Q: FBC – Georgia was launched in 2008, and your stated goal is to support the free market in Georgia and promote French-Georgian business relations. Could you say that these past years have been a success?

A: French Business Council – Georgia has grown to bring together 75 members to date, and after our summer holiday we have just received six new members. We are very happy about these past three years. FBC – Georgia has developed despite all the problems we encountered as a result of the 2008 August war and the financial crisis.

Q: FBC uses its links to promote business opportunities in Georgia. Your webpage posts announcements on bids, tenders, and vacancies available in Georgia, and you also profile French enterprises interested in the Georgian market. Which sectors of the Georgian market are most alluring for French investors?

A: A wide range of sectors are represented in the country: winemaking, tourism, real estate, agribusiness, pharmacy, the construction trade, banking, modeling and insurance. The promotion of trade and commercial partnership connecting entrepreneurs from both countries is our main task. Our membership is made up of representatives of French companies, or from Georgian companies with a French investor, French customer or selling a French product under franchise.

Unfortunately, we do not have many French investors in Georgia. There is Bank Republic-Societe Generale in the banking sector, in the wine industry we have Pernod Ricard Europe, which owns Georgian Wines and Spirits (GWS), and we have Castel in the beer sector. We also have many big French groups which are cooperating with Georgian companies like Areva in the energy sector, and Alstom Power in train industry etc. It’s a certain fact that many French companies, with their technology and professionalism have a real competitive edge in Georgia, which can help Georgia with infrastructure development, or in the aviation or energy fields. For instance, we are working very closely to modernize Georgia’s whole railway infrastructure, we are also cooperating with Sakaeronavigatsia (Georgian Air Navigation).

Q: How do the FBC members interact with each other. What is your role in connecting them?

A: We usually have gatherings almost every two months. This is a very popular and highly valued event, where our members are able to meet each other and exchange information. In addition, we plan to organize visit to France this year for a delegation of Georgian entrepreneurs. They will get the opportunity to meet with new potential partners and suppliers. A few events will be arranged with the help of the Georgian Ambassador in France, Mamuka Kudava, who is a good friend of the FBC. The Paris Chamber of Commerce and the Georgian Chamber of Commerce and Industry will co-organize the trip. Among other items on the agenda will be a visit to the MEDEF (Movement of the French Enterprises) in Paris.

Q: Will this be the first visit of its kind?

A: In 2007, in partnership with the Georgian Chamber of Commerce and Industry there was a trip made by Georgian businessmen to France. But that was long time ago now and we want to revive those contacts.

Q: Statistics show that in 2009, French investment in Georgia was close to nothing – just $ 250,000. This year’s prediction is comparatively better - $ 10 million. The FBC works hard to attract more French investors to Georgia. Do you see any progress?

A: Recently, Foreign Direct Investment from France to Georgia has been very low, only 2 percent of the total FDI, which we think is not enough. We have been working hard over all these years to boost the French interest and capital coming from France, but the difficult period has not allowed us to make any significant transactions. But we will continue working positively in the area.

Q: According to official statistics, Georgia’s exports to France in 2009 totaled approximately $6 million, up from around $ 5 million in 2003. However, the record high figure – approximately $40 million was reached in 2008. In your view, what are the key export opportunities for Georgian companies?

A: [there are] very few Georgian companies in France, and most of them are based in Paris. Georgia is exporting some of its minerals – copper and ore through French companies but the volumes are not substantial. FBC is working towards increasing exports through promoting contacts, transactions and volumes.

Q: You are a CEO of Bank Republic-Societe Generale Group, an organization which has ranks amongst the top five banks in the country. How would you describe the Georgian business climate?

A: It has definitely been a success! As a foreign investor I have never had any problem with the authorities or anyone for that matter. On the contrary – everyone has been very helpful. Bank Republic has a very solid position in Georgia now. It is the third largest bank on the Georgian market by assets and deposit portfolio; it owns 8.6 percent of the market share and 7.6 percent of the loan market.

Georgia is the most open country among all countries of the South Caucasus. It is really the gateway to the South Caucasian markets. We are happy to be here, and we will stay here because we are a long-term investor in this country.

Story by Maia Edilashvili
http://www.georgiatoday.ge/article_details.php?id=8308
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Old October 1st, 2010, 03:58 PM   #152
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USAID To Be Guarantee Of Loans Issued By Georgian "Bazisbank"

A cooperation agreement has been signed between the Georgian "Bazisbank" and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID).

The cooperation agreement has been signed between the Georgian "Bazisbank" and USAID, aimed at issuing credits to the development of small and medium business.

Prime-News was informed about it from "Bazisbank”.

USAID will provide 50 percent of guarantees amounting to US$ 6 million due to the loans, issued by "Bazisbank” for small and medium businesses.

The guarantee period is four years, 35 percent of it will be provided for projects, aimed at developing of agriculture.

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development is an owner of 15% of "Bazisbank” shares.
http://www.messenger.com.ge/issues/2..._in_brief.html
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Old October 3rd, 2010, 08:23 PM   #153
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Likani – a leader on the Georgian mineral water market

Interview with Zaza Kikvadze, General Director of IDS Borjomi - Georgia:

GT: Why do you think your new brand Likani has become such a success? What makes it different from other mineral waters?

Zaza Kikvadze: Likani is a new and successful project – it was specifically developed as part of a strategy for overcoming the difficulties caused by the Russian embargo.

When the company faced difficulties we set a number of strategic aims. One of the issues on the agenda was to enrich our portfolio by introducing a new brand onto the Georgian market - we worked on the brand for 9 months. The project started with the restoration of the 1,500-meter well the water is drawn from. This water is special as the water contains a unique combination of minerals and is naturally enriched with CO2 gas. So what the customers drink is ready-made by nature. We only obtain and bottle it.

“Likani” first appeared on the Georgian market in 2007 and became very successful in a short period of time. Several factors contributed towards its success. First of all, the unique composition of the mineral water, which is distinguished by its special taste and lightness; and secondly – we had a well calculated marketing strategy and communication with the public; and finally – the product’s attractive packaging, and certainly of course - God’s will.

Today I can boldly say that Likani is a leader on the Georgian market and a clear example of how a brand can become a leader and gain consumers’ trust.

GT: Summer is the season when sales of mineral water peak. What was last summer like for your company in this regard?

Zaza Kikvadze: This summer was truly very hot and this was reflected on the sales of the product. There was definitely a growth this year in the statistics with sales of “Likani” increasing by 50 percent.

GT: Likani is well-known for its charitable activities. Can you tell us a bit more about what your company is involved in?

Zaza Kikvadze: Our company is a market leader in charitable activities; specifically, one Tetri from every of Likani sold, goes to the All Georgia Patriarch’s Fund, which is spent on a number of important agricultural projects. This year around 250 thousand lari will be transferred to the Fund from sales of the product.

GT: Are you planning any changes in terms of Likani’s packaging and marketing?

Zaza Kikvadze: Likani’s packaging is so well designed and comfortable that we are not planning any changes in this regard at the moment. However, the company always strives (following the norms of business ethics, of course) to be one step ahead of its competitors. We are not changing the design, but we will offer customers a new advertising campaign, and at the end of next year we have a number of surprises planned.

GT: Undoubtedly, Likani has been a success on the Georgian market. What does the export market look like? As the product exported abroad, how does it sell in other countries?

Zaza Kikvadze: As you know, everything good is in limited quantities. This can be said for Likani as well. Currently we have the opportunity to completely satisfy the Georgian market. However, demand is growing so rapidly that we are refraining from exporting it and will leave Likani to Georgian consumers. Although the demand is growing, and there is export potential, we do not want to export the product then face the problem of not being able to meet the demands of the Georgia market the next day.

GT: Which specific demographic does Likani target? Who are your major consumers?

Zaza Kikvadze: The brand is a mass market product. It is affordable and therefore available to everyone, both relatively well-off people and low-income consumers. One of the components of our marketing strategy was to pre-determine a pricing policy - seeking to make high quality products available to everyone. I think it’s fair to say that this policy has worked.

So, despite the fact that prices of raw materials have risen on the world market (we buy bottle components abroad), we are not looking to raise the price of Likani.

GT: What are the company’s plans?

Zaza Kikvadze: The Company’s plans are quite ambitious. We hope to become leaders on the Eastern European market within the next 3 years. We feel this is quite realistic and we will definitely achieve that goal.
http://www.georgiatoday.ge/article_details.php?id=8309
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Old October 4th, 2010, 09:29 PM   #154
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GWS, optimistic about planned sales, hosts wine tour in Kakheti

Amid a wine harvest down against last year, Georgian Wines and Spirits (GWS), a French wine venture in Georgia, has predicted a 10 percent drop in this year’s production. However, company officials have stated that last year’s export figure - one million bottles of wine – will be maintained.

As a member of the French Business Council - Georgia (FBC), GWS hosted a wine tour for FBC associates last Saturday to show them its vineyards in Telavi, Kakheti region, to allow the visitors to get a feeling for the traditional Georgian wine harvest and to witness first hand grape-processing at the GWS Wine Factory.

“Our vineyards span across 250 hectares and are located across five different geographic zones in Telavi ensuring that each vineyard contributes a unique taste of our wines,” Ani Beriashvili, Director of Operations of GWS explained to Georgia Today.

This year, the company harvested around 1,200 tons of grapes, mostly of the Saperavi and Mtsvane varieties. The harvest was immediately sent to the company’s wine factory, which has the capacity to produce 12 million tons of the drink annually across eighteen different varieties.

Having nine-years of work experience at the GWS factory, Beka Gagunashvili, Chief Winemaker at GWS said that “by European standards, this is quite a big factory.”

According to company officials, approximately 97 percent of GWS’ wines go abroad. Among its 13 different export markets, the top three destinations include Belarus, Kazakhstan and Ukraine. On the international markets, the cost of GWS-branded wines range between $ 3 and $ 13.

“Since our main profits come from exports, [we] are permanently working to expand our export area,” Beriashvili told Georgia Today, adding that Germany, a new destination country has been added to the list recently.

When asked about the impact of the Russian embargo, which led GWS to lose its key market in 2006, Beriashvili said that the company witnessed about 70 percent drop in sales at the time. “The situation is moving towards recovery; however the loss has not yet been fully compensated for.”

Established in 1994, GWS is entirely owned by Pernod Ricard Europe, a member of the Pernod Ricard Group, one of the world’s top holding companies producing and distributing spirits on an international scale.

Ex-MP Levan Gachechiladze, former owner of GWS, sold his share to the Pernod Ricard Group in 2007, when Gachechiladze, together with his brother Gia (Utsnobi) launched an opposition movement against President Mikheil Saakashvili. Reportedly, the sum, which has not been named, went into financing the street rallies of the past few years.

The trip to Kakheti on September 25 ended with an open-air lunch with GWS wines. During the lunch, Gilbert Hie, the President of the FBC welcomed six new members and discussed the organizations plans, which include a business trip for FBC members to Paris which will be organized in November.

According to Teiko Kandelaki, of FBC, the event provided a good opportunity for members to interact with each other and exchange information on business opportunities in Georgia.
http://www.georgiatoday.ge/article_details.php?id=8312
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Old October 4th, 2010, 09:31 PM   #155
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GWS, optimistic about planned sales, hosts wine tour in Kakheti

Amid a wine harvest down against last year, Georgian Wines and Spirits (GWS), a French wine venture in Georgia, has predicted a 10 percent drop in this year’s production. However, company officials have stated that last year’s export figure - one million bottles of wine – will be maintained.

As a member of the French Business Council - Georgia (FBC), GWS hosted a wine tour for FBC associates last Saturday to show them its vineyards in Telavi, Kakheti region, to allow the visitors to get a feeling for the traditional Georgian wine harvest and to witness first hand grape-processing at the GWS Wine Factory.

“Our vineyards span across 250 hectares and are located across five different geographic zones in Telavi ensuring that each vineyard contributes a unique taste of our wines,” Ani Beriashvili, Director of Operations of GWS explained to Georgia Today.

This year, the company harvested around 1,200 tons of grapes, mostly of the Saperavi and Mtsvane varieties. The harvest was immediately sent to the company’s wine factory, which has the capacity to produce 12 million tons of the drink annually across eighteen different varieties.

Having nine-years of work experience at the GWS factory, Beka Gagunashvili, Chief Winemaker at GWS said that “by European standards, this is quite a big factory.”

According to company officials, approximately 97 percent of GWS’ wines go abroad. Among its 13 different export markets, the top three destinations include Belarus, Kazakhstan and Ukraine. On the international markets, the cost of GWS-branded wines range between $ 3 and $ 13.

“Since our main profits come from exports, [we] are permanently working to expand our export area,” Beriashvili told Georgia Today, adding that Germany, a new destination country has been added to the list recently.

When asked about the impact of the Russian embargo, which led GWS to lose its key market in 2006, Beriashvili said that the company witnessed about 70 percent drop in sales at the time. “The situation is moving towards recovery; however the loss has not yet been fully compensated for.”

Established in 1994, GWS is entirely owned by Pernod Ricard Europe, a member of the Pernod Ricard Group, one of the world’s top holding companies producing and distributing spirits on an international scale.

Ex-MP Levan Gachechiladze, former owner of GWS, sold his share to the Pernod Ricard Group in 2007, when Gachechiladze, together with his brother Gia (Utsnobi) launched an opposition movement against President Mikheil Saakashvili. Reportedly, the sum, which has not been named, went into financing the street rallies of the past few years.

The trip to Kakheti on September 25 ended with an open-air lunch with GWS wines. During the lunch, Gilbert Hie, the President of the FBC welcomed six new members and discussed the organizations plans, which include a business trip for FBC members to Paris which will be organized in November.

According to Teiko Kandelaki, of FBC, the event provided a good opportunity for members to interact with each other and exchange information on business opportunities in Georgia.
http://www.georgiatoday.ge/article_details.php?id=8312
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Old October 5th, 2010, 09:56 PM   #156
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Prime Minister met with Georgian businessmen in Bulgaria
05.10.10
Sofia hosted a Georgia-Bulgaria business forum on Monday, where the Prime Minister of Georgia Nika Gilauri headed Georgian delegation. Nika Gilauri spoke about the business environment in Georgia. He answered the questions of the Bulgarian business authorities.
After tending the official part of the forum, the sides signed the cooperation memorandum of Georgian and Bulgarian Chambers of Commerce.
Nika Gilauri also held a conversation with Georgian businessmen, who work in Bulgaria.
http://rustavi2.com/news/news_text.p...main&ct=0&wth=
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Old October 6th, 2010, 10:25 AM   #157
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Rada Ratifies Agreement On Creation Of Free Trade Zone With Georgia
05/10/2010
The FINANCIAL -- The parliament has ratified an agreement on creation of a free trade zone with Georgia.

The law on ratification of the agreement (No. 0173) was approved by 330 votes; only 226 votes were required for its approval.

The governments of Ukraine and Georgia signed the agreement on creation of the free trade zone in January 1995.

The ratification of the agreement and its introduction is expected to facilitate acceleration of the trade and economic relations between Ukraine and Georgia, creation of a fully-fledged free trade regime, and increase of the trade turnover between the two countries.

As Ukrainian News earlier reported, Ukraine and Georgia will hold a meeting of their intergovernmental commission on economic cooperation in Tbilisi (Georgia) in the period of September-October.
http://finchannel.com/Main_News/Geo/...With_Georgia_/
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Old October 7th, 2010, 07:38 PM   #158
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Juice plant ‘Geoconcentrate’ renovated
29 September 2010

A renovated juice plant ‘Geoconcentrate’ opened up in Gori on September 23, 2010. The plan was renovated in the frames of financial support of US-supported Millennium Challenge Georgia Fund (MCG) that disbursed USD 150 thousand grant to ‘Geoconcentrate’.

On September 23, MCG and its contractor implementing entity - CNFA-Georgia hosted the opening of a renovated juice plant - “Geoconcentrate” LLC in Gori (Shida Kartli) funded through MCG’s Agribusiness Development Activity (ADA). The event was attended by local government, US Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC), MCG and CNFA-Georgia representatives.
Geoconcentrate LLC, largely known as “Kula” at local market, is one of the large enterprises in Gori producing various sorts of fruit juices, traditional marinated vegetables, canned vegetable salads and various types of jams and fruit preserves. The products are on sale both at local and international markets (US, Germany, Israel, Poland, Ukraine, Czech Republic and other). Ivane Goglidze, owner of Kula, used the ADA grant funding of USD150 thousand and a matching his own investment of USD 225 thousand to expand an existing plant and purchase an automatic packaging system and capping and labeling system. This will ultimately reduce production costs and will improve overall situation of the end production on market. The newly re-equipped enterprise will create 45 new jobs and indirectly benefit additional 300 farmers.
Through MCG’s Agribusiness Development Activity, total of 286 grant agreements have already been signed for the development of primary production, small and medium enterprises and farm service centers, with total value of up to USD16.2 million. These projects are expected to lead to the creation of about 3600 new jobs in rural Georgia.
http://georgianjournal.ge/index.php?...onomy&Itemid=6
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Old October 10th, 2010, 09:03 AM   #159
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BG Capital: Current account deficit to keep widening
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In Q2, Georgia’s current account deficit widened 77 percent compared to the previous quarter reaching $ 319 million, up 12 percent on the same period in 2009. According to BG Capital, the investment banking arm of Bank of Georgia, this was a consequence of a widening merchandise trade deficit (25 percent q/q) and a weaker current transfer surplus (down 15 percent q/q).

The capital and financial account balance weakened 13 percent against last year at $ 86 million as a sizable capital outflow from the banking sector counterbalanced a rise in Foreign Direct Investment (up 157 percent q/q to $ 195 million). Overall, the country’s external financing gap stands at $ 233 million in 2Q, taking the 1H10 shortfall to $ 314 million.

“We expect the C/A balance to deteriorate in 2H10 on a seasonal increase in imports, but we see no risks to our projections for a 2010 C/A deficit of $ 1.2 billion (10.8 percent of 2010E GDP),” Giorgi Iremashvili, Equity Research Analyst at BG Capital explained on October 6. “On the financial account side, we expect that capital outflows from the banking sector will continue as banks choose to repay wholesale external funding against the backdrop of weaker demand for FX loans.”

According to Iremashvili, in the second half of the year, FDI is projected to pick up by 25 percent against $ 0.34 billion in the first half of 2010.
http://georgiatoday.ge/article_details.php?id=8331
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Old October 10th, 2010, 04:39 PM   #160
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USAID helps to open a service center for Shida Kartli farmers

A farmer in Breti village, Shida Kartli region, has been able to open a new machinery service center which will provide fee-based machinery services such as planting, plowing, and cultivation for local smallholders. The venture has been financially supported by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), which stands as a further sign of the U.S. government’s commitment to help the conflict-affected population of Shida Kartli.

Malkhaz Nakhutsrishvili, the owner of the Breti Machinery Service Center says that his new business is “vital” if he and other villagers are to increase their incomes. The idea behind the project is that a lack of relevant machinery can lead to crops sometimes being improperly cultivated or harvested late, leading to poor yields. The new service center is equipped with six tractors, two combines and 33 other agricultural implements.

According to USAID, Breti Machinery Service Center has created ten new jobs, while as many as 800 local farmers will benefit from the center’s services. In total, over 1,400 hectares of land in Kareli District will be cultivated with the help of the new machinery.

USAID has earmarked a $ 197,000 grant for the project, however the owner of the center also invested his own funds for the construction and equipping of the new service center. The opening of the center is a part of USAID’s Mechanization Project, which will run for 30 months with a total value of $5.1 million.

The U.S. Chargй d’Affaires, Kent Logsdon joined local farmers and Georgian officials to mark the opening of the service center on October 4. According to the U.S. Government, the conflict-hit population of Shida Kartli is a priority after the war of August 2008. To date, more than 40,000 households, representing nearly every farm and IDP family affected by the conflict, have received support to rebuild their businesses.

The Mechanization Project aims to fund the development of up to 30 privately-owned service centers throughout Georgia. The goal of the project is to increase access to farm machinery services for small farmers in the country. In total, the service centers are expected to create up to 250 new jobs, provide services to 14,000 small farmers, and increase agricultural revenues by $10 million.
http://georgiatoday.ge/article_details.php?id=8338
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