Giorgi Gakharia Participated in the World Economic Forum in Davos, January 21-24 Print Version

2020-01-22

Georgian Prime Minister has participated in the World Economic Forum in Davos. The working visit of the Head of Government to the Swiss Confederation took place on January 21-24.

Bilateral top-level meetings were held with head of state and government and leaders of international financial institutions, including the Presidents of Lithuania, Latvia, Azerbaijan, and Armenia, the Prime Ministers of Estonia, Croatia, Slovenia, and Bulgaria, the First Vice President of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), and the Secretary General of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).

The meetings with European partners discussed both Georgia's European aspirations and the problem of occupation with ongoing developments along the occupation line. As it was pointed out, Georgia must and will become a full member of the EU, though it does have its homework to do first. Special emphasis was placed on the upcoming 2020 Eastern Partnership Summit in Brussels, where Georgia will present its concrete vision of subsequent integration into the EU. Western partners commended Georgia's democratization progress and emphasized that they are keeping a close watch on the election process. The high-level meetings singled out the context of security, especially in the Black Sea Region, and Georgia's role in the development of Europe's security concept and architecture.

The economic part of the working visit of the Georgian Prime Minister will reserved for meetings with the leaders of international financial institutions and leading global companies like Siemens Energy, Camille Bloch, Coca-Cola, OneWeb, Citi Group, ACCIONA, ENEL, and others.

Transnational financial corporations praised Georgia's current financial situation and the country's financial sustainability. Representatives of the world's largest companies pointed out Georgia's favorable investment environment. During the meetings, decisions were made on implementing concrete investment projects in Georgia. In particular, world-known Swiss chocolate producer Camille Bloch will cultivate hazelnut plantations in Georgia to be used in Ragusa branded products. To that end, Camille Bloch found a land of 651 hectares in Lagodekhi Municipality.
In addition, ACCIONA, being one of the global leaders in the area of renewable energy, is considering the development opportunity of wind and solar energy stations in Georgia. To achieve that, ACCIONA will continue negotiations with the Government of Georgia on the possible construction of wind stations with an installed capacity of 200 megawatts.

ENEL Corp. being a multinational energy corporation and a global leader will be sending a team of specialists to study investment opportunities in Georgia. Decision was announced by Francesco Starace, CEO of ENEL Corp. at a meeting with Giorgi Gakharia, Prime Minister of Georgia. American Coca-Cola is interested in extending its production in the region and continues to invest in Georgia. As the Vice President of Coca-Cola stated during his meeting with the Prime Minister of Georgia, investment climate in Georgia is the key motivator for creation of additional production lines and extension of business. One of the largest British companies in the segment of global connectivity-OneWeb-is interested in building specialized satellite net service stations in Georgia to cover the entire region. It was noted at a meeting of Adrián Steckel, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of OneWeb with Giorgi Gakharia, Prime Minister of Georgia.

The Head of Government, within the scope of the World Economic Forum in Davos, participated in a Panel Discussion: New Vision for Europe and Asia - Partnership for Sustainable Development. Participants of the event included Ilham Aliyev, President of the Republic of Azerbaijan; Sir Suma Chakrabarti, President of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD); Khaltmaagiin Battulga, President of Mongolia; Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Turkey and others. Meeting participants shared vision with each other on the development prospects of relations between Europe and Asia. Prime Minister of Georgia stressed the significant role of Georgia in the economic, political and cultural connection of two continents during the discussion, favorable environment existing in Georgia, its geo-strategic location thus enabling bridging of large economic players and creating greater welfare for the citizens of Georgia and region at large.

Within the scope of the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, the Prime Minister of Georgia participated in a Panel Discussion on New Ambitions for Europe, together with Prime Minister of Finland, Vice President of the European Commission and businessmen, including the Chairman of the Board of Directors of Volvo Group.

Giorgi Gakharia spoke about Georgia's European and Euro-Atlantic aspirations, and challenges rising from the occupation of the country's territories.

"In the past 5 years we have had real and very tangible results: Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area (DCFTA), Free Trade Agreement with EU and visa-free travel within Europe. Though, challenges are faced in security and economy.

When we talk about economy and think about getting all these achievements to citizens of the country so that our population benefit from all of it, we face problems in terms of connectivity. It is our top priority. Georgia is a gateway for Europe and Central Asia. When we talk about economic policy, we think of Georgia as a platform for the flow of goods between big economies. We fully understand and acknowledge that investments in the economy of Georgia are translated into the security of our country. When we talk about security, we see problems in the Black Sea.

Not only Georgia, but NATO also deems the Black Sea Security as a top priority. It is a new dimension for us. We perceive Georgia as a partner of the western world.

In this particular case, when we talk about future relations between Europe and Georgia, of course we understand that we can play a very important role in terms of security.

By security we mean cooperation in the Black Sea region. After the Crimea, we understand how important the Black Sea Security is. On the other hand, when we talk about economy, we need more cooperation with the EU and greater focus should be made on the connectivity.

When a strong legal framework exists in the country, e.g. DCFTA, but no land border with the EU, it creates real problems and it is a challenge that needs to be solved.

It is our aim in the coming years and we will achieve it by an increased connectivity through the Black Sea.

We fully understand that no means exist for real political discussions in terms of a membership or deepened relations, however we stand ready to do our homework. We believe that it is a chance for our country to get closer to the EU. Membership of Georgia in the EU and NATO is a guarantee for the security of our country. Also, we see the prospects of cooperation with Europe. Of course, we will do our best to keep Georgia as a discussion topic when you - our friends - talk about the future of Europe

We are in a region full of challenges and when you look at the neighborhood on the map you will see this yourself.

Occupation of our country is a pending concern. You all remember it well that 20% of our country is occupied by Russia. It is a challenge faced by our citizens every day. It is known to all that Government of Georgia is committed only to the peaceful resolution of the conflict. It is a commitment given to our friends. When we talk about our performance in the current situation, intensified strategic partnership with our friends-USA and EU-is the only way to survive in the region full of challenges," Giorgi Gakharia stated.

Giorgi Gakharia, Prime Minister of Georgia also attended a pitch by Georgian start-uppers in Davos. Vault Wines, being a Georgian start-up, pitched a smart contract technology for authentic wines and winery assets within the scope of the World Economic Forum (WEF). Company is a winner of the Crypto Valley Venture Capital (CV VC) incubator, being the next generation Venture Investment Fund in Switzerland.

Smart contract technology of Vault Wines, which envisages a Blockchain-based management of authentic wines and winery assets has been funded with 125 000 USD. It has been accelerating the product during 10 weeks under the mentorship of over 70 prominent experts. As a result, project has been advanced and international connections have been made. Georgian start-up already has Swiss and Austrian vendors, providing it with genuine holograms and QR Codes.

Prime Minister of Georgia congratulated success to the Georgian youth and stressed the paramount significance of the entrepreneurial spirit and innovative ideas in the development of the country.

The Head of Government also attended a reception hosted on behalf of Founder and Executive Chairman of the International Economic Forum Klaus Schwab and his spouse, Hilde Schwab.

Led by Giorgi Gakharia, the Georgian delegation includes Finance Minister Ivane Machavariani, the Prime Minister's Foreign Affairs Adviser Irakli Chikovani, and Economic Adviser Beka Liluashvili.


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