The FINANCIAL — The Board of Directors of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) has adopted a new country strategy for Georgia, which reinforces the Bank’s commitment to support the country’s economy and sets out the priorities for its activities over the next four years.
The new strategy reflects the country’s priorities that have recently been set by the Georgian government. The strategy has been prepared with the full engagement of stakeholders, such as the government, the private sector, international financial institutions and the donor community and has received strong endorsement from the Bank’s shareholders, particularly from the European Union, according to EBRD.
The strategy sets out the following priorities:
The EBRD will continue to support private sector competitiveness through innovation, enhanced value added and convergence with Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area (DCFTA) standards and obligations. The EBRD will continue supporting SMEs and the local private sector via the well-developed local banking sector with a focus on high-potential areas such as agriculture, hospitality and innovation where we plan to deploy support in workforce training skills focused on regional inclusion, youth and gender.
In the financial sector the EBRD’s priority will be to deepen financial intermediation and develop local currency and capital markets to enable the private sector to have better access to finance.
Another priority for the Bank will be to expand markets through inter-regional connectivity, expanding Georgia’s potential as a regional link through further modernisation of the country’s infrastructure. The EBRD will explore the financing investments under private-public partnership frameworks that will enable Georgia to take advantage of its geographic position between the South Caucasus, Central Asia and Europe.
In addition, the new strategy includes enhanced focus on renewable energy, resource efficiency and climate change adaptation to improve competitiveness and resilience of the economy. The Bank will continue supporting the creation of renewable generation capacity in hydropower, wind and possibly solar, as well as building transmission lines to connect with regional markets. A special Energy Efficiency Action Plan will be developed to tackle excessive energy consumption.
Since the beginning of its operations in Georgia the EBRD has committed up to €3 billion in some 200 projects in the financial, corporate, infrastructure and energy sectors. Ninety-one per cent of the Bank’s investments are in the private sector. Forty per cent of the Bank’s existing portfolio is in energy, followed by the financial sector with 27 per cent, while industry and commerce account for 26 per cent and infrastructure 7 per cent.