The FINANCIAL — Executive Directors of World Bank’s have approved EUR 35.7 million to support Georgia’s digital transformation. 1,000 villages will receive better internet connectivity. The Log-in Georgia Project aims to promote the use of broadband-enabled digital services across rural Georgia; also to boost the use of digitally-enabled services through training and capacity-building programmes across the country. About 500 000 locals living in the rural areas and highly elevated settlements will have speedy internet.
The Log-in Georgia Project aims to connect people, enterprises and institutions across rural Georgia to high-quality, affordable broadband internet and promote the use of digital services, the World Bank has announced. By increasing the coverage of high-speed broadband internet services in rural settlements, the project will help boost the use of digitally enabled services through training and capacity building programmes across the country. It will promote digital financial services and e-commerce, as well as online e-government services, as also help promote remote e-learning and telemedicine. The Log-in Georgia Project will be implemented by the non-entrepreneurial, non-commercial legal entity Open Net over a five-year period, with the support of the Communications Commission under the oversight of the Economy Ministry, as reported agenda.ge
World Bank regional director for the South Caucasus Sebastian Molineus said that The World Bank supports Georgia’s goal of harnessing digital technologies to increase its economic competitiveness and thus provide better jobs and opportunities for all its people. He thinks that the project will help Georgia overcome economic dualism, ensuring that people and enterprises in rural areas have the same access to opportunity as their urban counterparts and it will do so by investing in increased digital connectivity across Georgia’s regions and promoting digital services. This will help accelerate Georgia’s economic development, further cement its position as an innovation hub and investment attractive country, and ensure a resilient recovery in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, – he added.
Molineus also briefly presented the project to us. The project essentially has 3 components: first one being supporting the building of the affordable broadband internet. This means focusing on the digital infrastructure, building the middle-mile connectivity and encouraging internet service providers, private internet service providers to provide their services at an affordable rate to the people and important policy and regulatory component. The second component has to do with the use cases. Molineus said that he thinks this is important in terms of the current COVID-19 crisis. The ability to provide remote and e-learning opportunities to all people in Georgia and other use cases such as digital financial services that will play role moving forward are very important. Third and last component will be providing implementation support to the Open Net initiative, making sure that there is strong monitoring valuation training and capacity-building, as Molineus said, according to Georgian Public Broadcasting.
Georgian Economy Minister Natia Turnava stated that the support of our international partners and donor organisations, including the World Bank, in the implementation of the ongoing reforms and programmes in various sectors of the economy is crucial. She also added that The World Bank’s support to the Government of Georgia in the context of the crisis and particularly in the measures taken to mitigate the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, is especially outstanding. Georgian Finance Minister Ivane Matchavariani also commented and said that the government continues its successful cooperation with the World Bank in bringing shared prosperity to citizens and businesses across Georgia and the project approved today is aimed at narrowing the gap between urban and rural populations in terms of availability of economic and social opportunities, through improving countrywide digital infrastructure and extending access to the internet to all regions of Georgia.
Recently, The World Bank has published a new Enterprise Surveys. Over 164,000 of companies from 144 countries were involved in these surveys and Georgia was in the top 10 countries in terms of low bribery prevalence. In Georgia, the percent of firms that said they would expect to have to give a ‘gift’ in order to receive an operating license amounted to zero. The percent of firms that said they would expect to give ‘gifts’ during meetings amounted to 1 per cent and the percent of firms expecting to have to give gifts in order to secure government contracts amounted to 1.4 per cent. Read more.