Georgia’s economy is gaining momentum, thanks to favorable domestic conditions, strong external demand, and landmark achievements including the country's association agreement with the EU in mid-2014 and the coming into effect of the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area.
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Georgia’s economic story over the past decade appears to be one of stark contradictions. The country has achieved strong economic growth and vastly improved ease of doing business, yet high levels of ... Show More +unemployment persist, per capita income has not recovered to 1990 levels, and socio-economic vulnerabilities remain.Yet, thanks to a history of trade liberalization, openness to foreign investment, and commitment to structural reform, Georgia is well placed to capitalize now on new opportunities. One such opportunity is offered by the Association Agreement and Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area signed with the European Union, which provide market access and a strong incentive to keep up reform momentum. But leveraging this, and others, will call for renewed reform efforts. In particular, measures will need to focus on firm productivity, labor mobility, logistics and supply chain management, and export survival and diversification.International evidence suggests that structural reforms need time to take hold before labor market outcomes can improve, and that a highly targeted focus is needed on supporting productivity growth, especially in younger and more innovative firms that tend to lead on net job creation.The report attempts to inform the policy discussion in this context, mainly by focusing on export competitiveness and jobs.The World Bank’s latest Country Economic Memorandum for Georgia explores the potential for improved export competitiveness, the link with employment growth and suggests policy options going forward.Read the full report: Georgia: Seizing the Opportunity to Prosper Show Less -
10 young film crews from 10 different countries around the world were chosen as winners in the Action4Climate competition. As a prize winner in the 14-17 age category, Zura received production equipme... Show More +nt, including a GoPro and an iPad Mini, which can help him to hone his skills and talents – and hopefully inspire him to create more interesting climate change stories.The Action4Climate competition challenged filmmakers to raise awareness of climate change, share experiences and inspire action by creating a video documentary. The response was overwhelming. More than 230 videos from 70 countries were submitted, bringing to life the serious consequences of climate change across the world and highlighting the actions taken by local communities to tackle it.---------------------------------------------------Connect4Climate (C4C) is a campaign, a coalition and a community dedicated to stimulating local actions that will catalyze larger, international, multifaceted movements to deal with global warming and its impact on the planet. It works with more than 200 partner organizations around the world and is funded by the World Bank Group and the Italian Ministry of the Environment. Show Less -
Public procurement is at the core of how government conducts its business. As such, reforming procurement systems can prove transformational for development in any country.In Georgia, the introduction... Show More + of e-procurement through the Georgian electronic Government Procurement (Ge-GP) system is a good example of how strong political will and commitment can be critical in the context of reforming public procurement. Within a year, the State Procurement Agency of Georgia (SPA) designed, developed, and tested the e-procurement system and eventually moved to the mandatory use of e-procurement, fully replacing paper-based tenders. The e-procurement system, which is broadly consistent with good public procurement practices, has increased competition among suppliers. In addition, by bringing processes online, it has made the procurement system more transparent, less bureaucratic, and less discriminative. As a result, the system has significantly minimized corruption risks and brought substantial savings to the government and Georgia's citizens. The reform of e-procurement is clearly one of the most effective and efficient reforms undertaken in the last decade in Georgia. It has also been well received by procuring entities and the private sector alike. The remarkable achievements of SPA have been explicitly acknowledged by different international organizations including the OECD, the United Nations and Transparency International, the latter ranking Georgia as the best country among the 19 countries of Eastern Europe and Central Asia in its 2014 Corruption Perceptions Index. This success comes as a result of a longstanding partnership between the World Bank and the government of Georgia. In 2012, the World Bank started an assessment of the Georgian e-procurement system in order to explore the possibility of using the same system for World Bank-financed projects. The assessment identified improvements and modifications required to make the e-procurement system meet the World Bank’s requirements for the procurement of civil works and goods.SPA undertook these modifications and, after almost two years of extensive internal work and close cooperation with the government and the private sector, the World Bank started using Georgia’s e-procurement system for the procurement of civil works with an estimated contract price below US$ 10 million, as well as for the procurement of goods below an estimated contract price of US$ 1 million. As of today, two major project implementation units have published 14 tenders with a total estimated value of more than US$ 22 million for the rehabilitation of roads, buildings, sewage systems, and similar.In this context, there have been some major modifications of the e-procurement system:E-Reverse Auction is not applicable;Estimated contract price is disclosed. However, bidders can price their bids below or above such estimations;Bids are disclosed in the system only if bidders agree. It should be noted that no single case has been reported where bidders refused to disclose their bids.To support the sustainability of these changes, the World Bank has also conducted a number of training sessions and workshops for a wide-range of participants on these subject areas. So, what are the demonstrated benefits of using an e-procurement system?Environmentally friendly procurement - reduced paper-based procurement (bidders are no longer required to submit printed originals and copies of bids).Transparency - citizens across the world, completely free of charge, can observe the tendering process in real time and obtain essential information regarding bids (an example from Georgia).Four times reduced fee for participation – Procurement conducted in a conventional way requires paying a non-refundable fee for obtaining bidding documents in the amount of $100-150, while Ge-GP system bidders obtain bidding documents free of charge and pay a nominal fee of $30 for their participation.Simplified and accelerated review process by the World Bank – No need to obtain actual bids for review; the World Bank’s procurement specialist is granted special access to download bids through the system.Remote participation – Bidders (even if several hundred kilometers away from the capital) can submit bids remotely from their offices, thereby substantially reducing the time and cost associated with transportation.Substantially reduced risk of collusion among bidders – A bidder’s identity remains confidential and is only disclosed after the bid opening.By using the Ge-GP system, Georgia is fully in line with the Bank’s ongoing procurement policy reform, which advocates using country systems to the extent possible, and also with e-Procurement under the Bank’s projects, which is fully aligned with the Open Contracting Partnership, a group that aims to create a global movement advocating for disclosure of information across the contracting cycle (including disclosure of contracts) and across all sectors, and that promotes greater citizen participation around contracting.Ultimately, the e-procurement system in Georgia has clear, measurable benefits, and is contributing in a significant way to the long-term development of the country. 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TourismBlessed with a rich cultural heritage and an abundance of natural beauty, Georgia has attracted an increasing number of tourists in recent years. Conservation efforts, infrastructure developmen... Show More +t, urban rehabilitation and cultural heritage restoration have all played their part in helping to boost tourism and grow the economy. But, there is potential to achieve much more.As such, tourism development is one of the country’s top priorities. Giorgi Kvirikashvili, Minister of Economy and Sustainable Development, points out that the tourism sector requires close inter-agency coordination, including with private and non-governmental bodies. “Taking into consideration all the above-mentioned factors,” Kvirikashvili says, “elaboration of the tourism strategy will clearly identify the challenges existing in the sector and define the main directions that will become the basis for development of this important sector in the country”.The World Bank Group works closely with the government through its Country Partnership Strategy with Georgia, and regards the development of the tourism sector, related business opportunities and private investments as priorities for the country’s economic development.“The joint World Bank and IFC collaboration focuses on fostering entrepreneurship and access to finance, improving the investment climate and developing Georgia’s tourism strategy that will determine how to improve the sector’s performance, align implementation priorities and enable job growth,” Henry Kerali says.Ahmed Eiweida, Program Leader for Sustainable Development in the South Caucasus, said in a recent interview that “Tourism and travel is one of the fastest growing sectors of the economy in Georgia and a key generator of jobs, accounting for 14.2 percent of total direct and indirect employment in 2013 and 6-7 percent of GDP. The sector currently provides nearly 20 percent of export earnings. The national tourism development strategy is, therefore, an instrument to develop further the sector in order to take full advantages of Georgia’s potentials and position it globally as a rich, diversified and high quality destination.”A process to elaborate the national tourism strategy took place at a workshop in Tbilisi on 3 December, 2014, following extensive consultations with a variety of stakeholders. Participants at the workshop shared their experiences and discussed the proposed Vision 2025 for the tourism sector. Public consultations will take place in the coming months and both the national education and tourism strategies, together with their respective action plans, will be finalized in spring 2015 for approval by the government. Show Less -