World Bank in Georgia: Twenty Years of Partnership
February 22, 2013
Today the World Bank Group is celebrating the 20th anniversary of its partnership with Georgia, a partnership that has been a major factor in improving the lives of Georgians in all walks of life.
Our main focus as the World Bank Group is to improve the lives of the people of Georgia. By working with the government and by working with other development partners we aim to support Georgia’s economy in a competitive world.
Since 1992, the World Bank Group, as a leading development partner, has provided concessional credits and loans to finance 55 projects in different sectors of the economy, totaling over $1.8 billion.
Over the past two decades this partnership has evolved with changing local and global contexts. In the early 1990s, following Georgia’s turbulent independence from the Soviet Union, this partnership was launched with a $10 million Institution Building Project designed to expand the government’s capacity to move Georgia to a market economy.
During the mid-nineties, the World Bank supported the government’s "first generation reforms" to remove the remaining market distortions and controls inherited from the central planning system. It also helped establish and maintain macroeconomic stability, foster growth, and improve financial discipline in the private and public sectors. In the following years, the World Bank concentrated its support on financing projects in areas such as municipal infrastructure, agriculture, judiciary, protected areas and cultural heritage.
From 2004, the focus of the World Bank's program was supporting the government in critical reform areas such as public sector management and social safety nets. The Bank also supported new investments in transport and energy infrastructure with the aim of enabling private sector growth and strengthening Georgia’s role as a transit corridor. The Bank continued financing the Roads Sector in Georgia, particularly, the essential rehabilitation of the East-West Highway and selected secondary and local roads, thus generating short-term employment in the regions, as well as building connectivity and strengthening the country’s competitiveness.
The World Bank fostered the development of Georgia’s human capital through investments in education, supporting curriculum reform, school financing, introducing a new transparent university examination system and rebuilding schools in priority regions. The Bank also helped to establish the International School of Economics of Tbilisi. Interventions in the Health sector helped modernize health care facilities, and above all, ensured the poor have access to affordable health insurance. The Bank also helped the Government achieve a major breakthrough – the introduction of a Targeted Social Assistance program.
In the aftermath of the 2008 conflict, the World Bank led the Joint Needs Assessment to identify the immediate need of Georgians. Along with the European Commission, the Bank organized the Donor Conference in Brussels, and tripled the amount of its lending in 2010-11 in order to respond to the country’s urgent recovery needs. Working closely with the Government and using rapid response procedures, housing for new internally displaced persons was completed by early December 2008, allowing many of them to move out of temporary facilities before the onset of winter.
The World Bank continues to provide budget support to Georgia backing critical reforms to strengthen the foundations for medium term competitiveness and growth while promoting social inclusion.
International Finance Corporation
In addition, the International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank Group, will continue to support the development of the private sector through the combination of its investment and advisory services. After large investments in the financial sector to respond to the global financial crisis, IFC is now focusing on areas where Georgia has a natural competitive advantage, such as renewable energy, agriculture, and infrastructure.
Analytical and Advisory Services
Looking twenty years back and comparing Georgia as it stands today, the World Bank is proud to be associated with many improvements the country achieved over the two decades. Working with the development partners and civil society, the World Bank will continue to support the country's development agenda by financing priority areas of the economy and offering high-quality and constructive advice to the government anchored in international good practice.