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Speeches & Transcripts

World Development Report 2016: How report’s findings are relevant to Georgia

April 8, 2016

Joseph Melitauri, Acting Head of the Georgia Country Office World Development Report 2016 presentation Tbilisi, Georgia

As Prepared for Delivery

Georgia is a country where the findings of the World Development Report 2016 may be particularly applicable and helpful in thinking about a long-term economic development strategy. Georgia has made a number of investments and undertaken critical reforms that have or will put in place many of the enablers to accelerate the development of the digital economy:

  • Georgia is recognized globally as a reformer on business climate, critical to enable competitive markets and private sector-led job creation
  • There have been significant investments in complementary infrastructures including transportation and energy
  • The country’s private sector has invested in improving coverage and access to telecommunications, which is essential to connect people and businesses with the Internet and all of its resources
  • Georgia has also been investing in improving skills among young people

These are some of the critical analog foundations and complements to the digital economy that the WDR 2016 discusses

Now, the Government is keen to build up its digital economy and spur greater levels of innovation, accelerating growth in the urban centers while including more of the rural economy in these opportunities. In that regard, the World Bank is proud to have partnered with the Government in the recently-approved World Bank project - the Georgia National Innovation Ecosystem or GENIE Project. This Project will support the implementation of the Government’s strategy to build a competitive and innovative economy that is ready for the future.

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" How can Georgia accelerate its transformation to becoming an innovation and knowledge-driven economy? What could be ways to maximize how Georgia realizes its digital dividends? It is a great opportunity today to think about this, and the World Bank is happy to continue engaging on this agenda. "

Joseph Melitauri

Acting Head of the Georgia Country Office


The development objective of the project is to increase innovative activities of firms and individuals and their participation in the digital economy. This will be achieved through investments in regional and community innovation centers, enabling wider adoption of Internet by households and small businesses, developing digital economy skills and capacity of businesses to be innovative, and improving access to finance for innovators. GENIE represents a new phase of the World Bank’s support to the Government, by promoting inclusive growth through an innovation driven and knowledge-based economy.

GENIE deepens the World Bank Group’s ongoing partnership with Georgia by complementing and leveraging ongoing infrastructure investments and policy reforms. The Project will benefit from the abovementioned improvements in regional infrastructure as it seeks to connect innovators and small businesses outside the main cities to global trade and knowledge networks. It complements strategic and institutional reforms to boost competitiveness, supported through the Development Policy Operation (DPO) program.

How can Georgia accelerate its transformation to becoming an innovation and knowledge-driven economy? What could be ways to maximize how Georgia realizes its digital dividends? It is a great opportunity today to think about this, and the World Bank is happy to continue engaging on this agenda.

I would like to thank the leadership of the ministries of finance, and of economy and sustainable development for their support and guidance throughout these engagements.

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