Asian Development Bank (ADB) President Mr. Takehiko Nakao met with President of Georgia Mr. Giorgi Margvelashvili and Minister of Finance and ADB Governor Mr. Mamuka Bakhtadze (nominated as candidate for next Prime Minister on 14 June), during a 3-day visit to the country.
He also met with Minister of Regional Development and Infrastructure Ms. Maya Tskitishvili, Minister of Education and Science Mr. Mikheil Chkhenkeli, and Governor of the National Bank of Georgia Mr. Koba Gvenetadze.
Mr. Nakao commended Georgia’s impressive economic progress over the last decade, noting the government’s sound management of the economy amid regional economic pressures. The country has become an important gateway between European and Asian markets. Georgia’s economic growth has accelerated to 5.0% in 2017 from the 2.8% recorded in 2016.
Since Georgia became an ADB member country in 2007, ADB has supported both infrastructure and institutional development. ADB’s new Country Partnership Strategy with Georgia, which will cover operations from 2019–2023, is in full alignment with the country’s priorities.
During his visit, Mr. Nakao announced that ADB plans to mobilize over $1.2 billion in financing during 2019–2021, including support for two flagship projects of the government: the development of the East-West and the North-South transport and economic corridors. These projects are critical for Georgia as it pursues a goal of becoming a regional hub through increased connectivity and trade, opening the land-locked markets of Armenia and Azerbaijan, and extending the Central Asia Regional Economic Cooperation corridors to the Black Sea and Europe.
“Going forward, Georgia will benefit from development of regional infrastructure links and diversification of its exports. In addition, ADB will continue to support transformative energy as well as urban transport and water projects, while helping the government to implement reforms in such areas as pensions, capital markets, and private sector promotion. It will strengthen nonsovereign operations. It will also expand assistance to education, including technical and vocational education and training and using solar energy in schools,” said Mr. Nakao.
Mr. Nakao visited ADB-assisted projects during his stay. He joined Tbilisi City Mayor Mr. Kakha Kaladze to visit the University Metro station that has improved mobility for over 300,000 passengers a day. ADB provided $34 million in financing to refurbish the station. ADB will promote livable cities across Georgia through infrastructure investments, technologies, and institutional capacity building.
Mr. Nakao also met with representatives of TBC Bank, which has received ADB loans through nonsovereign operations. Partnering with local banks and microfinance institutions, ADB has supported more than 14,000 micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) in agribusiness, retail, small manufacturing, and tourism in 2014–2016. ADB will continue to support MSMEs through sovereign and nonsovereign operations.
Since 2007, Georgia has received over $2.4 billion in development assistance. ADB’s operations and staff in Georgia have doubled in the last two years and continue to grow to bring better services and infrastructure to the people of Georgia.
ADB, based in Manila, is dedicated to reducing poverty in Asia and the Pacific through inclusive economic growth, environmentally sustainable growth, and regional integration. Established in 1966, it is owned by 67 members—48 from the region. In 2017, ADB operations totaled $32.2 billion, including $11.9 billion in cofinancing.