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Mamuka Bakhtadze:”Our Historic Roots and Future are European”

“Georgia is a gateway for the 8 land-locked countries in a very important region, which will be a driving force of economic growth of the entire Eurasian continent in the coming years” noted Mamuka Bakhtadze, Prime Minister of Georgia at the Eurasia in a New Global Context panel discussion held within the scope of World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos.

Head of Government of Georgia stressed the potential of Georgia in turning into a regional hub of business, transport and logistics.

“I am deeply convinced that economic prospects of the region are indeed very bright. If we look at the map, Georgia is a natural candidate for a regional hub in business, transport and logistics. Therefore, we invest heavily in the infrastructure. We regard ourselves as a bridge connecting Europe to Asia. Our historic roots are European and future is also European. At the same time, Georgia is at the crossroads of civilizations. We thus regard ourselves as a bridge” added the Prime Minister of Georgia.

According to the Head of Government of Georgia, country strives to facilitate increased trade volumes between Asia and Europe, China and EU. At the same time, Georgia is the only country in the region, which has Free Trade Agreements (FTA) with both.

“I see a great synergy here. We regard ourselves as a bridge, which connects two large economic platforms with each other. We are a gateway for 8 land-locked countries and with new logistics routes we will be able to unlock the great economic value that exists in these countries” noted the Prime Minister of Georgia.

Head of Government of Georgia also focused on the strategic partnership with USA and noted that relations are all-times high. According to the Prime Minister of Georgia, US-Georgia cooperation continues to deepen in the areas of security, economy and business.

“Georgia is committed to join NATO and EU as a fully-fledged member. Though, at the same time, as a panel participant has mentioned, Central Asia has a huge untapped potential. Solution to the main obstacle here is to upgrade the transport and logistics to integrate into the global economy. We are building a deep-see port in Georgia to help these countries in trading with the rest of the world, in reducing their logistics costs and in boosting their competitiveness” added the Prime Minister of Georgia.

Head of Government of Georgia also responded to the question posed on the European and Euro-Atlantic aspirations by saying that Europe is a civilization choice of the Georgian people.

“Unfortunately, 20 per cent of our country is still occupied by Russia and it is taking aggressive steps against Georgia. Our response to this most painful challenge is the consolidation of our democracy, rapid economic growth and sustainable development. Our roots are essentially European. Hence, our conscious is also European. For instance, you asked a question on NATO. Accession of Georgia to NATO is within the interests of the region itself. Why? Because the region will thus become foreseeable and sustainable. Our region requires stability. All the economic preconditions of success exist in the region. Reforms implemented in Georgia have confirmed that we can transform the country into a modern European state with rule of law. All the achievements have been evidenced by international rankings. At the same time, even in turbulent times Georgia demonstrated that it can deliver and ensure stability, security and foreseeability. One may have an excellent tax regime, but issues of stability and foreseeability will demotivate investors. In my opinion, aspirations towards EU and NATO membership serve to the interests of the entire region, as it will help the region in the utilization of the great economic value, which we referred to so many times today” added the Prime Minister of Georgia.

Head of Government of Georgia also paid attention to the significance of economic potential of the region and development of human capital.

“We are launching a new education sector reform in Georgia, which is ultimately aimed at the transformation of the system to make it dominant in our economy. It should account for at least 10-11 percent of our Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and it should be our ultimate result and role model for other countries. We have significant achievements in Doing Business Index, according to which we are ranked 6th. I hope that as a result of our reforms we will achieve similar success in the Human Capital Index. Let me once again note that our region has a tremendous economic potential. We should use it with shared effort to incorporate this economic value into the global economy to solidify the economic growth sustainability of the region. I am confident that our region has all the pre-requisites to become the main driving force of economic growth of the Eurasian continent” concluded the Prime Minister of Georgia.

Eurasia in a New Global Context – panel discussion was held within the World Economic Forum in Davos today and along with the Prime Minister of Georgia, President of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and Federal Minister of Foreign Affairs of Austria were among the panelists.