The World Bank Board approved the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) Additional Financing (AF) in the amount of US$9 million to Georgia for the Second Regional Development Project.
The AF will support the scaling up of the activities consistent with the existing Project development objective of RDP II: to improve infrastructure services and institutional capacity to support increased contribution of tourism in the local economy of the Imereti Region. RDP II was initially approved in November 2012 with the International Development Association (IDA) loan in the amount of US$30.
The Project includes two components focusing on the infrastructure investments in urban regeneration of Tskaltubo and tourism circuit development, and the institutional development.
This AF, in particular, will support scaling up existing activities for the completion and rehabilitation of selected municipal and tourism infrastructure of cultural heritage sites in the Imereti Region that would ensure the sustainability of key investments delivered so far under the Project.
It will also support a new construction of the wastewater treatment plan and the reconstruction of the Vani Museum to address the financing gap resulting from currency depreciation, and a number of cost overruns caused by additional investments needed for additional work related to cultural heritage sites supported under the original project.
“The main beneficiaries of the ongoing project are the residents in Imereti, who will have access to improved public infrastructure in renovated cultural heritage sites and cities,” said Mercy Tembon, World Bank Regional Director for the South Caucasus. “The goal is to attract private investments, promote public-private partnerships, revitalize local business activity, and develop regional tourism circuits. We do hope that these improvements will bring better quality of life to the people of the region.”
“The project aims to promote the local economy in the region by carrying out an integrated approach to developing tourism, focusing on infrastructure, urban renewal, cultural heritage restoration, developing skills and making the environment attractive to private sector investments,” said Rosanna Nitti, Task Team Leader for the Regional Development Projects. “Overall, the project is expected to support better integration of the Imereti region in the broader Georgian and regional tourism context.”
The AF will also extend the project duration for 18 months, allowing sufficient time to complete all works, but also and most importantly, providing the necessary time to local government bodies and other government agencies involved in the project to further strengthen the necessary asset management systems and ensure the sustainability of key investments delivered under the Project.
All the additional activities under the existing Project are expected to bring direct benefits to the residents of Imereti and the tourists visiting the region. The Project is expected to generate employment, both temporary jobs during construction and permanent quality jobs following the project completion.
World Bank commitments to Georgia since 1992 total approximately US$ 2.58 billion.