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President outlines plans for rapid economic growth for Georgia

By Salome Modebadze
Friday, May 13
President Mikheil Saakashvili unveiled the strategy for making Georgia the fastest growing economy in Europe at the Mercury 2011 Business Award ceremony on May 11. Explaining that 7 years is nothing from a historical perspective and that it takes time to see results, the President hoped that in 15-20 years Georgia would stand on the way to prosperity and wealth by following European policy, democracy and the liberal economy.

Praising the strategy for development and the new State Constitution balancing different Governmental branches the President spoke of losses but stressed that “the world economy hasn’t yet reached the ideal shape” thus the hard work would save us from world catastrophe. Confident in bringing the country into pre-August War conditions Saakashvili highlighted the importance of “new blood” and new faces in various government, business, culture or education sectors the President spoke of the “historical mission” of the “new movements” for the country’s development.

Talking of hydro energy, infrastructure, agriculture and tourism as the innovative spheres the President stressed that Georgia would become the centre of the region and create safe-sure conditions. Admitting to past mistakes Saakashvili suggested that the attraction of Russian, Turkish or Middle Asian capital could be advantageous and emphasized the importance of continuous dialogue with Georgian businessmen.

Welcoming the successful constructions throughout the country the President expressed concern about the unfinished activities of Tbilisi developing companies and encouraged the business sector to address the issue with Tbilisi City Hall. Introducing the audience with the ongoing and forthcoming projects Saakashvili highlighted that Georgian infrastructure would not only result in new jobs but become a pre-condition for entering the EU. “Next year we will spend USD 700-800 million only on construction of roads. Making their roads was the major achievement of joining EU for the Baltic and Eastern European states. Although we won’t yet be in the EU, there will be good roads in Georgia’s non-occupied parts and tens of thousands of people will gain employment,” he stated.

Talking of Tbilisi as an important centre for the whole of the Caucasus, Saakashvili suggested the establishment of new centers in western Georgia which would become deeply engaged with the Black Sea activities so popular throughout the world. Calling Batumi the economical centre and Kutaisi the parliamentary centre, the President spoke of the importance of sea areas for world development. Explaining the importance of “mobile Government” Saakashvili said the Ministers would annually move across the country and get more familiar with the regional problems and look towards development.

Praising the Minister of Economics and Sustainable Development Vera Kobalia for organizing the event the President thanked the whole Ministry for their innovative strategies for business development. There were different winners for 15 different nominations at the Mercury 2011 Business Award ceremony: the manager of the Silknet Company became Businessman of the Year, while Borjomi Mineral Water Company won the nomination Star Abroad; The Discovery of the Year was Barambo.

Greeting new faces in the business sector Saakashvili recollected how desperate the situation was after the Rose Revolution in 2003. “There are definitely companies which have changed lots of things in Georgian reality but they work in restricted areas. We have lots of things to do to catch up with the modern world because we still have a very poor country,” the President said suggesting promotion of newer fields. Wishing that the Georgian economical model would become as liberal as it is in Singapore Saakashvili meant that we should use our geographical location in the most positive way through political stability and people’s consent.