The Minister of Economy and Sustainable Development of Georgia Natia Turnava held a meeting with the Minister of State Transport and Communications of Qatar, Jassim Seif Ahmed al-Sulaiti in Doha. At the meeting, the Qatari side expressed interest in finding a more diversified transport route across the Silk Road, including to European countries. “Georgia is part of the Silk Road and Qatar is eager to take an active part in this process,” Turnava explained.
Qatar, Georgia explore ways to enhance economic and investment co-operation
By Natalia Kochiashvili
Wednesday, March 4
According to the Minister of Economy, the Georgian side has offered various concrete ways of joining our corridor. Turnava says that Qatari gov’t is interested in both the use of land routes through Georgia, as well as the use of our port infrastructure and the provision of some cargo to the Black Sea. As she noted, their interests include participation and development of logistics services.
She emphasized that as of today, some Qatari cargoes are moving in our corridor, but “we want to make these cargoes more systematic and bring Qataris to various infrastructure projects.” The minister assessed the dialogue as positive, noting that it will be followed by the arrival of private companies and the offer of specific projects.
Another topic discussed during the meeting with the minister of transport of Qatar was the intensification of air traffic, in particular the implementation of Doha-Batumi direct flights seasonally. At the moment, Qatar Airlines operates 14 flights a week to Doha-Tbilisi.
As part of the visit, the Georgian delegation also met with Qatari Minister of Commerce and Industry Ali Bin Ahmed Al Kuwari, as well as Sheikh Faisal Bin Qassim Al Thani, chairman of the Qatari Business Association, and local business representatives.
According to Turnava, some in Qatar have already launched a project in Georgia, but the potential for bilateral cooperation is much greater. The minister says that investors see potential in the construction sector, the hotel industry and other sectors. She stated that attracting investments from the Gulf countries is strategically important for Georgia. In addition, she noted, that they have a strong interest in participating in the development of Georgia's Black Sea Port-Terminal infrastructure.
During the meeting with Qatari Businessmen Association, the minister presented an overview of Georgia, where she pointed out that Georgia enjoys a stable political environment, in addition to the state’s endeavor to create an attractive investment climate for foreign investors, as according to the World Bank’s report, Georgia ranks seventh out of 190 countries in the indicator of “ease of doing business” and the Georgian economy is flexible and transparent as it is considered one of the least corrupt countries in the Black Sea region, according to the Transparency International report for the year 2018. The minister also added that the country has reduced several taxes to occupy the 3rd rank according to the World Bank in the index related to low tax systems, in addition to the free trade agreements signed by Georgia with 46 different countries to reach a large market of consumers.
The minister also talked about the sectors that the state is interested in attracting more investors, highlighting the hospitality and tourism sectors, where the country has a lot of historical and tourism elements that make it an important center for foreign tourists and resulted in hosting about 3.4 million visitors in 2019. Turnava added that the real estate and contracting sectors as well as the retail sector, contribute to the growth of tourism. She indicated a project for a huge commercial shopping center located in the heart of the capital, offered for investment by the private sector, where the state is privatizing some public facilities such as touristic and medical resorts and wellness & health centers.
Sheikh Faisal talked about his experience when he visited Georgia and its natural and economic features in terms of its geographical proximity and picturesque nature, which makes it an ideal place for tourism and real estate investment. He also mentioned the significant agricultural sector, where the State of Qatar can benefit as the country is currently concerned with food security and achieving self-sufficiency in products and food industries- major area for cooperation between both countries.
The Georgian delegation will also meet with Qatar State Minister of Energy, Qatar Petroleum CEO, as well as Qatar Mining CEO.
The delegation also includes Deputy Minister of Economy and Sustainable Development Genadi Arveladze and Director of Produce in Georgia Mikheil Khidureli.