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Business Roundup

Prepared by Christina Tashkevich
Friday, March 7

EBRD boosts 2007 investments in less advanced economies

The EBRD mission reported it has significantly increased investments in small businesses operating in less advanced economies.

For the first time, investments in the EBRD’s poorer countries, the Early Transition Countries- Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, the Kyrgyz Republic, Moldova, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and Mongolia has increased. The bank’s commitment to these countries increased by 43 per cent to EUR 416 million in 2007 from EUR 290 million in 2006.

EBRD Vice President Finance Manfred Schepers said the global financial market turbulence that emerged in 2007 had a relatively limited effect on the EBRD region. But he added risks persist and stressed the need to pursue financial market and economic reform policies.

“The EBRD is equipped and more than ready to support this process, especially as the prevailing economic uncertainty could lead to some reluctance to invest on the part of international private sector banks and investors,” Schepers said.

The EBRD’s net profit was EUR 1.9 billion in 2007 compared with EUR 2.4 billion in 2006.

A further six farmers receive MCG grant

Millennium Challenge Georgia Fund signed grant agreements with six more farmers under its Agribusiness Development Activity.

The projects will be implemented in regions Samtskhe-Javakheti, Kakheti, Kvemo Kartli, Shida Kartli and Imereti. The total cost of the projects is USD 175 000 and the size of each grant varies from USD 20 000 to 30 000. The projects envisage production, processing and selling of high quality honey, cheese, meat and vegetables. Around 50 new jobs will be created by the six projects.

To date a total of 60 grants have been approved under the MCG’s Agribusiness Development Activity, with total cost of USD 2.2 million. The deadline for the submission of applications for the next competition is March 31.

Tbilisi tourism vocational college opens

The government-backed Tbilisi Vocational Training Center “Icarus” started its first semester of classes this year, accepting applications for a variety of professions ranging from hotel management to bartending.

Centre director Tamar Tabidze said the most popular course were hotel management and culinary arts. The school has recently organized a tour of its facilities for AmCham members and the Eurasia Foundation, which is one of the school’s sponsors. She noted that without the help of existing hotels, restaurants, cafes and bars, the students will not be able to receive the necessary on-site training required to help them improve their skills.

Ministry of Agriculture opens milk processing factory

Agriculture Minister Petre Tsiskarishvili opened a new milk collecting center in Lagodekhi on March 4. “These centers will help processing enterprises to produce cheap and good-quality products for consumers,” the minister said. The ministry plans to open more centers in Kakheti and Shida Kartli.