Bruno Balvanera of EBRD: “Georgia: Leader of Europe’s second wave”
Tuesday, October 17Georgia is heading in the right direction thanks to its growing economy and increasing political stability believes the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) Director for the Caucasus, Moldova and Belarus, Bruno Balvanera.
In his interview with Emerging Europe, Balvanera repeated the EBRD President’s, Suma Chakrabarti’s words that Georgia is leading the second wave of countries moving into the western economy.
…if the first wave comprised the nations of Central Europe, like Poland, the Czech Republic and Slovakia, countries which are all now well advanced, then the second wave is those who are trying right now to insert themselves into the market economy. And Georgia is clearly a country that is ahead of the rest,” said Balvanera.
The EBRD official said that the commitment, the vision and the strategy of the government, and the fact that the government is elected democratically in a transparent way are the main reasons that are driving Georgia’s leadership, that make Georgia stand out.
Georgia is a country under construction. Whatever ministry you visit you will see that they are creating the foundations of the future, and the changes are dramatic. It’s such an overwhelming agenda of change that you end up feeling a little bit worried that they may have too many things on their plate,” Balvanera said.
He highlighted that Georgia has historically been closely linked to Europe, "and you can see that in the people. Georgia is clear about its orientation: European and North Atlantic. The country has very strong ties with Europe, very strong ties with the US and clearly has a vision of its future lying very much in that direction”.
As for challenges, Balvanera said that developing skills within government, but also in business is one of the challenges the county is facing. Also, as a small country for Georgia it is difficult to attract a large investor, said Balvanera.
The third challenge is government. Its agenda is overwhelming, and obviously, it needs to continue improving the investment climate. But more important is governance, and I think that public services need to be transformed to be more user-friendly. Georgia could take this opportunity to become much more high tech, like Estonia or the other Baltic countries, where you can do everything on your computer or your iPad, or phone,” he added.
As for economic growth, Balvanera believes that 2017 is going to be a good year for Georgia and the next year is going to be even better.
And when I say a good year, that means growth of above 4 percent. That kind of growth is felt by the population: one which is so eager to see improvement after so many years of sacrifice,” Balvanera said.