Caucasus Business Week #222

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January 22, 2018 #222

January 22, 2018, Issue 222 -

Digital Behind the Rise of Digital Space in Georgia

Pg. 9

Interview Koba Gvenetadze Announces 2018 As A Year Of Financial Education Pg. 6

PR Person Paata Lagvilava: Technology cannot replace creativity

Pg. 8

To Catch up and Surpass Belarus

Do Bitcoin Mining Costs Influence Electricity Prices?

According to International Monetary Fund (IMF), Georgia’s GDP per capita will exceed 4.123 USD in 2017. As a result, for the first time in the 21st century, Georgia will move to the first place in the South Caucasus Region and surpass Azerbaijan, after Armenia. According to IMF estimations, in 2017 Armenia’s GDP per capita will rise to 3 690 USD, in Azerbaijan the figure will rise to 4 098 USD. Moreover, like 2016, in 2017 GDP per capita in Georgia will be higher than in Ukraine ( 2 459 USD) and Moldova ( 2 240 USD). According to the IMF forecasts, Georgia’s GDP per capita will rise to 4 529 USD in 2018 and this is a historical maximum in independent Georgia. In the former Soviet Union, the motto for catching up and surpassing the USA was very popular, while today objective of the economic development of Georgia is to draw the level with the averaged living condition of Europe. However, before, first of all, eastern European countries are much more ahead, including the Baltic Countries and Belarus.

Pg. 4

The Natakhtari Fund


As the Natakhtari Fund 6th wave of fundraising came to an end, a fantastic GEL 43,972 was raised for teenagers lacking care. Natakhari company Director, Nikoloz Khundzakishvili, and Our Home Association – Georgia psychological work/help leader Manana Omarashvili announced the future pans of the fund, their care systems from the previous years, the results of the campaign and ongoing processes and future plans. The Natakhtari Fund 6th wave, for Project ‘Take Care of the Future’, kicked off on November 8 and ended on December 8. During this time, each bottle of Natakhtari lemonade sold counted towards the final GEL 43,972 raised. “We will continue to help teenagers in small families in 2018,” said Omarashvili. “There will be 120-150 beneficiaries. We will also work with 30 small family houses, 15 elder teenagers and homes, and with those teenagers who have left the state care system.” Pg. 4


2 Government

Country presentation at Euromoney Forum in Austria

Within his visit, Bakhtadze met representatives of different financial institutions with whom he again spoke about Georgia’s already implemented and upcoming reforms.

Gov’t launches and subsidises young people employment program

The total budget of the program is 700,000 GEL. The state’s participation in the program will last only four months, after which the company will have to pay the entire salary to the employee during the next six months.


NDI: Unemployment Shrinks in Georgia

Namely, 40% of the respondents consider themselves to be employees, while 60% consider themselves as unemployed. According to the June 2017 report, 62% of the respondents described themselves as unemployed.

The World Bank has Increased Georgia’s Economic Growth Forecast

The World Bank predicts 4.2% economic growth of the current year in Georgia and – 4,7% in the following year. Compared to previous forecasts, the World Bank increased Georgia’s economic growth by 0.2%.


Bank of Georgia has Received a New Credit Line From EBRD

Bank of Georgia has attracted a new credit line from EBRD. It’s 135 million GEL credit line, which is valid for 5 years. According to de-dolarizarion in the Georgian economy, which will benefit local businesses.

Commercial Banks Lower Deposits Interest Rate

TBC Bank and Bank of Georgia with 75% ratio on the market have reduced the annual interest rate to 9.4%. Liberty Bank cut the rate to 9% on Patriot deposit, while annual interest rate for term deposit is 11.5%.


Export has Increased by 29% in 2017

Foreign trade turnover totaled 707.2 million USD by 2017 in Georgia by 2017, that is 13.8 percent more than the corresponding period of the previous year. Export amounted 2 728.0 million USD, and import- 7979.2 million USD (9.4 % more).

Cargo Turnover Drops at Georgian Seaports

In 2017 Georgian seaports handled 16.2 million tons of cargo, down 24% as compared to 2014 (21.3 million tons). Meanwhile, cargo turnover rose by 13% at Russian seaports, by 7% in Romania, 6-6% in Turkey and Bulgaria.


Georgian Airways Served 308 275 Passengers in 2017

Georgian Airways carried 308 275 passengers, reads company’s annual report. It also states that the company started direct flights from Tbilisi to London and Prague, as well as Batumi in 2017.

January 22, 2018 #222

Anaklia City is the Largest Kazakh Economic Zone Partner


epresentatives of the Deepwater Port, Anaklia and Economic Zone project are holding meetings with representatives of ports, transportation sectors and various companies in Kazakhstan. In the framework of the visit, Anaklia City has signed a memorandum of cooperation with the economic zone of Khorgos, which includes the world’s largest dry ports. The Khorgos Economic Zone is located on the border between China and Kazakhstan on several thousand hectares. It is considered as an

important knot on the silk road and a strategic point to connect China and Europe markets. The Anaklia project representatives visited the economic zone and the dry port terminal in Khorgos, got acquainted with the local experience, discussed the future cooperation and presented the projects of the deepwater port, Anaklia and special economic zone. The memorandum of mutual cooperation between the two economic zones includes issues such as promotion, projects support and implementation of joint projects. Khorgos is already the second

largest economic zone Anaklia City started cooperation with, after partnership with South Korea Incheon. Visit of Anaklia Deepwater Port, city and economic zone in Kazakhstan will last until January 18. Implementation of Anaklia Deepwater Port Project started in 2016, and I phase construction works started in December, 2017. The first deep water ports of Georgia will be built on the 340 hectare area near Anaklia. It is planned to build an Anaklia and special economic zone, which is being developed by Anaklia City.

Why Government Keeps Pension System Reform’s RIA Classified


y order of Governing 4 Growth (G4G), project by US Agency for International Development (USAID), ISET has conducted a regulatory impact assessment (RIA) for pensions system reformation. The mentioned information was confirmed by G4G and ISET. In response to the question, why the mentioned document is not divulged, G4G representatives noted that RIA has been prepared for an internal use of only Ministry of Economy. Why is not the pension reform RIA divulged? – BM.GE applied

with this question to Ministry of Economy too. “This document is for an internal use of Ministry of Economy and its cannot be considered as a valuable document. This is an early report, like many other reports prepared in the process of development of this reform package”, Vakhtang Tsintadze, head of Analytics and Reforms Department of Ministry of Economy, said. We remind you that starting the second half of 2018, partly mandatory Defined Contribution Pension System will be introduced in Georgia. Citizens

above 40 years old will be able to choose whether to continue the program or not, while citizens under 40 years old will be obliged to participate in the scheme. The pension scheme is based on the following formula between an employer, employee and the state: 2% + 2% +2%. This signifies the employer will save 6% of the employee’s monthly salary. The bill on Defined Contribution Pension System was forwarded by Government to the Parliament at the end of 2007. The bill will be supposedly discussed at spring session.

Energy Community Secretariat Assists to Foster Gas Market Reform in Georgia


he Energy Community Secretariat, under the EU4Energy Governance Project, launched another technical assistance project in Tbilisi, Georgia, to contribute to opening of the gas market, attract investments and provide for an increased security of gas supply in Georgia. A draft natural gas distribution network code will cover and elaborate the terms and conditions for operation, management and functioning of natural gas distribution networks in Georgia, and in particular the rules on fair and non-discriminatory third-party access and connec-


The Editorial Board Follows Press Freedom Principles Publisher: LLC Caucasian Business Week - CBW Address: Aleksidze Street 1 Director: Levan Beglarishvili Sales: Mob: +995 591 01 39 36 WWW.CBW.GE Email:

tion to natural gas distribution systems. The Network Code will be developed between January and March 2018 in cooperation with the main beneficiary – the Georgian National Energy and Water Supply Regulatory Commission (GNERC). The establishment of a compliant legal and regulatory framework for operation and functioning of the natural gas market (in line with provisions of the Third Energy Package) is part of the natural gas market reform carried out by Georgia pursuant to its commitments under the Energy Community Treaty.

The EU4Energy Initiative covers all EU support to improve energy supply, security and connectivity, as well as to promote energy efficiency and the use of renewables in the Eastern Partner countries Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine. It does this by financing projects and programmes that help to reform energy markets and to reduce national energy dependence and consumption. Over the longer term, this makes energy supply more reliable, transparent and affordable, thus reducing energy poverty and energy bills for both citizens and the private sector.

Editor: Nutsa Galumashvili. Mobile phone: 595 380382 Reporters: Nina Gomarteli; Mariam Kopaliani; Merab Janiashvili Technical Assistant: Giorgi Kheladze;


January 22, 2018 #222





To Catch up and Surpass Belarus

The Natakhtari Fund

Merab Janiashvili Economic Analyst

When talking about power management, it mainly implies a proper tariff policy that determines the behavior of the consumer. Namely, when electricity tariffs differ in the daytime and at night, some activities may be carried out at night to cut expenditures, as electricity tariff is comparatively lower at night.


ccording to International Monetary Fund (IMF), Georgia’s GDP per capita will exceed 4.123 USD in 2017. As a result, for the first time in the 21st century, Georgia will move to the first place in the South Caucasus Region and surpass Azerbaijan, after Armenia. According to IMF estimations, in 2017 Armenia’s GDP per capita will rise to 3 690 USD, in Azerbaijan the figure will rise to 4 098 USD. Moreover, like 2016, in 2017 GDP per capita in Georgia will be higher than in Ukraine ( 2 459 USD) and Moldova ( 2 240 USD). According to the IMF forecasts, Georgia’s GDP per capita will rise to 4 529 USD in 2018 and this is a historical maximum in independent Georgia. In the former Soviet Union, the motto for catching up and surpassing the USA was very popular, while today objective of the economic development of Georgia is to draw the level with the averaged living condition of Europe. However, before, first of all, eastern European countries are much more ahead, including the Baltic Countries and Belarus. They have managed to build richer economies after the Soviet Union collapse. Today Georgia comes back of many Posit-Soviet countries in terms of living conditions. Georgia comes behind of Armenia, Moldova, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Azerbaijan and Ukraine. According to the IMF program for the next 4 years, by 2022 Georgia’s GDP per capita will rise to 6 259 USD and surpass two so-called developing countries of Europe – Albania (6 206 USD) and Bosnia Herzegovina (5 833 USD). At the same time, Georgia will get closer to Belarus with 12% difference (6 986 USD) and Macedonia with a 17.7% difference (7 369.5 USD). Calculation of GDP per capita is one of the methods for estimation of economic development and wealth of a country. However, the so-called PPP method is considered to be a more accurate indicator. For estimating economies, experts use the Purchase Power Parity method, which unifies prices of goods and services in all countries and enables to better appraise monetary potential of countries. According to the IMF indicators, Georgia’s GDP per capita calculated under the PPP methodology makes up about 10 644 USD,


Natakhtari Fund Closes 6th Wave with almost GEL 44,000 On December 14, the Natakhtari Fund hosted a press conference to summarize the 6th wave project ‘Take Care of Future.’ During the press conference, where Nikoloz Khundzakishbili, Corporate Director of Natakhtari Company, and Manana Omarashvili, Psychological Supervisor of the ‘Our Home - Georgia’ Association, celebrated the fact that GEL 43,972 had been raised. The 6th wave of raising money for the Natakhtari Fund began on November 8 and ended on December 8 seeing money made for the Fund from each bottle of Natakhtari lemonade purchased. During the conference, the representatives of the Natakhtari Fund also spoke about their earlier achievements, such as their ‘take care’ systems for young adults/children in several Georgian regions. In Gori, Akhaltsikhe, Telavi, Rustavi, Kutaisi, Ozurgeti, Batumi and Zugdidi regions, the ‘Coalition for Children and Youth’ and ‘Natakhtari Fund’ presented a joint program for locals.

According to IMF Forecast, by 2022 Georgia will Go Richer of Albania and Bosnia and Catch up Belarus


As the Natakhtari Fund 6th wave of fundraising came to an end, a fantastic GEL 43,972 was raised for teenagers lacking care. Natakhari company Director, Nikoloz Khundzakishvili, and Our Home Association – Georgia psychological work/help leader Manana Omarashvili announced the future pans of the fund, their care systems from the previous years, the results of the campaign and ongoing processes and future plans. The Natakhtari Fund 6th wave, for Project ‘Take Care of the Future’, kicked off on November 8 and ended on December 8. During this time, each bottle of Natakhtari lemonade sold counted towards the final GEL 43,972 raised. “We will continue to help teenagers in small families in 2018,” said Omarashvili. “There will be 120-150 beneficiaries. We will also work with 30 small family houses, 15 elder teenagers and homes, and with those teenagers who have left the state care system.” “The amount raised will be used to help children with a lack of care and to prepare for an independent and worthy future,” Khundzikashvili added. “For this, we’ve been doing a legal campaign to support these children, trying to make a synergy between the private and business sector, engaging local self-governance. With this, we can make the care system stronger.” A system of support programs and presentations for youngsters ran in eight regions of Georgia from November 9 to November 18. Gori, Akhaltsikhe, Telavi, Rustavi, Kutaisi, Ozurgeti, Batumi and Zugdidi held meetings “Coalition for kids and teenagers” and Natakhtari Fund prepared and presented a mutual project with local people, self-governing organizations, NGOs, media and business representatives.

January 22, 2018 #222

while the figure accounts for 4 1243 USD without the mentioned parity. According to IMF indicators, Lithuania is the richest Post-Soviet country in 2017 with 31 935 USD GDP per capita (under PPP). Georgia is poorer three times compared to Lithuania and Georgia’s GDP per capita under is 10 644 USD, due to PPP. In terms of wealth Georgia surpasses only six Post-Soviet countries: Ukraine, Armenia, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. Tajikistan is the poorest country in the Post-Soviet space with 3 131 USD per capita. It should be noted that in terms of economic growth that was recorded in Georgia in 20132016, that is 3.4% on average, Georgia will need more than 30 years to come up with the present wealth level of Lithuania. The Global Finance has introduced the list of the world’s richest countries. The edition has calculated a country wealth due to averaged annual income per capita and PPP. Georgia ranks 108th in the rating with 10 099 USD income, Azerbaijan ranks 71th, Turkey is 63rd, Russia is 52th and Armenia is 114th. The list of the world’s richest countries is as follows: 1. Qatar – 129 512 USD due to PPP; 2. Luxembourg – 100 991 USD; 3. Macao – 87 845 USD; 4. Singapore – 86 854 USD; 5. Brunei – 77 662 USD; 6. Kuwait – 70 587 USD 7. Ireland – 69 374 USD 8. Norway – 69 031 USD 9. United Arab Emirates – 67 947 USD; 10. San-Marino – 64 465 USD; It should be noted that Georgia has surpassed Azerbaijan in terms of GDP per capita and the country is expected to run ahead of Bosnia and Albania is 4 years. However, if we group countries in terms of currency purchasing power (PPP), we will see that Georgia stays far away from the living condition of Belarus and Azerbaijan. According to the IMF information, in 2017 in Belarus PPP per capita made up 18 616 USD and in Azerbaijan - 17 433 USD, while the figure makes up 10 644 USD in Georgia. These indicators prove that Azerbaijan runs ahead of Georgia and with the current economic growth paces, Georgia will remain behind Azerbaijan for many other years.

“Gurieli” was born in a very heavy competition with multinational brands, it is impossible to achieve success in greenhouse conditions and constantly have a hope of the state is not correct. There are many new brands emerging, packaging is improving and marketing support is activated. This is good, but it is still not enough. Our success formula is now in the export markets, we need to be activated there”.

Mikheil Chkuaseli Geoplant Director

January 22, 2018 #222





January 22, 2018 #222

Koba Gvenetadze Announces 2018 As A Year Of Financial Education

The governor of the National Bank of Georgia, Koba Gvenetadze has announced 2018 to be “a year of financial education” and discussed plans that will be implemented together with financially literate society, who will no longer be afraid of exchange rate volatility. The governor also reviewed the major challenges of 2017, in particular the high inflation and dollarization. Koba Gvenetadze stated that the challenges will be overcome by the NBG’s strategic policy, which is oriented on longterm economic growth, rather than short-term effects. -What were the key challenges of 2017, how were they neutralized and how has the regulator contributed to this process? - Let’s start with the fact that we live in a rapidly developing and changing economic environment. Hence, to mitigate the negative impact from shocks, we have to constantly overcome the difficulties. From the challenges of last year I would first of all highlight the high level of inflation. Influenced by oneoff factors (such as the increase in the excise tax and the growth of oil prices on international markets), inflation exceeded the target throughout the year; however, once we exclude these factors, inflation during the year fluctuated around 4% which was the target rate of the NBG in 2017. The NBG’s monetary policy should not be oriented on neutralizing shortterm, one-off factors affecting inflation, as such actions will harm longterm economic growth. Thus, in an inflation targeting regime, temporary deviations from the target in short-term period are admissible, provided stable inflation environment will be maintained in the medium term. Communication is of crucial importance for the inflation targeting regime. Namely, efficient operation of this regime requires the NBG to clearly explain the reasons behind the deviation from the target, as well as the how inflation will return to the target level. In this respect the NBG has further strengthened communication through various sources, such as press-releases of monetary policy committee meetings, monetary policy reports, news conferences, etc. In the reports mentioned above the NBG stressed that the increase in inflation was due to one-off price increases that will have only a temporary effect on the inflation and starting in 2018 the inflation will decline. Moreover, in order to curb inflation expectations, the NBG has raised monetary policy rate several times throughout the year. In November, annual inflation stood at 6.9%. However, as I have already noted above, along with the exhaustion of the temporary factors, we expect the inflation level to gradually decline in 2018. In 2017, high dollarization has remained a major challenge to the economy. Over the past years the National Bank of Georgia has already been promoting dedollarization process, however, in 2017, the NBG was particularly active in this regard. Namely, the NBG in coordination with the government of Georgia, developed a 10-point larization plan, that included the clauses on increased accessibility of long-term GEL resources, adequate sharing of FX risks and mandatory GEL pricing. Some of the points have already took effect, while we continue to actively work of others. We have numerously said that larization is a long-term process and we should not expect a significant changes in the short-term. However, some positive trends have already been observed in terms of decrease in dollarization throughout the year. For example, loan dollarization in the banking sector has declined from 65% in 2016 to 55% by the end of 2017. In the same period individual loans dollarization decreased by 13 percentage points to 45%. There is a certain progress in terms of deposit dollarization, which has declined to 65% from 71% over 2017. Communication is important for any central bank, however, as I have noted above, it is even more crucial for inflation targeting regime as under the latter inflation expectation is one of the most important factors determining inflation. Thus the objective of the NBG is to shape inflation expectations. Over the past years we have taken a number of steps in this direction, gradually increasing public awareness on the objectives of the NBG at the same time supporting the efficient management of inflation expectations. To that end, we have revised the structure of NBG publications and renewed the monetary part of the website. On a quarterly basis, after monetary policy committee meetings, we hold press-conferences and meeting with analysts, followed by the publishing of monetary policy reports. This year we started organizing the committee meetings in different regions of Georgia. During our visits we hold direct dialogues with the representatives of local businesses, discussing the reasons behind the committee decisions and analyzing expected results. Along with monetary policy reports, we publish a short video, where the governor of NBG overviews key issues and forecasts given in the report. NBG will continue to expand its communication with the public in 2018 too. An important event taking place in 2017 was the renewal of the IMF program. We have agreed on a new program of Extended Fund Facility. The aforementioned program will assist the country in reducing economic vulnerability and promote economic growth through coordinated policy. The agreement on the IMF program is a signal to investors that Georgia’s macroeconomic policy is on track and as a result, the investors will show greater interest in our country. IMF has positively assessed NBG’s performance under the inflation targeting regime, especially the monetary policy response to the 2014-2015 external shocks. This has contributed considerably to the new agreement with IMF. In 2017 international credit rating agency Moody’s has raised Georgia’s sovereign credit rating from Ba3 to Ba2. NBG’s monetary policy response to the external shocks has again played a positive role, as Georgian economy has become more competitive. Moreover, Georgia’s economic growth forecasts are higher compared to other countries of the region. Positive economic outlook is the key factor that has increased Georgia’s

credit rating and this has happened for the first time over the past 6 years. -Did commercial banks contribute to the sector stability and what threats have been minimized by the improved supervisory mechanisms? -In terms of banking supervision, the amendment that introduced the classification of assets determining Payment to Income (PTI) and Loan to Value (LTV) ratios is of crucial importance. The amendment has limited the commercial banks’ ability to issue unsecured retail loans through introducing additional capital requirement thus protecting citizens from excessive indebtedness. Changes related to supervisory capital are also very important. Namely the minimal supervisory capital requirement were raised for the operating commercial banks and those seeking banking licenses. In addition, capital requirements were updated according to the Basel standards. In particular additional capital buffers that comply with the Basel requirements have been introduced, including conservation, counter-cyclical and systemic buffers. Systemic commercial banks were identified and specific deadlines were set for them to introduce the buffers. Significant decisions have been made in relation to transparency, according to which commercial banks must publish quarterly and annual reports on capital adequacy, risks management, renumeration of the top management and corporate management issues. From the point of view of adjusting to the international standards, the introduction of liquidity coverage ratio (LCR) was another significant step that has enabled more efficient identification, appraisal, monitoring and control of liquidity risks. -What are your plans for further protection of consumer rights? -NBG is implementing important projects for protection of consumer rights. As you may be aware, last year, a number of amendments were made to the legislation (limits for expenditures on loans were determined, money attraction from population was restricted, coverage area of regulations for protection of financial market consumers rights was expanded). However, to protect consumer rights, we continue working on further harmonization of the current legislation with the European standards. It should be noted that on 23rd of December the Parliament of Georgia adopted a package of amendments in relation to the financial sector by third hearing. At this stage, the NBG’ regulates a significant part of the financial market, but not the whole. Once the aforementioned amendments are implemented the NBG acquires a full mandate to regulate all entrepreneurial bodies issuing loans with the aim to protect consumer rights, promote sound competition and establish responsible lending practices. However, it should be also noted that a certain time is required to implement all the aforementioned projects. At the same time, together with other stakeholders we are working on the development of regulatory framework for credit-information bureaus in order to promote financial stability, ensure information safety and continuous operation of credit-information bureaus to protect consumer rights. This is of vital importance for maintaining financial stability and protecting physical bodies from excessive indebtedness. This initiative will boost competition on crediting market, reduce fragmentation and asymmetry of information, lower credit risks and, promote the development of a responsible credit system. Over the past years, the share of microfinance organizations in the financial system has considerably increased and today this share is equal to 6%. On the one hand, with increased competition on a market the lending procedures have been eased, while on the other hand tendencies of attraction of the finances from the population have become of note. Thus, significant steps were taken for tightening the regulatory framework for microfinance organizations. To briefly sum up the initiated bill, microfinance organizations, which operate with their own capital, will not be subject to tight supervision, except for the cases when consumer rights are violated, so the pricing is as transparent and adequate as possible. At the same time those microfinance organizations, which attract money resources from population, will be subject to stricter supervision - new standards of supervision and reporting will be introduced for those MFOs, setting the capital adequacy and minimal level of liquidity requirements. This year we started an inspection of financial organizations in terms of compliance with the legislation for consumer rights. These inspections will be

intensified in 2018. Several microfinance organizations were fined for detected violations in 2017, however it should be noted that our inspections are not focused on imposing sanctions, but rather used to ensure that microfinance organizations meet consumer rights protection standards. If the detected violations openly show that microfinance organizations have tried to deliberately ignore the legislation, we will not tolerate such actions, but if laws are violated as a result of misinterpretation of legislation, in this case, main accent will be made on eradicating and correcting violations. There were cases, when incorrectly charged money was returned to the consumer. As noted, many legislative amendments were adopted over the last years. However, to protect consumer rights, it is not sufficient to oblige the regulated organizations to respect the legislation. It is necessary to consult the regulated organizations and explain the legislation. We think publishing explanatory documentation, direct meetings and trainings will be one of our key priorities in 2018. Our objective is to minimize consumer rights violation cases, which may be the result of ignorance of law or misinterpretation of legislation. -You have noted that the year of 2018 is the year of financial education. How do you greet the New Year in this respect? -Consumer rights protection and financial education are priority directions for the National Bank of Georgia. In order to raise public awareness in terms of financial literacy and its benefits we have decided to announce 2018 as the year of financial education. In 2016 with the involvement and support of domestic and international interest groups, we have approved a national strategy for financial education and created the strategy management committee, which includes public, private and civil sector representatives. At this stage, we cooperate with this committee, work on the action plan for the next year and will introduce the final agenda at the beginning of 2018.I would like to note that we plan to implement many projects throughout 2018 in Tbilisi and various regions of Georgia to cover as many citizens as possible regardless of their age, residence and profession.. We will introduce audio-video and printed educational materials; games, competitions adapted to various target groups; meetings and lectures; educational camps and so on. We plan to actively use radio, television and Internet channels, including social media. Our objective is to make financial education issues popular in all circles. Therefore, media involvement and support are of crucial importance for implementing the project and expanding the scale. Consequently, as a part of the financial education year, we plan to actively and productively cooperate with the media. - Regarding the banking sector - does the concentration create threats and how are they counteracted? How attractive is the Georgian market today for new players? How should we transform the existing interest into real actions? -Currently, there is certain concentration in the banking sector. Namely, the share of two major commercial banks in the sector’s total assets exceeds 70%. Despite this fact, the sector records growing competition and this was reflected in the reduction of interest rates. NBG watches the market dynamics and we will develop corresponding macroprudential instruments. To that end, in December 2017 we approved a decree on Definition of Systemic Commercial Banks and Introduction of Systemic Buffers. As a result, NBG has introduced additional capital buffers for systemically important commercial banks and has set deadlines for the implementation of new standards. One of the objectives for introduction of these buffers is to reduce concentration and boost the competition. It is important that the banking system remains open for new strong players. Georgia provides high transparency for requirements imposed on financial sector. Requirements for obtaining the banking licenses are given in the legislation in details and NBG is ready to supply additional information to potential investors. At the same time, in the decision-making process we take into account the presence of the minimum supervisory capital (at least 50 million GEL) and experience of potential owners in the banking/finance sector, adequacy of submitted business plan and potential for stable operation.

January 22, 2018 #222



Do Bitcoin Mining Costs Influence Electricity Prices? On January 1, the electricity price rose to 23 Tetri for one kilowatt/hour from 14.54 Tetri. According to public rumors, the electricity tariff rose because of growing mining of electronic currency – BitCoin. It is worth noting that two virtual currency mining centers of out three ones in the world function in Georgia. Gldani and Gori datacenters carry out a mining of electronic currency – BitCoin. The system of modern technologies was founded by BitFury company. The Caucasus Business Week has inquired whether there is real conjunction between electricity tariffs growth and BitCoin mining. Information on electricity volume used for BitCoin mining in Georgia is not attainable. We do not know how much the company pays for one kilowatt/hour. Besides political circles, economic experts also express remarks concerning the mentioned issue. Power sector specialist Temur Chichinadze says that there is no relation between growth in electricity tariffs and BitCoin mining. Ex Minster of Energy David Mirtskhulava also agrees on this position. Doctor of Economics Rati Abuladze (his comment is recorded in 2018 january 10th) says that capitalization of global cryptocurrency market exceeds 726 billion USD and there are 1401 cryptocurrencies in turnover. In this industry BitCoin ranks first with 245.6 billion USD market capitalization, Ethereum is second with 126.5 billion USD market capitalization and Ripple is third with 76.8 billion USD market capitalization, Bitcoin Cash is fourth with 45.9 billion USD market capitalization and Cardano is fifth with 16.8 billion USD market capitalization. Key sectors of the cryptocurrency industry are: exchange, digital wallet, payment and mining. It should be noted that miners play crucial role in this industry. Their revenues in 2017 exceeded 563 million USD, while cumulative incomes from BitCoin mining constituted 2.07 billion USD, Abuladze said. China is leader in BitCoin mining. Chinese mining unions control 71% of the BitCoin network. It is worth noting that India, Georgia, Iceland, Venezuela and the USA play significant role on the market of BitCoin mining. Cryptocurrency industry depends on power supply volumes, he said. According to research, each transaction of one BitCoin needs 200 kilowatt/hours (300 kilowatt/ hours, according to other estimations), while 37 kilowatt/hours are required for Ethereum. According to estimations by and Digiconomist, BitCoin mining requires 29.05 Tw/h electricity a year, while Ethereum network requires 11 Tw/h electricity. «For comparison, one transaction of BitCoin mining requires the same volume of electricity as one Georgian family consumes a month. However, similar estimations do not diminish its importance. It should be noted that today achievements and needs of cryptocurrency industry have become a key challenge of the world. It comprises significant economic benefits and challenges». It should be noted that over the past years Georgia has intensified activities on digital market. As a result: Georgia’s digital ecosystem is represented in miners, startups, digital infrastructural projects, digital involvement promotion programs, intensification of economic activities, diverse digital products and services, internet market revenues and growth in employment; The country is one of the leaders in the cryptocurrency business marathon and this is a considerable step forward for digital development of the country», Rati Abuladze said. On the way for digital development, the country is facing challenges because of the current policy and strategy. When the environment is developed, consumption of electricity, water, gas, internet and other resources grows and it is not academic to «accuse» this or that company, he said. If the country makes focus on digital environment development, it should improve the infrastructure (including transmission lines, telecommunication networks and so on), improve legal environment, invest in technologies, carry out education and digital information policy, introduce efficient strategy, outline expected challenges and determine ways for overcoming challenges. Moreover, BitCoin mining is so profitable business that even if the price of BitCoin halves (today its price is 13.991 USD), and even if the electricity price rises, companies will receive huge profits anyway, Rati Abuladze said. Lasha Gotsiridze, director of Institute of Research says that cryptocurrency is an invention of the 21st century and its refusal is not reasonable, however, all questions should be answered. All ordinary consumers must be protected, who have to pay higher electricity price. «We do not have information about how much BitFury Group pays for electricity. Without this information, it will not be correct to appraise activities of this company. We should know whether they really pay a little and whether ordinary citizens have to pay higher tariffs. Our society must have information how much they pay for one kilowatt/hour of electricity. This is a key question. If they pay a little, then this signifies the difference is subsidized from other sources, including ordinary citizens or other businesses. Any innovation is accompanied by controversies, be it cryptocurrency or other ones, and this is a natural process. This technology will be developed like cellular technologies, which has become an inseparable part of our everyday life. More and more new cryptocurrencies are introduced despite certain restrictions and their exchange rates irreversibly grows, Lasha Gotsiridze said. Parliament member Roman Gotsiridze says that the cryptocurrency company owned by Ivanishvili needs huge volumes of electricity and this company enjoys preferential taxes, while ordinary citizens have to pay higher tariffs. “Three new hydro power plants will be put into exploitation in Georgia in 2018 and their total generation will be 15 megawatts and they are able to satisfy only one fourth of total consumption of BitCoin mining center in Gldani, while this company makes no contribution to Georgian economy. Thousands of cryptocurrency mining servers function in the country. A part of them operate at apartments, other part works at workshops and other spaces. They absorb an enormous volume of cheap electricity and make electricity deficient for healthy segment of economy, grow electricity imports and provoke an outflow of foreign currency. Georgia ranks third worldwide in terms of power of similar servers (BitCoin mining), thanks to cheap electricity (at preferential rates for Ivanishvili), cheap real estate and underground operation of this business (legal tax preferences for Ivanishvili). Since tax preferences for Ivanishvili are eternal (protection of the Investor), and electricity tariffs are distorted in the country, it is difficult to overcome this problem. As the first step this business should be legalized, Gotsiridze said. As to Ivanishvili’s companies in Gori and Gldani, nothing will halt their expansion, because they enjoy preferences of a free economic zone. Therefore, the country will have to build several power stations to feed this parasite companies”, Roman Gotsiridze said. Financier Akaki Tsomaia has remarks over the tax and he also explains reasons why various countries contradict BitCoin mining. “All questions should be answered timely. The price paid for 1 kw/h electricity is the most interesting issue and we should know this necessarily. Government does not show a clear position over this issue. Many countries have already demonstrated their negative attitude to BitCoin mining, because transactions are not carried out through banking services and central bank, in general. Therefore, there are certain criticism and certain restrictions and I do not agree on them. BitCoin is an intellectual product created by humans and many persons trust it. Some people have seen huge profits and they cannot understand reasons of similar contradictions. I back

“For comparison, one transaction of BitCoin mining requires the same volume of electricity as one Georgian family consumes a month. However, similar estimations do not diminish its importance” “We do not have information about how much BitFury Group pays for electricity. Without this information, it will not be correct to appraise activities of this company” “Despite we are a private company and we are not obliged to publish the information below, we keep our promise made at the beginning of this week and”

a development of this technology, but I believe that electricity tariff should be the same for everybody to avoid differential approaches on behalf of this or that group”, Tsomaia noted. MP Zakaria Kutsnashvili from parliament’s majority says that BitCoin mining company receives electricity under ordinary tariff, that is 12.3 Tetri for a kw/h. Statements by parliament’s opposition are not true, Kutsnashvili said. Opposition members have reiterated several times, that Ivanishvili’s company in Gldani receives electricity for 9 Tetri. This enterprise, like all other ones, receives electricity for 12.3 Tetri. Therefore, this is a huge lie and I want our society not to trust lies. It is inadmissible to spread lies because of opposition purposes. If you are interested in who receives electricity for 9 Tetri, under decision of our Government, 500 000 citizens of Georgia receive electricity for 9 Tetri, who are under poverty level, as well as population of 1900 highland villages. This is unbiased truth”, Zakaria Kutsnashvili said. Meanwhile, Eprem Urumashvili, representative of BitFury Group spread a special statement refusing any preferences for the company. “Like Iceland, Norway and Canada, BitFury Group owns mining centers in Georgia, however, mining was ceased long ago in Gori. Therefore, we do not need excessive volumes of electricity (there is only technical support center in Gori) and only Tbilisi-based (Gldani) data-center carries out mining process. As to electricity tariffs, its payment, tariffs and available privileges, as named by a part of Georgian politicians in their style, we would like to note with a full responsibility that since inception BitFury Group has not used any privileges or preferences. To confirm this, our company will publish a detailed information about payment for public utilities (payment-purchase of electricity) by the end of this week”, the statement by Eprem Urumashvili reads. BitFury Group has also published information on electricity tariffs and investments volume. According to the information BitFury Group has supplied to BM.GE, the company has invested more than 140 million GEL in 3 years and employed more than 180 persons. At the same time, the company explains that they have enjoyed no electricity tariff preferences ever. “Despite we are a private company and we are not obliged to publish the information below, we keep our promise made at the beginning of this week and, for interested bodies, we publish this information on electricity tariff consumed by us and made investments, namely: Tbilisi Free Industrial Zone launched active operation in 2016 with the aim to attract potential investor companies and develop the zone infrastructure (at the end of 2015). Consequently, investments were made and the zone infrastructure was arranged for creating maximally comfortable environment for placement of companies. Under the approved plan, internal roads and communications were arranged. At the same time, communication was developed with companies interested in operating in this zone and currently, about 70 companies are registered in Tbilisi Free Industrial Zone that have been founded by physical and legal bodies in Britain, the USA, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Romania, Turkey, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, Eprem Urumashvili, representative of BitFury Group in Georgia noted. The mining in the Free Industrial Zone is not someone’s exclusive right and this is confirmed by the fact three various investors have already built mining datacenters (this can be seen from outside the zone) and today they carry out a mining. The information refers to the bodies who assert as if nobody is admitted to the zone. In three years we have invested more than 140 million GEL in Georgia and employed 180 persons. It is worth noting that 100% of the employed are citizens of Georgia and their averaged salary exceeds 2500 GEL. Their income taxes are transferred to the state budget. We have never enjoyed any preferences in Georgia in terms of electricity tariffs and we have always paid the market tariff and we submit due documents in confirmation (TELASI subscriber’s extract, reference about consumed electricity and so on). It should be also stressed that Tbilisi Free Industrial Zone, like Poti and Kutaisi Free Industrial Zones, has been operating since July 3, 2007, according to the adopted legislation (N5175). “I would like to answer the interested politicians from European Georgia and United National Movement that despite their negative attitude to our group, we are ready to personally supply more information to them about Blockchain, BitCoin and digital currency and about their importance for economic development of our country, amid the current global challenges”, Eprem Urumashvili noted. At the same time, we reaffirm that currently we have neither business nor partner relations with Co-Investment Fund of Georgia and we have used the fund’s loan in 2014, which was replaced by a Bank of Georgia loan in 2015. Our cooperation with Bank of Georgia continues even today. We also confirm that ex Prime Minister of Georgia Bidzina Ivanishvili holds no stake in BitFury Group, the company statement reads. Minister of Finance of Georgia Mamuka Bakhtadze noted: “Georgia-based free economic zones satisfy all criteria of EU countries”. He also answered criticism by the opposition as if Tbilisi Free Industrial Zone establishment conditions do not comply with the legislation. “I read information released by this company and I think this information was comprehensive. Naturally, we care that all key parameters of the free economic zones be fulfilled. Moreover, I would like to note that it is a huge achievement that on December 5, when EU Minister gathered, the so-called list was published, where Georgia satisfied all parameters and surpassed many developed countries. Other countries were given a certain time to satisfy criteria in terms of de-offshorization policy. This fact reaffirms that free economic zones in Georgia fully satisfy all criteria of EU countries”, Mamuka Bakhtadze said. In response to the question whether Gldani Free Economic Zone meets all criteria of FEZ, the Minister abstained from giving a specific answer. Co-Investment Fund of Georgia has also released a special statement. “Statements as if Bidzina Ivanishvili owns stakes in BitFury Group do not reflect the reality. In 2014 the Co-Investment Fund of Georgia ensured co-financing component for BitFury international company. BitFury’s entrance into Georgian market has advanced high-technology sector in Georgia. The company fully covered the mentioned loan in 2015. Consequently, we would like to note that neither Co-investment Fund of Georgia nor Bidzina Ivanishvili nor any related company own any stake in Gori and Gldani datacenters. We would like also to note that no politicians interested in this issue have contacted the Co-investment Fund and this fact reaffirms their political motives. We urge politicians to show more responsibility to the issue and prior to making ungrounded statements, examine accuracy of information”, the statement passed by the Co-investment Fund reads. We remind you that European Georgia asserts that electricity tariff has increased because of the Bitcoin mining center which is located in Gldani, Tbilisi. Mining is a necessary process for creating new coins of digital currency and making transactions. This scheme implies a numerous calculating operations and huge power is spent on these operations. Georgia is recorded among the world’s top three miner countries jointly with China and the USA. BitCoin miner companies are accumulated in the countries with high development level of ethnologies, where electricity is cheap.

PR Person


January 22, 2018 #222

“Technology cannot replace creativity” - Why did you decide to enter this field, and what kind of opportunities does this profession give you? I’ve been actively involved in journalism for more than ten years including newspapers, online editions, and televisions. In 2014, I was offered a suggestion from the governor’s administration to work for them as head of press service. I thought so much about it, it didn’t seem easy. The fields are almost like each other, but there are a lot of differences too. Although, journalist experiences, the knowledge of the needs and problems of the region, encouraged me to take this step. I thought it would be temporary, but now I say that PR is a new opportunity for me - for continuous searching and development. I like this field very much. - What is it necessary to hold a successful communication with public? To establish successful communication, first of all it is necessary to have communication skills, knowledge and experience. There should be a trust that is not easy to obtain, in order to gain and maintain it, one must work in a complex way, be careful not to say even a slight lie, not to express any indifference and be informative during the crisis. It is necessary to use modern technologies that work very well, we receive a few notifications on our official pages, which we response in a timely manner. Any citizen can write us about his problem besides meeting us. I believe that in order to achieve the right and successful communication with the public, we should know what we would like to share and which segment to reach. Immediacy, simplicity and creativity makes us memorable and distinguished. - What three tips would you offer someone just starting out in PR? The first and the most important key is to do our highest possible. We should forget about the words like: I will delay it for tomorrow, I will get rid of this issue, I can’t do it, when will this hard day end?! There is no specific time and schedule in our field – that’s why we need to invest our maximum energy in what we do. We should love and enjoy with our profession. Second: We must determine the aim, learn about the segment fundamentally, and keep our message simple.

Interview with Paata Lagvilava, Head of Public Relations and Media Relations Department of Administration of Samegrelo-Zemo Svaneti Regional Governor.

Last but not least is managing crisis and take decisions quickly, as response must be relevant and timely at the same time. - What do you wish you would have known before starting your career in PR? In the beginning I wanted to know the crisis and conflict resolution and art of reaction. When entered this field, especially in public service, I thought that the first thing I needed was to react correctly at the crisis and the conflicts, which I believe is not easy, but soon afterwards, I took a lot of things to study, learned and received the appropriate education. But there is still a lot to learn about. - Describe your typical work week. Generally I do not like the job which is monotonous, that’s why I loved journalism and that’s why I’m working as PR. None of our activities are similar, every day and week is different from one another. We face new challenges, issues and set goals. We live with the rhythm, have to meet the deadlines, we can never slacken. Week starts with planning media activities, reviews. In regard with this, we prepare events, announcements, spread materials to media and public. Although, there are a lot of unpredictable events, that we prepare in a force majeure. We cultivate various directions during the week, this is social media segment, feedbacks, etc. - How would you go about finding relevant contacts and sources? First of all, it’s important to have nice personal relationships, diplomatic approaches, maintaining trust and correct management of business contacts. I’ve never had any issue with gaining contacts or sources, as I’ve worked in media for years and had already expanded my acquaintances. More contacts means more opportunities. - What are the skills Public Relations Specialist need? One must be creative, leader,

diplomat, team player and to have crisis management skill along with making decisions fast. - What trait do you value the most in your coworkers? First of all, responsibility is very important, business can’t be done without high sense of liability. I appreciate, team-players, especially in our field, where more opinions and discussions gets us to a desired result. - What is the best PR practice technology can’t change? Technology can’t replace creativity, although it helps us to expand opportunities. - What are some of the growing trends in the public relations industry? Information got shorter, no one has time to read a huge material. That’s why we need to be brief and comprehensive at the same time. Visual side got more important, that is more than a picture or video. This field is dynamic, develops constantly and what’s trendy today, might go up to a different level next month.


January 22, 2018 #222

- To kick this off, what inspired the creation of Digital Creative Agency – Leavingstone, where did you meet the other founders? I met my partners at ESM Tbilisi Business School, that is currently under Free University of Georgia. The idea of creating ”Leavingstone” came up at the end of the second term when we did our Marketing subject and found out we were into Marketing and Advertising. Although, we didn’t like traditional way of doing it, so we looked through the lenses of computers and internet. We found ourselves more free in digital space and were trying to find the way how to apply the technology for achieving product/service marketing goals. We launched our company with only a few projects in 2008, I assume they were successful as we simply completed them. It was not easy to do business simultaneously with extreme studies at ESM, that has its fame for. Besides, we were very young, lacking of experience. In 2010, Facebook was gaining traction in Georgia and we thought it would be a great platform to hold relationships between brands and consumers in a meaningful way, as consumers were spending more and more time online than offline. Obsessed with these ideas we got an opportunity from TBC Bank to participate in a competition among advertising agencies, where the main goal was to find creative ways to use Facebook platform for brand communication. We happened to be lucky to win, got our first big client and actually, if we look at the industry in terms of historical milestones, this was the how the social media marketing started as a new direction in Georgia. - Who do you have on your team, do your roles change according to specific situations? If we look at Leavingstone through the HR perspective we are quite expanded. We have


Behind the Rise of Digital Space in Georgia Digital space becomes more innovative and number of successful campaigns grows in Georgia day by day. There are people who looked at things in a creative way, launched Digital Creative Agency from a scratch that takes over our newsfeeds and brings international awards. Vakho Vakhtangishvili is behind that process, Executive Director and Co-founder of ”Leavingstone”, who shared his experience with CBW:

120+ employees, so we should clarify the meaning of ”team”, it can be just two or the whole company. We are proud that team members start their job as creatives or engineers, ending with becoming advertisers or project managers. Each and every one is absolutely important, these are the people who produce the pieces of work that should be appealing, interesting, engaging and of course, should correspond to the goals of the client. Of course, from time to time there are projects that needs additional inputs from professions that we might not have, at such moments, we either have to get into the shoes of that vary person or use outsource. - What the social marketing field like in Tbilisi? Do you think the city is becoming more innovative? Both social media and innovation lines of our lives go back to individuals. As I see, there are more and more people excited with digital space no matter it is a product creation or marketing, they are happy to educate themselves and invest time, keen on experiment. Eventually, we are getting to the point that ecosystem of Tbilisi is becoming better, diverse, refined… There’s still a long way to the level of Western Europe, not to mention the States at all. - As for Geolab, what is the environment you are tended to create there? GeoLab is an innovation lab,

where we want to ignite the love for digital in young people. GeoLab is very democratic as it provides environment and resources for the ideology as well. We believe that it is possible to do great things with the help of creative ideas and knowledge of digital, even if you are alone against the huge problem. The space was designed in a way to bring the feeling of alternate reality as it is in computer games, where we feel ourselves better. GeoLab is a game, where students challenge each others’ skills and are motivated to become better versions of themselves. This is what we wanted to create. What we feel right now is that one space is not enough to bring this tech obsession to larger number of people. Thus we are experimenting the models of remote education so we could impact more at a time and in places that are unfortunately forgotten, like regions of Georgia where truly amazing, talented young people live and they lack of such opportunity. How important is it the number of professionals to grow in technology field; What will be the most crucial result of it? It is extremely important. Not only in tech, but in creative that comprises technology and other fields as well. We need builders, we need creative people who believe in their ideas and have relevant skills to create anything they wish for, would it be a mobile application, new campaign

or even a company. These people are pushing economy, culture, life and bring huge measurable, even non-measurable values like happiness. Change is good and these are people who bring the change. - What methodologies and techniques do you implement in developing yourself as Co-founder of growing companies? It’s a very complicated thing. I can’t say I have some magic routine to develop myself. But what I found so far the most efficient: conversations with people who are better than you and reading books. Actually, reading books is almost same as talking with people but in a nonverbal format. - Your current and upcoming projects… What excites you most right now and what do you see for your next step? We have lots of projects within various industries and most of them are very exciting. Personally I’m involved with the projects related to Big Data and Artificial Intelligence along with couple of startups like and Nebula. ge. Besides, there are couple of other plans and worries that keeps me and my partners awake at night, more related to the future of the whole company. We are crazy about making Leavingstone, the gravitation for the most talented people in Georgia where they can embrace creativity, knowledge, craft, the good impact they will bring with the work they do and just be happy about it. By Nina Gomarteli


10 Partnership Fund Becomes Stakeholder of Nenskra Hydro

Nona Mamulashvili Elected as the President of the Georgian-Swiss Business Association On 16 January 2018, the Georgian-Swiss Business Association (GSBA) held its General Assembly at the Residence of the Ambassador of Switzerland to Georgia, Mr. Lukas Beglinger to elect three Board members and a President. Following the vote, the 3 elected Board members are Mr. Mikho Svimonishvili (JSC Margebeli), Mr. Irakli Kervalishvili (Blauenstein Georgia LLC) and Mr. Nick Gvinadze (Gvinadze & Partners). By the majority of the votes, Ms. Nona Mamulashvili (PMG) has been elected as the new President of the Georgian-Swiss Business Association. Founded in 2005, GSBA is the business association serving Swiss companies and entrepreneurs doing businesses in Georgia and Georgian companies interested in dealing with Switzerland. GSBA supports and promotes the commercial relationships between the two countries and aims to generate more business activity of members through providing networking occasions and facilitating business contacts.

Partnership Fund has become a stakeholder in Nenskra Hydro. Representatives of Partnership Fund management and K-Water design company held a working meeting. Namely, Partnership Fund has bought 20 000 shares of Nenskra HPP, that is about 10% stake in the project. At the meeting the parties signed official document on transmitting Nenskra Hydro shares to JSC Partnership Fund. The document was signed by Natia Turnava, deputy executive director of Partnership Fund and Nenskra Hydro director general Buong Seub Choi. At the meeting the parties discussed Nenska HPP construction process and the project implementation details. The parties agreed to accelerate the project implementation process.

Fitch Ratings Assigns Crystal’s GEL10m Senior Unsecured Notes Final ‘B’ iFitch Ratings has assigned JSC MFO Crystal’s (Crystal) GEL10 million issue of senior unsecured notes a final long-term rating of ‘B’. The bonds mature in December 2019, and the coupon is paid quarterly at a rate of 450 basis points over the National Bank of Georgia’s monetary policy rate. Crystal has Foreign and Local Currency Long-Term Issuer Default Ratings of ‘B’ with Stable Outlooks, and ShortTerm Local and Foreign Currency Issuer Default Ratings of ‘B’.

Decorative Crafts of Concrete – Guram Muradov’s Urban Mood Urban Mood‘s concept is simple and this is directly expressed in slogan – Live with What You Love. Our concept calls for creating small and important things that shine a room and make them cozier thanks to a simple move, Guram Muradov told The logo contains lines that shape geometrical figures. Urban Mood products are also special for clear lines that seem differently from various sides. The logo is also based on the same principle. If we rotate it, we will see an absolutely other figure. What do you offer to consumers? And who manufactures Urban Mood? We offer a wide option of lighters and colors, flower pots, vases. Our fridge magnets are also very popular. At this stage, I work on production alone. My mother has assisted me for the New Year collection.

January 22, 2018 #222

20-Year-old Georgian Designer’s Hats Go to Europe ANA N ANA creates hats. Main collections are created in Georgia by my family members and friends. We use various types of threads for creating all models in Georgia: 100% cotton, wool, mohair, merinos. We will also receive 100% alpaca from Barcelona and musk ox thread, Nanuka Chikviladze told Marketer. We have waited for our turn for 8 months to buy 300 grams of each one. They are so precious and rare that in decorations I use Georgian agate and silk, crystals and stones from India, feather of various birds from Turkey. “The brand makes focus on partners, who are interested in handmade and expensive goods. Our clients are people, who seek special and extraordinary producrts. Prices of the 2018-2019 autumn-winter collection starts from 115 USD and hits 1000 USD. ANA N ANA products were introduced to

European market in November – in Berlin, Hamburg and Düsseldorf,” Nanuka says. ANA N ANA is a brand, which offers emotion along with various comfortable models, which confers glamor and specialty to the owners. At this stage, only women have access to buy this emotion. The collection is created due to my taste and each hat is accompanied by a list of colors. The clients select the model colors themselves, but the design is the same for everybody. Besides collection models, I have made Unique Line and our clients receive photos of our unique models on email. “At one of the exhibitions in Hamburg, I got to know Dutch hat designer Peter de Priz, who approved my ideas and offered cooperation. Today HutDevries works on collection of ANA N ANA hats. This is my first collaboration”.

Innovation Finnish School to Open in Saguramo by 2019 “Alliance Group Holding” plans to open Finnish school in Saguramo in partnership with Finland’s leading education consortium. The school project envisages investment of 15-20 million euros, – Director of Alliance Group Holding, Ayet Kukava shares details with”Business Morning”. How did you come up with the idea of opening ​​ school in Saguramo and when did you decide to be work education business? Our company starts business in the field that the country needs. It will be commercially beneficial for us too, if we offer what country needs. It has been proven that Finnish young people have created billion-dollar companies in recent years. This confirms that they are advanced in all over the world. We visited Finland, we met heads of schools and the government who promised us support. For

more than three years we have been thinking about opening the school. We have chosen Finnish Consortium, which is one of the most successful. Our chosen consortium is not only consisting of successful education experts, but also designers, engineers and architects. There will be a rolling wardrobe where pupils leave books, so that they do not have to take it with them everyday. The main purpose is that, pupils should not have too much homework after school, as they receive primary education at school. They won’t need additional private teachers, which is an issue in Georgia nowadays. Since we have a long-term plan, first of all, Finnish school needs a big space, which can be hardly found in Tbilisi. We want to build a sample school because our partners should start to expand to the region before Kazakhstan and Turkey.

January 22, 2018 #222



Famous and beloved British super star James Blunt will visit Georgia within the world tour. The festival will be held on May 26, on Independence Day, at Mikheil Meskhi (Locomotive) stadium. Singer and composer will perform songs from his latest album “Afterlove”. The event is organized by New International Promotion Company Black Pearl Live.

Kuun De Beer: About the details of the British superstrar’s concert and the future plans of the new promotion companyBlack Pearl Live is talking the company’s managing director, Kuun De Beer: - It is known that Black Pearl Live is founded in Georgia, tell us about this … An international promoting company Black Pearl Live, which cooperates with the world’s leading performers, is based in Georgia. Consequently, he will pay taxes under the country’s legislation and will continue to operate in Georgia. At the same time, the main purpose of his business is to create and ensure the festivals of current international standards, concerts and events. - The company has quite ambitious goals in the Georgian market, particularly? The company has truly ambitious goals in the Georgian market, but these goals are not groundless. Black Pearl Live plans to turn Georgia into a host country of the world’s cultural events. But everything depends on how things will develop, how

we work today to achieve success in the future. - how are you going to accomplish these goals? We want to establish our company as an international player and show that productions in Georgia can be on the same level as any high-profile show worldwide. That is why the James Blunt Afterlove world tour is so important for us we want to show other artist that Georgia deserves to be part of every world tour. - Why did you decide to operate in Georgia? Because we have the capabilities to arrange world class events and our research showed there is a opportunity in Georgia. - Why the name „Black pearl live“? The team was in Batumi in summer for market research and a Georgian said Batumi is the pearl of the Black sea. This was very relevant for us because we saw the whole of Georgia as a Pearl full off opportunity. The Live part is because of Live entertainment. - Why the first James Blunt and why May 26th

James Blunt is the first international star who will sing on May 26 at the Mikheil Meskhi Stadium. This show is part of his world tour – Afterlove and a fifth studio album presentation that was created after the multi-platinum album “Moon Landing”. James Blunt is a multi-platinum album selling world super star. He also has a very big and diverse fan base which makes it a great show for a huge age range. We wanted Georgia to be part of a world tour. - So, on May 26 we can expect a wonderful show… Of course, fans can expect all their favorite hits, including his last single, “Love Me Better”. It is important that fantastic local singers and special guests from South Africa will participate with him. Invited group – The Parlotones – Rock Band from Johannesburg (South Africa), which will perform songs created on love and life motifs. The event will be hosted by energetic and strong rock groups Young Georgian Lolitaz and Loudspeakers. Young Georgian Lolitaz – This is the first band of men, which was

We Wanted Georgia to Be Part of a World Tour presented on Eurovision from Georgia, and the Loudspeakers is a famous Georgian rock band, which gained immense popularity with the Tbilisi Altervision Music Festival. We want to join this event with this festival and believe that this is a wonderful way to celebrate Independence Day of Georgia, everyone is invited to attend this holiday. - Were you familiar with Georgian market and did you know that James Blunt has fans in Georgia? We do intensive market research before booking any artist and statistics revealed that James Blunt is a very reputable performer according to the statistics - What will you say about

competition? How are you going to fight with competitors (this will be a ticket price, artist or …) we don’t focus on competition we just service the market. We don’t see them as competition rather as partners serving the Georgian music industry - Who will be next? Of course it is a secret, so you will have to wait and you’ll see that expectations will be justified. - Tell us a little about your plans. We have already been approached by a few agents wanting to send more top class talent. Currently our focus is on the James Blunt show..



January 22, 2018 #222

January 22, 2018 #222



Facebook widens probe into alleged Russian meddling in Brexit

Iranian company chosen to build bridge on Armenian Georgian border An Iranian company will build a bridge over the Armenian river of Debed in the northern province of Lori. The bridge is part of the Sadakhlo-Bagratasehn checkpoint on the border between Armenia and Georgia. The Iranian company Ariana Tunnel Dam Co. is the winner of an international tender announced earlier by Armenian ministry of transport, communications and information technology. The construction will be financed from a loan that Armenia will be provided with by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD). The agreement to that end was signed back in 2012. The Armenian government’s budget for 2018 has also earmarked 1.4 billion drams for the construction of the bridge. The agreement with the Iranian company was signed today in Yerevan. The project is part of the EBRD - financed Northern Corridor Modernization Program. The agreement was ratified today by the Armenian minister Vahan Martirosyan, and the chairman of the Iranian company Ali Mousavi. The Iranian company was chosen from seven bidding companies. The Northern Corridor Modernization Project includes the reconstruction of existing infrastructure to meet international standards, as well as the construction of new buildings at the three border control facilities. The improved border crossing points, equipped for vehicles and pedestrians, is expected to have a more efficient and increased processing capacity, as well as provide a multi-directional road crossing for international cargo and passenger traffic.

SOCAR announces plans on making investments in Georgia in 2018 Azerbaijan’s state oil company SOCAR plans to make investments in rehabilitation of old and amortized pipelines in Georgia in 2018, head of SOCAR Energy Georgia Mahir Mammadov told Trend. He pointed out that in December 2017, SOCAR Georgia Gas successfully completed the fulfillment of its investment commitments to Georgian government for construction of new gas distribution networks. “Nevertheless, in 2018, we plan to make some investments in rehabilitation of old, amortized pipelines and construction of commercially attractive distribution networks,” added Mammadov. SOCAR manages its gas distribution networks in various regions of Georgia through SOCAR Georgia Gas company. SOCAR exports gas to Georgia from Azerbaijani fields which are developed by the company without participation of foreign firms. Moreover, Georgia annually receives Azerbaijani gas produced at Shah Deniz field with participation of SOCAR and foreign companies.

Facebook Inc said on Wednesday it would conduct a new, comprehensive search of its records for possible propaganda that Russian operatives may have spread during the run-up to Britain’s 2016 referendum on EU membership. Some British lawmakers had complained that the world’s largest social media network had done only a limited search for evidence that Russians manipulated the network and interfered with the referendum debate. Russia denies meddling in Britain’s vote to exit the European Union, known as Brexit, or in the 2016 US elections. Facebook, Twitter Inc and Alphabet Inc’s Google and YouTube have been under intense pressure in Europe and the United States to stop nations from using tech services to meddle in another country’s elections, and to investigate when evidence of such meddling arises. Facebook’s new search in Britain will require

the company’s security experts to go back and analyse historical data, Simon Milner, Facebook’s UK policy director, wrote in a letter on Wednesday to Damian Collins, chair of the British parliament’s Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee. Facebook said in December that it had found just 97 cents worth of advertising by Russiabased operatives ahead of Britain’s vote to leave the EU. Its analysis, though, involved only accounts linked to the Internet Research Agency, a suspected Russian propaganda service. Mr Collins last month described Facebook’s initial Brexit-related search as inadequate, and said on Wednesday he welcomed the company’s latest response. “They are best placed to investigate activity on their platform,” he said in a statement. “I look forward to seeing the results of this investigation, and I’m sure we will want to question Facebook about this when we know the outcome.”

Visa and Dynamics Unveil the World’s First Wallet Card

Turkey Expo 2018 aims to boost exports to Qatar, more than 100 Turkish companies represented A high profile trade fair held this week in the Qatari capital Doha aims to help Turkish companies increase their share of the oil-rich Gulf state’s imports. Expo Turkey 2018 brings together more than 100 Turkish companies from a range of sectors, including construction, real estate, technology, health, tourism, energy, environmental management, infrastructure, furniture, food, transportation and agriculture. The official opening ceremony of the threeday trade fair, organized in cooperation with Turkey’s Independent Industrialist and Businessmen Association (MÜSİAD), was held on Jan. 17 with the participation of Turkish Customs and Trade Minister Bülent Tüfenkçi, Qatari Economy and Commerce Minister Sheikh Ahmed Bin Jassim al Thani, MÜSİAD chair Abdurrahman Kaan and Rifat Hisarcıklıoğlu, head of the Turkish Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges (TOBB). Speaking at the fair, Trade Minister Tüfenkçi said bilateral trade between Turkey and Qatar stood at $784 million in 2015, $678 million in 2016 and $788 million in the first 11 months of 2017. “These numbers can be, and should be much higher. Organizations such as this will help to achieve that target,” he said.

Tüfenkçi said Qatari officials have promised to prioritize Turkish firms in preparations for the 2022 World Cup. A couple of Turkish companies have already taken over some projects, with talks underway for more. Turkish firms currently account for $14.5 billion worth of projects in Qatar, according to Tüfenkçi. “As Turks, we need to create projects to enhance our sustainable cooperation with Qatar. We should learn how to do business here and become a permanent fixture,” he added. Sheikh Ahmed said the event “reflects the keenness of Qatar and Turkey to establish practical mechanisms to develop the level of economic cooperation, increase trade volume and explore innovative and promising horizons to open new fields to enhance joint investments.” The minister said the trade fair will contribute to the ability of Qatari importers to contact Turkish manufacturers and represent them in the local market. “This joint cooperation will create a special strategic economic partnership in line with the existing market potential of more than 185 million people, which could be further expanded to reach over 400 million consumers in the region and beyond,” he said.

The Visa-branded version of the Wallet Card is the same size and shape as a normal Visa credit or debit card, yet it incorporates multiple features and technologies not previously found in a single payment card. The device offers a number of cardholder benefits and cutting-edge technologies, including: Multiple Cards in One: Cardholders can access their debit, credit, pre-paid, multicurrency, one-time use, or loyalty cards on a single card with the tap of a button. Account information is shown on the on-card display with the ability to toggle between cards or accounts. Instant Issuance: As the first instant, digital card platform, financial institutions can distribute Visa Wallet Card anywhere and at any time – such as in their retail branches or at events, and consumers can activate it right away. Greater Security: A bank can quickly delete a compromised card account number and replace it with a new account number, providing convenience and peace of mind for the cardholder. Alerts and Messages: An on-card, 65,000pixel display shows both account information and allows messages to be sent to the Visa Wallet Card at any time. For example, after every purchase, a message may be sent to notify the consumer of the purchase and their remaining balance if they used a pre-paid or debit card. Cardholders can also receive coupons directly on the display or be notified of a suspicious purchase and click on “Not Me” to have a fraud alert set and new card number issued. Self-Charging Battery: An organic chip ensures the payment card charges itself through normal operation and doesn’t require any work for the cardholder.



January 22, 2018 #222

January 22, 2018 #222

Embassy United States of America Embassy 11 Balanchivadze St., Dighomi Dstr., Tbilisi Tel: 27-70-00, 53-23-34 E-mail:; United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland Embassy 51 Krtsanisi Str., Tbilisi, Tel: 227-47-47 E-mail: Republic of France Embassy 49, Krtsanisi Str. Tbilisi, Tel: 272 14 90 E-mail: Web-site: Federal Republic of Germany Embassy 20 Telavi St. Tbilisi Tel: 44 73 00, Fax: 44 73 64 Italian RepublicEmbassy 3a Chitadze St, Tbilisi, Tel: 299-64-18, 292-14-62, 292-18-54 E-mail: Republic of Estonia Embassy 4 Likhauri St., Tbilisi, Tel: 236-51-40 E-mail: Republic of Lithuania Embassy 25 Tengiz Abuladze St, Tbilisi Tel: 291-29-33 E-mail: Republic of Latvia Embassy 16 Akhmeta Str., Avlabari, 0144 Tbilisi. E-mail: Greece Republic Embassy 37. Tabidze St. Tbilisi Tel: 91 49 70, 91 49 71, 91 49 72 Czech RepublicEmbassy 37 Chavchavadze St. Tbilisi ;Tel: 291-67-40/41/42 E-mail: Web-sait: Japan Embassy 7 Krtsanisi St. Tbilisi Tel: +995 32 2 75 21 11, Fax: +995 32 2 75 21 20 Kingdom of Sweden Embassy 15 Kipshidze St. Tbilisi Tel: +995 32 2 55 03 20 , Fax: +995 32 2 22 48 90 Kingdom of the Netherlands Embassy 20 Telavi St. Tbilisi Tel: 27 62 00, Fax: 27 62 32 People’s Republic of China Embassy 52 Barnov St. Tbilisi Tel: 225-22-86, 225-21-75, 225-26-70 E-mail: Republic of Bulgaria Embassy 15 Gorgasali Exit, 0105 Tbilisi, Georgia Tel: +995 32 291 01 94; +995 32 291 01 95 Fax: +99 532 291 02 70 Republic of Hungary Embassy 83 Lvovi Street, Tbilisi Tel: 39 90 08; E-mail: State of Israel Embassy 61 Agmashenebeli Ave. Tbilisi Tel: 95 17 09, 94 27 05 Embassy of Swiss Confederation’s Russian Federation Interests Section Embassy 51 Chavchavadze Av., Tbilisi Tel: 291-26-45, 291-24-06, 225-28-03 E-mail: Ukraine Embassy 76-g Chavchavadze Ave., Tbilisi Tel: 231-11-61, 231-14-54 E-mail: Consular Agency: 71, Melikishvili St., Batumi Tel: (8-88-222) 3-16-00/ 3-14-78 Republic of Turkey Embassy 35 Chavchavadze Ave., Tbilisi Tel: 225-20-72/73/74/76 Consulate General in Batumi 9 Ninoshvili Street, Batumi Tel: 422 25 58 00 Republic of Azerbaijan Embassy Kipshidze II-bl . N1., Tbilisi Tel: 225-26-39, 225-35-26/27/28 E-mail: Address: Dumbadze str. 14, Batumi Tel: 222-7-67-00; Fax: 222-7-34-43 Republic of Armenia Embassy 4 Tetelashvili St. Tbilisi Tel: 95-94-43, 95-17-23, 95-44-08 Kingdom of Spain Embassy Rustaveli Ave. 24, I floor, Tbilisi Tel: 230-54-64 E-mail: emb.tiflis@maec.esRomania Embassy 7 Kushitashvili St., Tbilisi Tel: 38-53-10; 25-00-98/97 E-mail: Republic of Poland Embassy

Tbilisi Guide 19 Brothers Zubalashvili St., Tbilisi Tel: 292-03-98 Web-site: Republic of Iraq Embassy Kobuleti str. 16, Tbilisi Tel: 291 35 96; 229 07 93 E-mail: Federative Republic of Brazil Embassy Chanturia street 6/2, Tbilisi Tel.: +995-32-293-2419 Fax.: +995-32-293-2416 Islamic Republic of Iran Embassy 80, I.Chavchavadze St. Tbilisi, Tel: 291-36-56, 291-36-58, 291-36-59, 291-36-60; Fax: 291-36-28 E-mail: United Nations Office Address: 9 Eristavi St. Tbilisi Tel: 225-11-26/28, 225-11-29/31 Fax: 225-02-71/72 E-mail: Web-site: International Monetary Fund Office Address : 4 Freedom Sq., GMT Plaza, Tbilisi Tel: 292-04-32/33/34 E-mail: Web-site: Asian Development Bank Georgian Resident Mission Address: 1, G. Tabidze Street

Freedom Square 0114 Tbilisi, Georgia Tel: +995 32 225 06 19 e-mail:; Web-site: World Bank Office Address : 5a Chavchavadze Av., lane-I, Tbilisi, Georgia ; Tel: 291-30-96, 291-26-89/59 Web-site: Regional Office of European Bank for Reconstruction and Development Address: 6 Marjanishvili St. Tbilisi Tel: 244 74 00, 292 05 13, 292 05 14 Web-site: Representation of the Council of Europe in Georgia Address : 26 Br. Kakabadze, Tbilisi Tel: 995 32 291 38 70/71/72/73 Fax: 995 32 291 38 74 Web-site: Embassy of the Slovak Republic Address: Chancery: 85 Irakli Abashidze St. Tbilisi, 0162 Georgia Consular Office: 38 Nino Chkheidze St. Tbilisi, 0102 Georgia Phone: 2 222 4437, 2 296 1913 e-mail: European Investment Bank Regional Representation for the South Caucasus Address: 1,G.Tabidze Street, Freedom Square Phone: +995 322 006284

Hotels in Georgia TBILISI MARRIOTT Tbilisi , 13 Rustaveli Ave. Tel: 77 92 00, COURTYARD MARRIOTT Tbilisi , 4 Freedom Sq. Tel: 77 91 00 RADISSON BLU HOTEL, TBILISI Rose Revolution Square 1 0108, Tbilisi Tel: +995 32 402200 RADISSON BLU HOTEL, BATUMI Ninoshvili Str. 1, 6000 Bat’umi, Georgia Tel: 8 422255555 SHERATON METECHI PALACE Tbilisi , 20 Telavi St. Tel: 77 20 20, SHERATON BATUMI 28 Rustaveli Street • Batumi Tel: (995)(422) 229000 Holiday Inn Tbilisi Business hotel Addr: 1, 26 May Square Tel: +995 32 230 00 99 E-mail: Website: River Side Hotel With incredible service and views Addr: Mari Brosse street turn, Old Tbilisi. Tel: +995 32 2242244; +995 32 2242288 Fax: +995 32 2 242277 Email: Website:

Restaurants Corner House Tbilisi, I. Chavchavadze ave. 10, Tel: 0322 47 00 49; Email: Restaurant Barakoni Restaurant with healthy food. Georgian-European Cuisine Agmashenebeli Alley 13th Phone: 555 77 33 77 CHARDIN 12 Tbilisi , 12 Chardin St. , Tel: 92 32 38 Cafe 78 Best of the East and the West Lado Asatiani 33, SOLOLAKI 032 2305785; 574736290 BREAD HOUSE Tbilisi , 7 Gorgasali St. , Tel: 30 30 30 BUFETTI - ITALIAN RESTAURANT Tbilisi , 31 I. Abashidze St. , Tel: 22 49 61 DZVELI SAKHLI Tbilisi , 3 Right embankment , Tel: 92 34 97, 36 53 65, Fax: 98 27 81 IN THE SHADOW OF METEKHI Tbilisi , 29a Tsamebuli Ave. , Tel: 77 93 83, Fax: 77 93 83 SAKURA - JAPANESE RESTAURANT Tbilisi , 29 I. Abashidze St. , Tel: 29 31 08, Fax: 29 31 08 SIANGAN - CHINESE RESTAURANT Tbilisi , 41 Peking St , Tel: 37 96 88 VERA STEAK HOUSE Tbilisi , 37a Kostava St , Tel: 98 37 67 BELLE DE JOUR 29 I. Abashidze str, Tbilisi; Tel: (+995 32) 230 30 30 VONG 31 I. Abashidze str, Tbilisi Tel: (+995 32) 230 30 30 BRASSERIE L’EXPRESS 14 Chardin str, Tbilisi Tel: (+995 32) 230 30 30 TWO SIDE PARTY CLUB 7 Bambis Rigi, Tbilisi Tel: (+995 32) 230 30 30

Cinemas AKHMETELI Tbilisi. “Akhmeteli” Subway Station Tel: 58 66 69 AMIRANI Tbilisi. 36 Kostava St. Tel: 99 99 55, RUSTAVELI Tbilisi. 5 Rustaveli Ave. Tel: 92 03 57, 92 02 85, SAKARTVELO Tbilisi. 2/9 Guramishvili Ave. Tel: 8 322308080,

15 SH. RUSTAVELI STATE THEATRE Tbilisi. 17 Rustaveli Ave. Tel: 93 65 83, Fax: 99 63 73 TBILISI STATE MARIONETTE THEATRE Tbilisi. 26 Shavteli St. Tel: 98 65 89, Fax: 98 65 89 Z. PALIASHVILI TBILISI STATE THEATRE OF OPERA AND BALLET Tbilisi. 25 Rustaveli Ave. Tel: 98 32 49, Fax: 98 32 50

Galleries ART GALLERY LINE Tbilisi. 44 Leselidze St. BAIA GALLERY Tbilisi. 10 Chardin St. Tel: 75 45 10 GALLERY Tbilisi. 12 Erekle II St. Tel: 93 12 89

75 Agmashenebeli Ave. Tbilisi Tel: 577 18 27 87 Email:

GSS Car rental offers a convenient service for those who are interested in renting car in Georgia. Rental fleet mainly consist of Japanese made SUV’s, the company has various models of cars including sedans and minivans which are in good technical condition. Contact information: Email: Address: Shalva Dadiani 10

Limelight Travel info Center Address: 13 Sioni Street, 0105, Tbilisi (at the end of Shardeni Street) Phone: +995 322 999 123 E-mail: Web-page: Facebook page:

Theatres A. GRIBOEDOV RUSSIAN STATE DRAMA THEATRE Tbilisi. 2 Rustaveli Ave. Tel: 93 58 11, Fax: 93 31 15 INDEPENDENT THEATRE Tbilisi. 2 Rustaveli Ave. Tel: 98 58 21, Fax: 93 31 15 K. MARJANISHVILI STATE ACADEMIC THEATRE Tbilisi. 8 Marjanishvili St. Tel: 95 35 82, Fax: 95 40 01 M. TUMANISHVILI CINEMA ACTORS THEATRE Tbilisi. 164 Agmashenebeli Ave. Tel: 35 31 52, 34 28 99, Fax: 35 01 94 METEKHI – THEATRE OF GEORGIAN NATIONAL BALLET Tbilisi. 69 Balanchivadze St. Tel: (99) 20 22 10 MUSIC AND DRAMATIC STATE THEATRE Tbilisi. 182 Agmashenebeli Ave. Tel: 34 80 90, Fax: 34 80 90 NABADI - GEORGIAN FOLKLORE THEATRE Tbilisi. 19 Rustaveli Ave. Tel: 98 99 91 S. AKHMETELI STATE DRAMATIC THEATRE Tbilisi. 8 I. Vekua St. Tel: 62 59 73

The Best Georgian Honey of chestnuts,acacia and lime flowers from the very hart of Adjara Matchakhela gorge in the network of Goodwill, Nikora and smart



January 22, 2018 #222

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