Caucasus Business Week #297

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September 30, 2019 -


WEEK p.3


OPIC commits USD 15 mln Loan to JSC Liberty Bank

Vintage Economy


Georgian Road Infrastructure – completed and protracted Projects

p.6 p.7

GEL Exchange rate and effect of Banking Regulations

Business Sector on NDI Report – a Responsible Business appreciates the Voice of Society, but the System is Vitally Important


WaveTech creates Electronic Gloves for Blind People to become more Socially Active

2 September 30, 2019 #297

Georgia signed Visa-free Regime Agreement with Paraguay Visa-free regime has been introduced between Georgia and Paraguay.

ADB Georgia has a New Director Asia Development Bank in Georgia has a new director. This position is already occupied by Shane Rosenthal. Georgian government already received information from the Ministry of Finances.

Banking Sector’s Profits rose by 8% to 553.5 million GEL in January-August Period Profits of Georgia-based commercial banks in January-August 2019 made up 553.5 million GEL, up 8% compared to the same period of 2018.

GEL-denominated Loans in August rose by 323 million GEL In August 2019, as compared to July 2019, GEL-denominated loans issued by Georgia-based commercial banks (excluding interbank loans) rose by 323 million GEL, whilst foreign currency denominated loans rose by 13 million GEL.

EBRD shows Willingness to engage in Anaklia Project Implementation

UNICEF welcomes Adoption of Code on the Rights of the Child in Georgia

‘We are ready to engage in Anaklia project implementation if we see a valuable commercial solution”, EBRD first vice president Jurgen Rigterink told the Analytics in his exclusive interview that will be broadcast by TV1 on September 27.

Child by the Georgian Parliament by describing it “a groundbreaking achievement “ and expressed hope that the Code will have “a long-lasting effect on the lives of children in Georgia.”

Parliament to revise 2019 State Budget, Domestic Debt to rise to Historical 900 million GEL

Flynas launches Regular Flights from Riyadh to Tbilisi

Government of Georgia has forwarded the 2019 state budget revision bill to the Parliament. Under the bill, the Government will borrow 500 million GEL financial resources in addition and total domestic debt will rise to 900 million GEL. This is the biggest debt amount ever.

Flynas, the second largest national airline of Saudi Arabia, launches direct regular flights from Airport in Riyadh to Tbilisi, starting from October 2, 2019.

Georgia to host UNWTO Executive Board Meeting in 2020 In June 2020 Georgia will host the meeting of the executive board of UN World Tourism Organization (WTO). Deposits at Commercial Banks grow to 25.3 Billion GEL, Larization hits 36% According to the National Bank of Georgia (NBG), volume of nonbank deposits in the banking sector made up 25 340 000 000 GEL as of September 1, 2019, up 344 900 000 GEL (+1.38%), compared to August 1, 2019 (without exchange rate effect, up 1.58%).

The Editorial Board Follows Press Freedom Principles Publisher: LLC Caucasian Business Week - CBW Director: Levan Beglarishvili WWW.CBW.GE Address: Aleksidze Street 1 Sales: Mob: +995 591 01 39 36 Email: Editor: Nutsa Galumashvili. Mobile phone: 595 380382 Copy Editor: Ellie Rambo Reporters: Nina Gomarteli; Mariam Kopaliani; Merab Janiashvili, Economic columnist: Andria Gvidiani; Technical Assistant: Giorgi Kheladze;

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OPIC commits USD 15 mln Loan to JSC Liberty Bank Today, the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), the U.S. Government’s development finance institution, signed a Commitment Letter to provide USD 15 mln in financing to JSC Liberty Bank. The financing will be used to upgrade Liberty Bank’s infrastructure, including the roll-out of approximately 500 state-of-the-art ATMs.

This project is part of Liberty Bank’s ongoing strategy to become a leading full-service Bank in Georgia. Following the change of ownership in Liberty Bank in 2017, the new management have embarked on an aggressive business transformation strategy. Key pillars of Liberty Bank’s new targets include.

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Vintage Economy What problems do wine growers and winemakers face in the homeland of winemaking? How is the 2019 vintage proceeding, and how much do the grapes cost? To explore the issue in details, 3 presenters of the BusinessPartner TV Program visited Akhasheni and met with founders of small and medium wine cellars. Levan Mekhuzla, head of the National Wine Agency, told the BusinessPartner, TV program broadcast by Channel 1, the Georgian Public Broadcast (GPB), that the year of 2019 is the first year in Georgian winemaking history where the country has used cadastre for grape growing. In four microzones of Kakheti, such as Kindzmarauli, Kvareli, Mukuzani and Akhasheni,the grapes were very successfully sold according to grapes cadastre. The National Wine Agency hopes that in 2-3 years, the cadastre will fully cover Kakheti-based vineyards. Mekhuzla pointed out that a vineyard’s cadastre is one of the key challenges in winemaking and the winegrowing field. “Prior to considering the production phase, we should mention the vintage cadastre issue. In the end, we should have inventoried the total space of vineyards in Georgia. Everything depends on financial resources. Regretfully, we do not have much potential to make an inventory of the total space at once. This year, for the first time, we are growing the vintage in a cadastre in two microzones of Kindzmarauli and Mukuzani. In reality, there are four microzones, because Kindzmarauli and Kvareli (both are microzones) neighbor each other, and Mukuzani (microzone) also overlaps with Akhasheni (microzone). Therefore, in these four microzones, we have successful sales of grapes due to our usage of vintage cadastre. We will cover the whole region of Kakheti in 2-3 years”, Mekhuzla noted. As to the 2019 vintage process, Mekhuzla noted that the vintage started later because of bad weather, and the majority of grapes are Rkatsiteli and Saperavi. As of 10 o’clock on September 23, 101,000 tons of grapes were processed in the Kakheti region, including 65,000 tons of Rkatsiteli, 28,000 tons of Saperavi, and the remainder were other grape varieties. The price of Rkatsiteli is 70-80 Tetri, Saperavi are around 1.50-1.60 GEL. Prices in Mukuzani zone make up 2.50 GEL, Mekhuzla said. “The minimum price of Rkatsiteli per kilogram is 70 Tetri. In special cases (high-quality grapes), for instance in the Tsinandali microzone, the price per kilogram can hit even 80 Tetri. Prices are higher for other varieties of white grapes, such as Kakhuri Green and Khikhvi. As for Saperavi, the price of Saperavi outside the microzone ranges from 1.50 to 1.60 GEL, sometimes higher. As for the Saperavi microzone, for example, Mukuzani, the price per kilogram is 1.90-2.00 GEL. As for Kindzmarauli, the prices are higher – 2.20-.250 GEL”, Levan Mekhuzla noted. The current model of cooperation in the field of Georgian winemaking and winegrowing should be strengthened by a European component of cooperation, too, as noted by Deputy Business Ombudsman and co-presenter of the BusinessPartner TV Program Levan Kalandadze.


t would be reasonable if the government temporarily engages in the mentioned model, Kalandadze said. “We have the free market, and this is a very important component. Conceptually, the government carries out the right policy by not intervening in selecting the grapes’ market price, and this tendency should be maintained. However, I like the European model of wine market development very much. In this regard, it is very important to strengthen the state’s role. The current model of cooperation, for example, in the field of winegrowing and winemaking, offers the ability to shape associations, and to get a shared product – grapes. I believe that the European model, in combination with the current model, will enable our ability to add three components cooperation. Namely, the cooperation format will include winegrowers, producers and management – the group engaged in grapes sales. The government’s engagement is necessary in the initial phase, and the government should withdraw from the project in 2-3 years”, Levan Kalandadze said. Owners of small wine cellars noted that small and medium wine cellars should be developed to promote the fields of Georgian wine growing and winemaking. Moreover, winegrowers and winemakers should intensify their cooperation to improve the price, quality and sales of grapes. To this end, it would be optimal to introduce the European model of cooperation that unites winegrowers, winemakers and the chain of marketing, they noted. “Cooperation and collaboration with family-based business are favorable for winegrowers, winemakers and buyers, because high-quality products are sold at an affordable price. This should be a key motivation. This model can be seen in France, Italy, Spain, Israel, Australia and New Zealand”, Gia Piradashvili, owner of Viniveria noted. For me, the quality is a priority issue, as well as the reliability of a winegrower, his honesty, not the price. We should develop an industry that will place their focus on quality issues, Piradashvili said. Tamar Dighmelishvili, founder of Tamara Wine Cellar, noted that this year, all winegrowers should, first of all, think of grape quality. The association of winegrowers should be established as part of a new regional development project, she pointed out. Tornike Chubinidze, founder of Chubini Marani, stated that small and medium companies place focus on quality issues, and only after that can they think of prices. “Based on the scale of our production and limited volumes, we prefer to produce premium quality wines. When we communicate with major companies, then the cost of the product becomes more important”, Chubinidze said ,and further noted that the price of grapes in major companies make the final price more expensive. “An ideal solution would be if farmers do not supply grapes to wineries, but create the final product themselves. In this case, farmers should care more for grapes quality and regulate productivity to get highquality and avoid overproduction. We should follow these principles, but many years will be needed”, Chubinidze noted. Beka Nasrashvili, founder of Nasrashvilis’ Marani, explains that winegrowers should know for whom they make wines, and for whom they grow grapes, in order to be able to create first class wines

Georgian Road Infrastructure – completed and protracted Projects The construction of the most complicated section of the highway is underway. How does road construction work proceed,and why can't the government make a timely usage of the allocated funds? Why are infrastructure projects protracted? The Road Department Chairman, Irakli Karseladze, talked about these and other issues for the TV Program BusinessPartner. The Road Department will be a valuable part of the 2019 budget, accounting for 302 million GEL, as the department has been successfully fulfilled over a 6- and 8-month budgets, Irakli Karseladze noted. Road construction projects are frequently protracted, and the budget plan cannot be fulfilled; however, this year no project was suspended, and the 2019 budget will definitely be fulfilled, Karseladze said. “We had the biggest budget in 2018. In 2017, the figure made up 873 million GEL. Last year, the actual spending was at 1.204 billion GEL, that is, the department spent 400 million GEL more money. Today, we have better indicators. According to the January-June report, we have recorded 36% growth, compared to the same period in 2018. As to the January-August report, we have a 50% upturn compared to August 2018”, Karseladze said. “We should mention that, according to the January-August report, we have spent 565 million GEL on rehabilitating 510 km of roads, twice as much when compared to the same period of 2018, when only 218 km of roads were rehabilitated”Karseladze said. As for specific projects, locations, and the plans for 2020, Karseladze noted that very important projects are being implemented through the state budget. The issue covers such important projects as the 27-km section of Tianeti-Akhmeta road, as this project will essentially alleviate road traffic between two municipalities. Residents will save time. Important infrastructural projects for the tourism sector will be finished in the Racha region by the end of 2019; namely, the approach road to Nikortsminda, Khvamli Pills in Lechkhumi, as well as the Gordi-Dzedzileti project that will halve the length of the road

from Prometheus Cave to Okaste Canyon. As for the problem of suspended projects, all major projects have various problems, Karseladze noted. For example, the Gurjaani bypass road will be finished by 2020. “In general, in Kakheti, we are implementing results-oriented contract for rehabilitating roads, where a 117 km section has already moved to maintenance. This type of contract is important, because over the past 5 years, including for two years, the same company carries out rehabilitation and periodic repair, and then ensures the maintenance of this network. This is a good motivation for highquality rehabilitation work, so less money needs to be spent on maintenance works. We will repeat the same practice in the region of Guria, too. This will foster the development of local companies”, Karseladze noted. No project was suspended in 2019, and even problematic projects were resumed. As for tenders, 662 million GEL worth were listed as part of the state budget, and the necessary agreements were also signed, Karseladze noted. “No project has been postponed. Moreover, we have doubled the pace and resumed even suspended projects, including the SamtrediaGrigoleti road. In 2020, a fourlane concrete-asphalt highway will bypass a 14-km section of the Japana-Lanchkhuti road, which is the most densely populated area. The Kutaisi two-lane bypass road will be also finished in 2020, as well as the Khashuri 4-lane concrete bypass highway, which will be 13 km in length”, Karseladze noted.

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6 September 30, 2019 #297

GEL Exchange rate and effect of Banking Regulations The national currency exchange rate and its effect on business, complaints about GEL volatility that was for the first time mentioned in the IMF press release, the National Bank’s forecasts regarding GEL and the central bank’s appraisals of the effect that came after 9 months of enforcement of the banking regulations - Archil Mestvirishvili, vice president of the National Bank of Georgia (NBG) told the BusinessPartner TV program that the NBG is discontent with the current exchange rate, as it grows inflation risks. Consequently, the NBG will keep tightening the monetary policy until inflation risks are removed and this alleviation should be reflected on the national currency exchange rate too, he said. Lari depreciated more than external macroeconomic factors could cause. Exports are growing by over 12%, imports have declined by 4.4% in January-August 2019. In this respect the currency market demonstrates positive tendencies, Mestvirishvili noted. „Money transfers are growing by about 8%. Several days ago we published the tourism sector statistics and a 13% slowdown was recorded in July, 10% - in August. As to annual statistics, the growth was around 0%. This is one of the factors that have affected the GEL exchange rate. However, we do not have full picture yet. When we have payment balance, the whole picture will be outlined, but we can say definitely that the current rate has depreciated more than the real external shocks could cause”, the NBG vice president explained. Archil Mestvirishvili stressed that a key mission of the NBG is to ensure stability of prices as a necessary factor for long-term economic growth, whilst the latter component depends on midterm dynamics of inflation, which, based on the GEL exchange rate, is not optimal today. Therefore, the NBG will keep tightening the monetary policy, Mestvirishvili said. „Midterm dynamics of inflation is a key factor for long-term economic growth, whilst the current exchange rate makes negative impact on inflation. We have already started tightening the monetary policy. This is our key instrument (raising the refinancing rate) and we will take consecutive steps. We have to tighten the monetary policy. Naturally, these steps will affect the exchange rate, because the exchange rate is one of the transmission channels”, Archil Mestvirishvili said. The NBG vice president abstained from making forecasts regarding the GEL exchange rate, but noted that the NBG will tighten the monetary policy until the inflation risks are removed. According to Mestvirishvili, the floating exchange rate cannot be forecast. Some experts may be providing similar forecasts, but none of central banks make similar efforts, he said. ‘Our message is that we do not like the current exchange rate, because it generates inflation problems. Consequently, we will tighten the monetary policy to prevent a transmission of effect from the exchange rate to inflation. Frequently the NBG talks about other exchange rate – nominal exchange rate, that is, average weighed exchange rate in relation to currencies of our trade partner countries, whilst the business sector and our citizens talk about the GEL-USD exchange rates. Naturally, the GEL-USD exchange rate depends on the USD exchange rate and its

trends. Therefore, I cannot provide any forecasts, but we will continue tightening the monetary policy until inflation risks are removed”, Archil Mestvirishvili said. Expectations that Russia could impose trade embargo on Georgia turned out one of the key factors for the national currency devaluation and similar grounds genuinely existed. The mentioned expectation was aggravated by absolutely ungrounded doubts as if it was the NBG’s interest to depreciate GEL. To dismiss similar doubts, the NBG spent 30 million USD from international currency reserves, Mestvirishvili noted. “As to interventions. Today, we have one of the highest currency reserves in our history. Several months ago we were saying that the indicator would fall below the IMF-determined minimum metric, but now we have more resources. This mechanism has both positive and negative effects. One of the important factors why we have used the reserves was the allegation as if the NBG was interested in GEL devaluation. Naturally, this is untrue. In exchange, we have used reserves. When there are one-time transactions, we use reserves to neutralize them. In that period there was a small but certain one-time transaction, but we just reacted to the existing expectations to prove that we have reserves and we will use it when necessary”, the NBG vice president explained. The NBG vice president has also talked about the effect that the national currency exchange rate makes on Georgian business. The private sector names the mentioned issue number one problem and this factor makes negative impact on inflation. To remove pressure from inflation, the NBG has tightened the monetary policy and we will continue this policy until the inflation risks are removed, Archil Mestvirishvili noted and added that GEL-denominated mortgage loans are better, they are less risky and finally, cost-efficient and this is why the NBG carries out loans Larization policy. Mestvirishvili suggests the population to take loans in GEL. „Naturally, those who had taken foreign currency denominated loans, have to pay more money compared to GEL-denominated loans. Scales of rising in loan value is very different. Therefore, we say that a GELdenominated mortgage loan is better, less risky and finally, cost-efficient compared to foreign currency denominated mortgage loans. This is the key reason for Larization. As to the effect that higher refinancing rate may make on mortgage loans, this is a long-term loan, 5-10 year loan and it is important that in the same period the long-term interest rate be low. If the National Bank raises or lowers the rate, in whole the loan interest rate will be lower for a period of 5-10 years. There are floating interest rates that are affected by changes in our policy and there are fixed-rate loans with about 2%-3% higher rates compared to loans with floating rates. Changes will apply to loans with floating rates, but these loans will be cheaper ultimately compared to foreign currency denominated loans”, Mestvirishvili noted. The NBG is working on revising the banking regulations, but this does not signify that regulations will be smoothed or principles will change. However, banking regulations may become more flexible, Mestvirishvili explained. “As to regulations, we permanently analyze and appraise how well they work and whether they need revision. As to revision principles, we are working on this issue, but this does not signify that principles will change. We talk about simplification, not smoothing. We have information from the private sector how these regulations work in practice. Moreover, on our website these regulations are accompanied by questions and answers on several pages, because specific questions were posed regarding specific articles. Therefore, the next phase of revision of our regulations will transform these questions into principles for our document. The document that was based on rules will be transformed into principlebased document. At this stage, we plan to simplify regulations, but we should not call it a smoothing. At a certain stage these regulations may be smoothed, or tightened, but the general policy is to simplify regulations to make them more flexible, so as commercial banks and microfinance organizations have more space for maneuvering under the current regulations”, Archil Mestvirishvili noted.

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Business Sector on NDI Report – a Responsible Business appreciates the Voice of Society, but the System is Vitally Important According to a survey conducted by the National Democratic Institute (NDI), 49% of respondents find the new banking regulations enforced in January 2019 acceptable. In response to the question of whether they find new regulations reasonable in that they oblige loan-issuing companies to request a solvency proof, and restrict the size of a loan due to a real solvency amount, 49% confirmed that this regulation is acceptable and reasonable, while 34% disapproved of them, while the remaining 16% found it difficult to answer this question. In the capital, 49% of respondents found the banking regulations acceptable, 40% found it unacceptable, and 11% could not answer the question. As to major cities: 49% positively appraised this regulation, 30% rejected it, and 20% could not answer the question. In villages, 51% approved the regulation, 33% disapproved, and 15% abstained from answering the question. This public survey was held from July 13 to July 29, and 2,131 complete interviews were held. The average mean of error is +/1,7%. What is the business sector’s position, and how does it appraise the NDI’s report? Businessman Lasha Papashvili says that it is very difficult for citizens to thoroughly perceive and analyze processes that will bring real results in 6 months to a year. Improper decisions taken by the regulator will bring real outcomes later, the businessman noted. “Citizens have one view, and we have another position”, Papashvili noted. In response to the question of whether the survey results reflect the negative public attitude towards commercial banks, Papashvili explained that there is no country in the world, where citizens do not protest against commercial banks.

However, communications and commercial banks are inseparable parts of a country, Papashvili noted. “Responsible business always appreciates the voice of society, but the system is vitally important. Amid such differences in public opinion, I would blame the regulator in this regard. The regulator intends to harmonize various positions and provide an efficient PR campaign focusing on this important system, and its policy should be to smoothe over the whole situation”, Papashvili said. Businessman Irakli Gurchiani, the founder of Toyota Center Tbilisi, explains that the NDI report is anecdotical. We should not expect any economic revival until usurers have been removed, until the country is civilized. “How can this situation be positive? To buy a fridge, you should have a salary five times higher. Officials assert that the average salary in Georgia is 1,200 GEL, but all of us know that this is not true. Someone has a 30,000 GEL salary, but the majority makes 500 GEL, and it is nonsense to calculate the average figure between these two figures. Today the average salary in Georgia is 500 GEL”, Gurchiani noted. In response to the question of whether the survey results reflect public protest, Gurchiani agreed that public protest may be the real reason behind similar results. “Not only do the protests exist in our society, but 90% of our citizens consider commercial banks the enemy. Any citizen that you stop on the street will name commercial banks as one of the reasons for their misfortune. High interest rates are the reason. There is one moment: you should not take loans if you are insolvent, but when you need money very badly, and you need to buy medicine, you have to take loans anyway”, Gurchiani said.

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Natia Aspanidze: "Creating a Service for selling a Product is One of the Important Preconditions" Interview with Marketing Manager at Decoline Construction- Interior Design Company, Natia Aspanidze. Tell us about how you got into the field of marketing, and what factors played an important role in choosing this profession? I am a journalist by profession, but the field of public relations was no stranger. From my sophomore year onwards, I worked in public relations and sales, and then I became interested in marketing. I took PR and marketing courses during my maternity leave- theoretical knowledge is important by itself, but practice in any profession is key. Especially in this area, where you have an unlimited space for bold and creative ideas that come out and implement. What challenges do you face as a leader in marketing during a time of technological change? Competition and constant updates; these are two key factors that are driving forces behind all companies in marketing. The fact that everyone agrees on, is that technological development is directly linked to changes in the marketing processes. Marketing goes through several stages: production concept, product concept, selling concept, marketing concept, societal concept, and embracing the digital age. Digital marketing is one of the biggest challenges in this field. The product that those in marketing create must be interesting and necessary for the public, and the company, but must also be adapted to the environment in which we live, and we all know that we are in the age of digital technology. What has changed in the field in the last 5 years, and what changes are expected? Changes are essential in all fields and in every profession, it’s vital, as a living organism grows and develops, so does the marketing field. For the last 5 years, companies and marketing services have realized that the key is not to "sell the product" (at any cost) but to create a service, namely marketing service, as one of the most important prerequisites for selling the product. I think we need to think more about social responsibility when creating a product, along with customer needs, sales growth, increasing awareness. I don't know if there will be changes in this regard, but I would like all companies and marketing services to be focused on this.

What do you think are the most important traits a marketing manager should have, and what is his or her role in the organization in general? Responsibility is a quality that everyone in every profession needs first and foremost. I always give this anecdote; one shouldn’t even sell a sunflower irresponsibly. And when you are in marketing, you have a triple responsibility: the community, the company, yourself and your profession. What are you doing to help the organization keep up with new trends and use innovative approaches in the field of marketing? We offer construction and repairs to our customers, an area where standards of quality must be upheld. What we always pride ourselves on is customer service and a highly professional approach to our business. Our success lies in the work we do; our advertisers are satisfied customers. It is also important for us to communicate effectively with the customer and keep track of what the customer wants, and when to offer what.

One word that describes your job. It is such a broad field that it is impossible to describe it in one word, but what most closely matches is the word "important". The most useful advice you’ve ever received in your life? I have received many useful tips, and still get them from interesting people around me, but I still remember my professor's words, during a lecture:"Constant movement and learning (not only academic) is the key to human evolution and success"- it’s not exactly advice, but still, there is some kernel of truth in this sentence for me. Think of a person who inspires you, professionally. I can’t think of a specific person, although my friends are examples of professionalism and humanity. I am constantly improving with them.

9 September 30, 2019 #297

Business News

Natakhtari expects Sales to rise by 3%-5% in December 2019

The winner company to construct Oni Museum in Racha has been identified. The Bidding was conducted by the Municipal Development Fund (MDF) of the Ministry of Regional Development and Infrastructure of Georgia (MRDI).

Natakhtari sales will rise by 3%-5% at the end of 2019, the company corporate director Nikoloz Khundzakishvili said.

First visit of Dribbble in Georgia for UI/UX Designers For the first time in Georgia meeting will be held for UI/UX, which is supported by Dribbble. Organizer of the event is UX designer of the Bank of Georgia, Bacho Barnabishvili. Zviad Tsikolia to create Qvevri-Inspired Rings In the new line of Zviad Tsikoria, only rings will be presented and in the near future, earrings, necklaces, and other accessories.

Business Ombudsman of Georgia to establish Contacts with Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan On the margins of the international business conference "Creating a favorable environment for sustainable business in Eastern Europe and Central Asia", which takes place in Tbilisi on October 11, the Business Ombudsman of Georgia Irakli Lekvinadze will draw up memoranda of cooperation with colleagues from Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, and Poland.

“Meidan Group� sets up Georgian Wine Museum

Georgian Startup to reveal the Method of Multiplying Oil-eating Bacterium

Georgia is considered as ancient wine making country, with 8000-year winemaking tradition. On the global map Georgia is marked as a homeland of winemaking.

BioCure is the new startup founded by Soso Tsabadze and Temo Rukhaia, which is the ecological method of cleaning up pollution and oil spills. Online Platform Grape Stock-market in Georgia Grape stock-market has appeared on the market nearly a week ago, as the head of the project, Giga Gotoshia states. Local Lore Museum to be built in Racha

China Southern Airlines to publish Annual Report Hotels Preference Hualing Tbilisi hosted the annual report presentation by China Southern Airlines. The event was led by general director of Xinjiang branch of China Southern Airlines, Tsai Ing-wen. As he declared, China Southern Airlines air force is in the first place by its size in Asia and on the 3rd place in the world. He also mentioned that the airlines transit more than 15 million passengers annually, which encourages to create air corridor for economic collaboration and cooperation.

IE University and Startuperi host Entrepreneurship Day IE University and Startuperi host an Enterpreneurship day on October 8 at Expo Georgia.

10 September 30, 2019 #297

WaveTech creates Electronic Gloves for Blind People to become more Socially Active The digital revolution has not touched everyone in the same way. In a world where the next great invention is expected to appear on the screens of mobile phones, blind people have been left behind. However, WaveTech aims to exploit the potential of new technologies to make their life easier, and to also help them become more socially active. They are currently finalists at the Social Impact Awards, a project that empowers youth to make a difference. CBW conducted an interview with Nikoloz Sakandelidze, Iva Kalandadze and Archil Sharashenidze, co-founders of company WaveTech, and their project TapText: First of all, I would like to ask, how much of a social impact do you think Tap Text can make? Tell us a little bit more of your project. Tap-Text is a project by the Wave Tech company that will bring the blind one step closer to the digital social world. Our device consists of two electronic gloves; a

person puts the gloves on, and by tapping their fingers on any surface he or she sends messages, e-mails to anybody, writes posts on social networks. The text written in the braille alphabet will be converted into any desired language. As a result, the blind become more involved in our daily lives. To paraphrase the American astronaut Neil Armstrong to describe our project. "It's a small step for a man, and a giant leap for the blind." - Archil Sharashenidze. How did you come up with the idea, which factor helped you implement and develop your startup? Where are people with disabilities? Why aren't they members of our daily lives? It didn’t take us too much thinking, that our product was intended for the blind. When searching for one of the articles on the Internet, we found that the blind could not easily type text like us. That's when the main idea and the purpose of our project was revealed. We had to create a device that would

allow blind people to type and manipulate electronic text. ”Archil Sharashenidze Who’s your team and what’s work process like? Team members are all students at the Free University of Tbilisi. We study together at the Mathematics and Computer Science’s Bachelor program. Our decent knowledge of hardware/software engineering allows all three of us to support the project on both the hardware(engineering) and software(coding) sides. At this stage of our project, we spend most of our time on improving the device technically, and making it more user-friendly, as our first priority is to make the users, blind people, feel comfortable using our device -Nikoloz Sakandelidze

to get a fully functional device.Nikoloz Sakandelidze You are a finalist in SIA Georgia. What excites you the most, right now, and what do you see as your next step? We are pleased that we have accumulated a wealth of experience and knowledge with this project, and managing a startup that will help us

What technologies do you use to implement your idea? Currently, we have the very first version of our device’s prototype. For this version, we use different types of microcontrollers as the brain of our device, and different types of wireless and non wireless sensors ,for example: touch sensors, which gives us information about fingers touching some surface, etc. It might seem that the product’s architecture is not too complex, but as a result, it took our team a significant amount of time

develop the project, and obtain the final product for sale. At this point, we are trying to refine the project both technically and in terms of our business. The team's near future is to win at SIA Georgia, which is one of our key aspirations toward this greater goal. - Iva Kalandadze We wish you good luck!

5G - What to expect from Innovative Technology

The 5G technology is the cornerstone of a smart world in which everything is interconnected, providing users with high bandwidth and high speed. "5G provides the fastest connectivity in the modern world, and countries that choose agility and technological development will always be ahead.

Countries that refuse such technology should be prepared that their economic progress may slow,” -said HUAWEI founder and CEO Ren Zhengfei. Zhengfei also confirms information about the sale of HUAWEI’s 5G technology license: "Giving others a license doesn't mean that HUAWEI will not continue working on 5G. The proceeds from the license sales will be used for the implementation of the company’s future plans. We hope that the speed of technological development in the West will increase, so we want to sell a 5G license that will make the company's development process easier. We think HUAWEI will continue to be the leader in 6G research, though it is expected that commercial consumption of 6G will not start for at least 10 years." Optical fiber networks and 5G technology will connect super computers and super storage systems to support artificial intelligence (AI): "When we say that AI can increase productivity ten times, it's just an

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estimate. In fact, in some rare cases, with the help of AI, the efficiency can be increased 100 times or even 1000 times,” notes HUAWEI CEO. HUAWEI products and services are available in more than 170 countries and are used by a third of the world's population. There are 16 research and development centers operating worldwide in the USA, Germany, Sweden, Russia, India and China. HUAWEI Consumer BG is one of HUAWEI's three business units, mainly focusing on Smartphones, personal computers, tablets and cloud services. HUAWEI Global Network is based on 20 years’ experience in the telecommunications business and serves to provide innovative technologies to customers around the world.

Google’s Demand to the US Government Along with negotiations between the US government and HUAWEI, Google is trying to persuade the US to allow HUAWEI to use Google's ecosystem. HUAWEI's operating system was not originally intended for smartphones. In addition, Google's operating system is public, so the company has the opportunity to use it. "The United States is limiting our use of Google's mobile services,” says HUAWEI CEO Ren Zhengfei. “Google's ecosystem encompasses thousands of partners, and HUAWEI won't be able to create such a system in a few days. If the US government allows us to continue

using Google's ecosystem, the US will maintain its dominant position in this area. If it refuses, it will be bad for them in the future.” HUAWEI is ready to express its good will and grant Western countries the license to use their technology. In doing so, the company once again justifies its aspiration: "serve humanity and reach the pinnacle of science." HUAWEI products and services are available in more than 170 countries and are used by a third of the world's population. There are 16 research and development centers operating worldwide in the

USA, Germany, Sweden, Russia, India and China. HUAWEI Consumer BG is one of HUAWEI's three business units, mainly focusing on Smartphones, personal computers, tablets and cloud services. HUAWEI Global Network is based on 20 years’ experience in the telecommunications business and serves to provide innovative technologies to customers around the world.

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