Issue no: 884/47
• OCTOBER 4 - 6, 2016
• PUBLISHED TWICE WEEKLY
In this week’s issue...
New Regulations Introduced for Beauty Salons
ON ACCOUNTABILITY Developers with dollars in their eyes while careless citizens choke on the dust
PRICE: GEL 2.50
ISET PAGE 4
Georgia to Host 7th Annual Large-Scale Telecom Meeting PAGE 5
New Player in the Georgian Cement Market PAGE 6
British Embassy in Tbilisi Organizes British Business Group Meeting Tbilisi Mayor Narmania has been criticized for "ungreen" city planning
Two New Enterprises Open in Central Georgia BY THEA MORRISON
New Scandinavian Brand in Tbilisi
wo new enterprises were opened on Friday in Georgia’s Shida Kartli region, in the small towns of Agara and Kaspi. The enterprise in Agara to produce fruit spirits was established under the umbrella of the state initiated Preferential Agro Credit Program and created 50 new jobs for locals. USD 4.5 million was invested in the factory, equipped with modern Italian devices. It purchases non-standard fruit and manufactures 86-proof spirits. The opening ceremony was attended by Georgia’s Prime Minister, Giorgi Kvirikashvili, and the Minister of Economy Dimitry Kumsishvili. Continued on page 2
PM in a new enterprise producing fruit spirits in Agara
ADAMI Media Prize to Award Outstanding Filmmakers Exploring Cultural Diversity in Eastern Europe SOCIETY PAGE 12 Prepared for Georgia Today Business by
STOCKS BankofGeorgia(BGEOLN) GHG(GHGLN) TBCBankGroup(TBCGLN)
COMMODITIES CrudeOil,Brent(US$/bbl) GoldSpot(US$/OZ)
OCTOBER 4 - 6, 2016
New Regulations Introduced for Beauty Salons
Two New Enterprises Open in Central Georgia
BY NINO GUGUNISHVILI
Valeri Kvaratskhelia, Deputy Minister of Health, announcing the new legislation
etter late than never, October 1st will officially mark a new era for the many beauty salons and aesthetic centers in Georgia. According to the Georgian Ministry of Labor, Health and Social Affairs of Georgia, a penalty is to be issued to all establishments that continue to function without registration. The change is being introduced as one of the steps the government has pledged to take to reduce the spread of the Hepatitis C virus. “The registration and inspection of beauty salons and aesthetic clinics will reduce the risk of transmission of infectious diseases,” Valeri Kvaratskhelia, Deputy Minister of Health stated. The Ministry of Health issued a list of required standards that every beauty salon and aesthetic clinic must follow. This regulates such things as general hygiene, use of gloves, sterilization and disinfection practises. The penalties for violation of sterilization procedures and sanitary norms range from 50 to 100 GEL for physical entities and from 200 GEL for legal entities. The recently announced regulations will also apply to dentistry clinics following the implementation of the licencing system.
A newly-opened high-tech microbiology enterprise Geofert in Kaspi
Continued from page 1 The PM noted that, in general, the selling of non-standard fruit is not easy, however, this factory solved this problem and created direct and indirect workplaces for many people by purchasing the fruit and fostering small farms in the rural areas. The factory will also manufacture production for export. A special laboratory that ensures the high standard of products also functions in the building. Moreover, the venture intends to produce alcohol beverages with various fruit flavors and increase the number of employees. The Preferential Agro Credit project was launched by the government in 2013 in order to support new agricultural businesses. Prior to arriving in Agara, the PM opened another factory in Kaspi, central Georgia. New venture Geofert manufactures environmentally-friendly bacterial, organic and mineral fertilizers. The plant is equipped with ultramodern devices and production lines and also boasts a laboratory which enables the study of new technologies and development of
new microbiological chemicals. The enterprise was founded by Cartu Charity Foundation (Cartu Fund), founded by Georgia’s ex-Prime Minister and billionaire Bidzina Ivanishvili. In total USD 7 million was invested in the new factory. PM Kvirikashvili noted that a significant part of the new equipment was made by Georgian scientists and engineers and this helped to keep costs down. “If imported equipment had been installed, the cost could have reached USD 25-30 million,” he said. “Products manufactured at this enterprise are ecologically clean, helping boost Georgia’s potential image of a manufacturer of biologically and ecologically clean products," the PM noted. At present, 120 individuals are employed at the enterprise. After the plant becomes fully operational, the number of employed individuals is expected to increase. "This is a good example of how new technologies and Georgian scientists can contribute to the development of an enterprise that introduces groundbreaking methodologies in the field of agriculture," Kvirikashvili said, addressing locals and employees of the venture.
GEORGIA TODAY OCTOBER 4 - 6, 2016
Large Investment Funds to Enter Georgia
CSR: Grant Thornton Visits Children Day Care Center
BY NINO GUGUNISHVILI
T New Mall Opens in Tbilisi’s Gldani District BY NATIA LIPARTELIANI
eorgia’s capital welcomed the opening of a new threestorey, 40.000 sqm shopping center Friday in Tbilisi’s Gldani district.
Georgian Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili attended the mall's opening ceremony, saying he hoped that the construction of similar shopping centers would provide new employment opportunities for Tbilisi’s residents. Gldani City Mall is expected to employ up to 1,000 people once fully occupied.
he Georgian Partnership Fund is to invest in an International Consortium that will focus on development of small and medium businesses in Georgia - Prime Minister Kvirikashvili announced at a governmental meeting last week. The Georgian Partnership Fund is partnering with the Canadian Gazelle Fund which has a capital of USD 27.5 million, with an expected increase of investment to USD 70 million. 60 percent of its capital will be located in Georgia. The Gazelle Fund counts the DGGF (State Investment Fund of the Netherlands) and the Netherlands Development fund (FMO) amongst its partners. The Partnership Fund is also carrying out a project for energy sector development in the framework of which an American investment group, Shulze Global Investments, together with the European investment funds, are expected to enter Georgia. Headquartered in Singapore, Shulze Global Investments is renowned for its global transactions. “The Partnership Fund also plans to attract French investor Dominique Romano and the US’ Maclellan Foundation which will invest USD 10 million in Georgia,” Kvirikashvili said.
s part of Global Corporate Social Responsibility Day and as part of the global Grant Thornton initiative to unlock potential for growth in local communities, on 23rd September Grant Thornton Tbilisi staff spent the day at Tbilisi Children Day Care Center managed by World Vision Georgia. “Growing together in the community” is part of a global initiative to help communities unlock their potential for growth in the 130 countries in which Grant Thornton operates. “We are excited to join colleagues at World Vision in supporting kids at the Day Care Center,” said Nelson Petrosyan, managing partner of Grant Thornton. “Our people organized donations of clothing, books and toys and helped paint walls in the center. Our people spent the day interacting with children, playing with them and arranged a meal. We are keen to pay regular visits to these children. It’s important to con-
tinually support our local communities, stay connected. It is our way of giving back to communities that helped us become successful in what we do professionally.” “This day will be remembered by our children for a long time because it was not the only work that Grant Thornton did and the presents they gave, this was love and care from Grant Thornton people which is very important for the children,” said Tata Mikeladze, Program Quality Assurance Manager at World Vision Georgia. World Vision’s Day Care Crisis Intervention Center was established in 2014 in Tbilisi to give children living on the streets access to essential services and a safe and caring environment to promote and protect their educational and human rights. Each year, the center provides vulnerable children with medical, nutritional and psychological support. The long-term goal of the project is to help children turn their lives around and enable them to enter formal education.
OCTOBER 4 - 6, 2016
THE ISET ECONOMIST A BLOG ABOUT ECONOMICS AND THE SOUTH CAUCAUS
The ISET Policy Institute (ISET-PI, www.iset-pi.ge) is an independent think-tank associated with the International School of Economics at TSU (ISET). Our blog carries economic analysis of current events and policies in Georgia and the South Caucasus region ranging from agriculture, to economic growth, energy, labor markets and the nexus of economics, culture and religion. Thought-provoking and fun to read, our blog posts are written by international faculty teaching at ISET and recent graduates representing the new generation of Georgian, Azerbaijani and Armenian economists.
Breathing in Tbilisi Tempelhofer Feld is a beloved communal recreation area of Berliners. Tempelhofer Feld is not just a park. It is a park built instead of an airport. In 2008, when the almost century old Tempelhofer airport was closed, the city of Berlin declared the centrally located, 386-hectare (!) open space for public use. Today, the area has a six-kilometer cycling, skating and jogging trail, a 2.5-hectare barbeque area, a dogwalking field covering around four hectares, and an enormous picnic area for visitors – everything we, Tbilisi citizens, can only dream of.
BY MAKA CHITANAVA
Figure 1. Ambient Air Pollution for Selected Cities. WHO, May 2016
ecently, I signed an online petition initiated by volunteers, about preserving Tbilisi’s former hippodrome as a recreational zone, a kind of mini-Templehofer field for Tbilisi residents. I am not completely hopeless, but we may not have the collective power to protect this 62-hectare territory in central Tbilisi against the much better organized and wealthier developers who have been coveting this piece of land for more than a decade. If this pessimistic scenario unfolds, Tbilisi will remain polluted… a city for cars, not people: towers, unregulated construction everywhere, no proper urban planning, no clear zoning rules, few playgrounds, even fewer green spaces… A sad story indeed.
THE AIR WE BREATH According to the World Health Organization’s city pollution database (2016), more than 80 percent of people living in urban areas that monitor air pollution are exposed to air quality levels that exceed the WHO limits (the database covers 3,000 cities in 103 countries). Not surprisingly, using MP10 data, Tbilisi ranks #473 as one of the most polluted cities. Using MP2.5 data, Tbilisi ranks #571. Tbilisi’s annual mean values for MP10 stand at 55 mg/m3 and at 29 mg/ m3 for MP2.5, while according to WHO’s Air Quality Guidelines they should not exceed 20 and 10 mg/m3, respectively.
AIR QUALITY AND THE CITY’S GREEN LUNGS ARE PUBLIC GOODS! My pessimism regarding Tbilisi’s future was reinforced recently. Two months have passed since Guerrilla Gardening Tbilisi started a new wave of protests at Tbilisi City Hall. Their protest was triggered by the felling of century-old trees in the city center in order to construct
a 42-storey tower. Protesters demanded from the Mayor and City Hall that its Ecology and Landscaping department be staffed with qualified personnel and this case be properly investigated. So far, no (visible) action has been taken, making one wonder whether it is public interest that City Hall is mainly after. The quality of air, as well as parks and recreational areas, fall into the category of “common resources” that are equally accessible to all members of a society. There is an element of tragedy embedded in the notion of such resources precisely because of their shared nature: when following their own self-interest (and nothing else), individuals have the tendency to overuse and deplete common resources simply because they think that, well, it is only them doing it. Felling one tree may not be such a big deal in the “grand scheme of things.” But if everyone cuts (just) one tree, we will all suffer enormously. The most straightforward solution to this “tragedy of the commons” is to grant property rights over a common resource (say, a park) to an external authority – a private owner or the state, who will make sure to protect and restrict access to the resource they own or manage in order to maximize (private and public!) gains over time. The Georgian people have opted for the public management solution, granting the State of Georgia the
responsibility of managing their common resources in order to maximize social welfare and avoid a tragedy of the commons. Thus, in an ideal world, governed by wise state institutions and a benevolent local government, Tbilisi citizens should be assured that their common resources, such as national parks and recreation areas, are well protected. The fact that they are not suggests that Georgia’s state bureaucracy a) lacks the ability to manage our common resources, or (b) is not willing to serve the common good (serving somebody’s private interests instead), leaving people with no fresh air to breath. In fact, options (a) and (b) are not mutually exclusive. Development and construction does often come at a cost to the environment or cultural heritage (another type of common resource). City Hall may have reasons to believe that felling a few old trees or redeveloping a major recreation area in Tbilisi can promote economic growth, job creation, etc. That being so, Tbilisi citizens have the right to get a proper account of the in-depth economic analysis City Hall undertakes before deciding on such sensitive matters as the fate of the city’s only major recreation area. They have the right to know whether their health and recreation needs are being properly taken into account when awarding lucrative con-
HOW IS AIR POLLUTION MEASURED? The World Health Organization (WHO) measures air pollution by the mean concentration of particulate matter (PM), i.e. particles in the air with an aerodynamic diameter of 10 μm or less (PM10) and 2.5 μm or less (PM2.5). Those particles are things like organic dust, airborne bacteria, construction dust, and coal particles from power plants. The “10” and the “2.5” refer to microns. Particulate matter is associated with a broad spectrum of acute and chronic illnesses, such as lung cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and cardiovascular diseases. Worldwide, it is estimated to cause about 16% of lung cancer deaths, 11% of COPD deaths, and more than 20% of ischemic heart disease and stroke. Note that PM does not include gas pollutants such as ozone and NO2. struction licenses in the city center. Tempelhofer Feld is a good example of how citizen activism can work in reality. During the 2011 local elections, former Berlin mayor Klaus Wowereit proposed to use the field to locate new commercial areas and offices, 4,700 homes and a large public library. Planners promised they would only build on 25% of the site, leaving 230 hectares as a recreational area. His program included a promise that the new apartment blocks would include affordable housing. BUT, Berliners rejected Klaus Wowereit’s plan for large-scale property development on their beloved Tempelhof Feld. In a referendum aimed at pre-
serving the green space, almost 65% voted against the proposed development plans. In this referendum, Berliners voted not only for preserving one particular green space; they clearly stated their preference for a green future for their city. This is what we lack in Tbilisi. Tbilisi citizens are not used to stating and defending their preferences; they are overly focused on partisan elections and forget to act as citizens. Apparently, only 8,000 people signed the petition for preserving Tbilisi’s former hippodrome area as a recreational zone; 8,000 out 1.1 mln residents. Thus, the tragedy of commons appears to be right there, in our minds.
GEORGIA TODAY OCTOBER 4 - 6, 2016
Georgia to Host 7th Annual Large-Scale Telecom Meeting Participants of the Recruting Platform Project
Silicon Valley Tbilisi Introduces International Recruiting Platform BY NINO GUGUNISHVILI
ver 10 million jobs are now available for local job seekers through a newly established international job recruitment platform presented at Silicon Valley Tbilisi yesterday. The new project, initiated by the Business and Technology University, is an opportunity for Georgian job seekers to be registered to available positions in the business administration or technology sectors from a distance, internationally, without even leaving the country. Mikheil Batiashvili, head of the project, told
BY MAKA LOMADZE
n October 26, at Radisson Blu Iveria, the 7th annual Telecom Meeting will take place enabling the exchange of new contacts between local operators and world-famous brands in the field of telecommunications. The event is supported by the Georgian Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development and the Georgian National Communications Commission. GEORGIA TODAY spoke with the event organizer Sophie Amiranashvili who has been working in the field of telecommunications for the past 15 years.
HOW DID YOU COME TO BE ORGANIZER OF SUCH AN EVENT? Throughout my work in telecoms, I gained many contacts who were constantly asking why there was no telecommunication event in Georgia where they could meet local operators under one roof. As I had participated in many such events taking place in different parts of the world, I gained some experience and decided to put together such an event in Georgia, too, where the sector of telecommunications is well developed and where there is a big potential for investments.
tive field who will speak about the latest achievements and also discuss plans for the future. This information is the most trustworthy and is therefore very interesting for the foreign delegates.
WHAT CHALLENGES HAVE YOU FACED IN ORGANIZING THE MEETING? The number of delegates should by around 150-200, but it is actually less, which can be attributed to the Georgian character, namely, to poor decisionmaking skills- they are unable to decide whether or not to participate. The registration fee is low and cannot be considered as a hampering factor. Unfortunately, they underestimate the importance of this meeting.
WILL THE MEETING BE SET ONLY IN THE HOTEL? We also have some entertainment scheduled to facilitate relationship-building and on the second day we’ll be taking our delegates to the countryside and treating them to Georgian hospitality and beautiful landscape. The feedback is usually very positive and a lot of their acquaintances come to our country later on as tourists. Therefore, this meeting also popularizes the country itself.
CAN GEORGIAN COMPANIES WHO HEAR THIS NEWS TODAY STILL APPLY TO PARTICIPATE?
GEORGIA TODAY it is an attempt to create a new, different model of recruitment. With the exclusive access to international job bases that the Business and Technology University is has, it is now possible for any individual to be hired internationally, work in the IT sphere, or to plan a social marketing campaign. The newly founded recruitment platform aims to assist potential candidates by managing their registration process and providing support within the process of their work. "Another integral part of the project is regular training which is to be provided to those individuals willing to participate and who need to acquire necessary skills and qualifications," Batiashvili said.
THE FAMILY HOTEL 'The Family', a brand new conceptual hotel focusing on high quality decor details and personalized customer services, welcomes guests from around the world! Located in the ecologically clean and cozy district of Svanetisubani (Svaneti district) just two kilometers from Rustaveli Avenue, ‘The Family’ features three fully equipped modern rooms – Standard Double Room, Studio Room and Family Suite. 'The Family' has its own restaurant and garden with an open kitchen available for guests to learn more about Georgian traditional cuisine and taste the delicious local food. Owners of 'The Family' welcome guests with a high sense of responsibility, believing in the Georgian tradition of hospitality, and aiming to offer their guests something extra special. www.facebook.com/thefamilyhoteltbilisi www.hotelthefamily.ge +995 32 2910009; +995 599 588202; +995 574 501407
THE FAMILY HOTEL
Yes. Registration is open until October 25.
HOW IMPORTANT IS A TELECOMMUNICATIONS MEETING FOR THE COUNTRY? Around 100 delegates will take part from Georgian and European telecommunications companies, with many coming from Eastern and Western Europe, as well as from Armenia, Azerbaijan and Turkey, all with the aim of finding new contacts on the Georgian Telecommunications market, or of deepening already existing ties. The Georgian Telecommunications Meetings (TMG) encourage partnership-building between international and local companies operating in the aforementioned sector. Since 2010, small, medium and large organizations and also such giants as Deutche Telecom, Turk Telecom, TeliaSonera, Tata Communications, Orange, and Telecom Italia have participated.
ARE THERE ANY NOVELTIES FOR THIS YEAR’S MEETING? Yes. Together with discussions, we have added keynotes by top Georgian authorities in the respec-
'The Family', a brand new conceptual hotel focusing on high quality decor details and personalized customer services, welcomes guests from around the world!
[Participants come] with the aim of finding new contacts on the Georgian Telecommunications market or of deepening already existing ties
Located in the ecologically clean and cozy district of Svanetisubani (Svaneti district) just two kilometers from Rustaveli Avenue, ‘The Family’ features three fully equipped modern rooms – Standard Double Room, Studio Room and Family Suite. 'The Family' has its own restaurant and garden with an open kitchen available for guests to learn more about Georgian traditional cuisine and taste the delicious local food. Owners of 'The Family' welcome guests with a high sense of responsibility, believing in the Georgian tradition of hospitality, and aiming to offer their guests something extra special. www.facebook.com/thefamilyhoteltbilisi www.hotelthefamily.ge +995 32 2910009; +995 599 588202; +995 574 501407
OCTOBER 4 - 6, 2016
6th Business Café Discusses Management & Leadership
ith the exclusive support of PASHA Bank, the meetings of “Business Café,” a project initiated by consulting company Insource, continues and on September 29th the sixth such meeting hosted representatives from top management of the leading businesses. The meeting was moderated by Lado Gurgenidze, former Prime Minister of Georgia, an executive chairman of the supervisory board of Liberty Bank. The topic he presented for discussion was “Thoughts about Management and Leadership.” Business Café meetings were initiated in October, 2015, and since then the project has significantly grown in popularity due to its unique format that provides a venue for an interactive discussion with industry leaders, an exchange of ideas on recent trends in various industries and the economy as a whole. Among the past speakers and presented topics of previous Business Café meetings were: Giorgi Kadagidze, former president of the National Bank of Georgia, with the topic ‘Innovation Manage-
ment,’ David Gogichaishvili, General Manager of Night Show Studio on ‘Management of Human Resources,’ Alexander Jejelava (current Minister of Education of Georgia) on ‘Organizational Corporate Culture,’ Andro Dgebuadze, business advisor talking about ‘Management 3.0 or MBA books in the mirror’ and Papuna Toliashvili, founder and managing partner of Synergy Group discussing ‘Circular Organizational Structures.’ Insource and PASHA Bank plan to hold two more meetings before the close of the year. “Business Café serves as a popular platform for the managers of the leading businesses to meet and socialize. Each moderator shares own profound, unique experience and achievements, followed by a highly interactive discussion. The format had been received extremely well by a diverse groups of participants. We are more than happy that Insource is running this project with the exclusive support of PASHA Bank, as it is a good opportunity for us to contribute to the development of the business and market economy of our country,” said Anano Korkia, Head of PR and Marketing Department at PASHA Bank.
New Player in the Georgian Cement Market
Merab Chikhradze, founder of the Georgian Cement Company
igh quality cement produced through the latest technological advancements in the field and numerous satisfied customers – these are the ambitions that led a new cement producer, Georgian Cement Company (GCC), to the Georgian market. “Our aim it is to provide the Georgian customer with some of the know-how that has been readily available to foreign customers for a while now,” say the company’s officials who united over a likeminded idea years ago. It’s because of these likeminded people’s effort that on the 4th of October a new cement factory opened in Poti. At the first stage the factory plans to produce some 250 thousand tons of cement per year. The decision to open the cement factory in Poti was made by GCC three years ago based on extensive market research of the cement industry in Georgia which showed a number of interesting results – as it turns out, western Georgia is mainly supplied by imported cement from Turkey. This created a niche for a big business group. GCC decided to act hastily on the back of their research and beat potential competition. “It was an important challenge for the company to start new projects like hydroelectric stations, highways, ports, infrastructural developments and tourist hubs in western Georgia,” says the company’s founder Merab Chikhradze. To execute this fairly ambitious project, GCC decided to partner up with a French titan of the cement industry, Lafarge. The agreement with Lafarge was the first major victory for the Georgian company. In 2015, Lafarge became an even bigger player in the market by merging with Switzerland’s ‘Holcim,’ and as a result, an undisputed world leader emerged by the name ‘Lafargeholcim.’ The French company Lafargeholcim is present in 90 countries and is one of the main players in the cement, interior material and concrete sectors. The company employees 115,000 people and owns over 2,500 factories worldwide. This includes 1,600 concrete factories, 180 full cycle and 70 cement factories. With their partners’ help and own experience, Georgian Cement Company fulfilled its plan and started building a factory in Poti in 2014. During this process, GCC invited Georgian companies to work on the project. As a result, those companies gained invaluable experience. GCC states that it is ready to work with and help Georgian the manufacturing sector in the future, too, including with charity projects. One of the main priorities of the business group is social responsibility.
The cement factory with ultra technological advancements has already built in Poti, stretching over acres of land, and hosts a unique laboratory based on its French partner’s standards. The laboratory is capable of checking production quality in a matter of minutes, including through chemical analysis. This laboratory makes the founders very proud, and rightly so as it’s the only one of its kind in Georgia. The process of coming up with a project and building the factory had one main priority throughout, which was to always protect the ecology and as such, the factory boasts the latest technological advancements in this field. Eleven units of filtration ensure the pollution levels are down to European standard. This is another factor which makes the factory unique in the region. During the first stage 60 locals are to be employed full time but the number of indirect employees will be far greater. With foreign partners, the factory’s executives have come up with a plan which allows the factory to raise the qualification of specialists through training and internship programs. This will be the main factor in developing the relationship with the world leader of cement production, as the quality of cement produced in Poti has to be up to par with Lafargeholcim’s standards. Special attention will be paid to employee health and safety and the factory will have a health inspector present at all times. “We’re oriented to producing high quality and offering our customers different levels of service, including premium class,” says Chikhradze on GCC’s future plans. “During a visit to Paris, top managers of Georgian and French companies agreed on further strategies. A long term plan was agreed upon, which consists of several stages. A concrete manufacturing project was also planned.” A concrete manufacturing project is practically complete in Tbilisi which will also be equipped to the highest Lafargeholcim standard. The factory, which will employ tens of workers, will be without competition in the region. Market research showed that construction companies were demanding a specific concrete. Based on this, GCC decided to offer customers premium class service with timely delivery and a product created to individual requests. The product will be manufactured for modern construction projects. “If Georgia didn’t have a stable environment for investment, we wouldn’t have been able to fulfill this project,” say the executives at Georgian Cement Company. “The main goal of GCC is to be unique in the Georgian construction material sector and to help the country’s economy develop further.” ADVERTISING
GEORGIA TODAY OCTOBER 4 - 6, 2016
Merry Shearing in Akhmeta & the Future of Georgian Wool BY ETER ERADZE AND VAZHA TAVBERIDZE
heep have always played an important part in our country’s culture. However, recent decades have shown a near-constant decline in this industry in Georgia, in sharp contrast to steady development of sheep-related production everywhere else. Wool cloth is considered an expensive commodity, and demand for it is growing. At the moment, approximately 1.3 million tons of wool is produced worldwide annually, 60 percent of which is used in clothing production. Georgian wool, unfortunately, is not a participant in this process- even though introduction of unprocessed wool to the EU market was permitted, its use in production of modern clothing requires highly developed technology and manufacture currently non-existent in Georgia. Indeed, what technology is there to talk about when our shearing damages wool fibers from the very start? The oldfashioned Dukard machine shears we use, some of them passed down from our grandfathers, irreversibly mutilate the texture of wool in the process of shearing, rendering its potential high quality useless. And while our ancestors had no issue with weaving socks and other items from such wool, today this casual approach no longer flies. In addition, shearing with hand scissors is a laborious and time-consuming process that tires out both the worker and the sheep. Therefore, you can imagine my surprise when Tushetian shearers in Akhmeta turned out to possess modern shearing tools and managed to completely strip a sheep of its wool in just a few minutes before my very eyes. Not to mention that the sheep apparently enjoyed it the way a human would enjoy a spa massage, making this Akhmetan sheep-fold, owned
HOW DID YOU MANAGE TO GET YOUR HANDS ON THIS TECHNOLOGY? Last year the administration of Akhmeta invited us to Alvani, saying that the Czech Development Agency operating there were ready to hand us 24 modern shears completely free of charge if we agreed create a shearers’ cooperative. Initially, we didn’t believe our ears – there is no such thing as free lunch, as the saying goes. However, the offer turned out to be true and we did indeed get 24 pieces of modern shearing equipment from the Czech organization, Caritas Czech Republic in Georgia, which specializes in helping countries such as ours with rectifying agricultural issues and the like. Long story short, they have done a huge service for both shearers and sheep herders – neither do we tire during shearing, nor do the sheep become angry in the process and, most importantly, nor is the wool damaged. Unfortunately, most of the wool is thrown away since its sale prospects are limited, but when the issue of processing and selling Georgian wool abroad is finally raised, it will be precisely this quality of wool that we are going to need. Throwing such wealth away is an extremely foolish act, and I hope one day we will be able to make up for it.
New Buses Arrive in Tbilisi
The new “green” buses. Irakli Dolidze/GT
BY NINO GUGUNISHVILI
eorgia's capital Tbilisi received the first of 10 ecofriendly civic buses on Friday. The long-awaited buses arrived in Tbilisi with the financial support of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and are expected to boost the city governments' drive to turn the urban sprawl of 1.5 million people (60 percent of Georgia's population) into a more environmentally friendly city. reducing gas emissions, with the additional bonus of being fully equipped
cooperative: The only regrettable part of this whole thing is that most of the wool is thrown away because it has no consumer. While people were given hope by the opening of the EU market for Georgian wool, that market has its own specific requirements which we have yet to live up to. Meanwhile, we’ve been throwing out wool for years, using at best 20 percent of it for blanket stuffing, cloth weaving, or gifts, with the rest going into the trash. If you ask me, it’s a crime – not only does it make the sheep owners poorer, but the act of throwing wool away pollutes the environment: it is not biodegradable and frequently ends up in rivers, killing fish. Why should this happen, when Tusheti does actually have a market for selling its wool? All we need is a little help reaching it!
by Andro Vardoshvili something of a Las Vegas – except for the sheep. Beso Lagazidze, chairman of the Sheep Shearing Cooperative, was happy to enlighten me further on the subject. “Modern equipment allows us to shear a sheep in just three minutes, making the procedure easy for both sides, not to mention having the resulting wool of much higher quality. Now compare that to using these crude, old fashioned tools, with the procedure taking over fifteen painstaking minutes, not to mention the sheep eventually beginning to resist the shearer due to the discomfort. It’s hardly surprising that we’ve decided to switch to modern equipment, especially considering how much time and money it saves us.
for passengers with special needs. In addition to reducing gas emissions, the buses will be fully designed for passengers with special needs. The EBRD's 27 Million USD allowed Tbilisi's city council to acquire 143 new buses. The EBRD will also provide also EUR 1.15 million in funds to assist in the development of green bus routes. The new buses are said to be eco-friendly and safe, working on CNG fuel. Acquiring the new vehicles is a part of a fouryear plan to renovate the bus pool of the city. The 10 buses will be available from Bagebi to Orbeliani Square (bus route 61) with bus route 51 to also receive the new buses shortly.
WHICH MARKET ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT?
CREATING A COOPERATIVE IS STILL CONSIDERED A CONSIDERABLY DIFFICULT PROCESS HERE – WE GEORGIANS RESPOND VERY SLOWLY TO NOVELTIES. To each his own. We Tushetians, for one, decided to join up and are quite happy with it. Shepherds have been inviting us to shear sheep with our new equipment for 2 years now. However, we weren’t just handed our tools and bidden farewell - Caritas appointed a special trainer, a Slovakian named Ian Smolnik, who spent a few days with us, teaching us to shear properly. His skill was superb, and he told us that he and his family earn their living from nothing but shearing.
YOU SEEM TO HAVE MASTERED THE SKILL QUITE WELL YOURSELVES. Georgians have been raising sheep since forever, this stuff comes to us naturally
– a new tool is not going to suddenly make us ham-handed just because it comes from Europe. We’ve sheared over 20,000 sheep, and sometimes we shear up to 150 a day. However, we do not use our new tools on all of them – you see, when the flock owner pays the shepherds to look after the grazing sheep, that sum includes shearing money, and no one is overly concerned with time or wool quality. Still, our new tools are slowly catching on – they have too many advantages to not eventually become mainstream here.
THEY ARE ALSO EASY TO CARRY Indeed- this is a mobile system, easily disassembled and carried around in a bag. It also has its own portable power generator. Obviously, pastures do not have electric sockets, so we just set up the generator and get to work. GEORGIA TODAY also spoke to Jabu Mozaidze, member of the shearers’
The Denizens of Nakhchivan and Azerbaijani villages located at the Iranian border started coming here two years ago. You see, these villages specialize in carpet-making, and our wool is precisely the raw material they need. Even now they offer to buy out our entire supply of wool as long as it is properly washed and pressed. However, we have neither the proper facilities for washing, drying and pressing wool, nor money to procure them. We are constantly searching for people like these Czechs who might be able to help us. Our plight needs to be recognized by the government– the rise of Tushetian shepherds would mean the rise of all Georgia; everybody knows that! Ian Chernikh, Czech Development Agency, Regional Manager: We had meetings with the local population and one of the worries was that a significant amount of wool was getting wasted instead of being sold. And there were also ecological deficiencies caused by this. Our agency, as the name implies, is focused on development and that exactly what we are going to do – oversee a developing process of Tushetian wool to fulfill its market potential. We also harbor plans to facilitate further processing equipment, like drainage, washing and pressing machinery, but first we would like to carry out a feasibility study. This isn’t the first project we’re carrying out in Tusheti, we’re fully invested in the region – from solar panels that we installed 2 years ago to the first aid car, first of its kind in Tusheti.
OCTOBER 4 - 6, 2016
Dechert OnPoint: Georgia’s Civil Aviation Obligations
the EU and Georgia acknowledge that it is their joint objective to have a fair and competitive environment for the operation of air services. Fair and competitive practices by air carriers are most likely to be ensured where these air carriers operate on a fully commercial basis and are not subsidized. Within the scope of the EU CAA any discrimination on grounds of nationality is prohibited. State aid, which distorts or threatens to distort competition by favoring certain undertakings or certain aviation products or services, is incompatible with the proper functioning of EU CAA, insofar as it may affect trade between the parties in the aviation sector.
echert Georgia, through the contribution of partners Archil Giorgadze and Nicola Mariani, joined by associates Irakli Sokolovski, Ana Kostava and Ana Kochiashvili, is partnering with Georgia Today on a regular section of the paper which will provide updated information regarding significant legal changes and developments in Georgia. In particular, we will highlight significant issues which may impact businesses operating in Georgia.
INTRODUCTION In 2016, the International Civil Aviation Organization (“ICAO”), a UN specialized agency established in 1944 to manage the administration and governance of the Convention on International Civil Aviation (the “Chicago Convention”), removed Georgia from its list of “redflagged” countries following a successful safety audit. With Georgia’s aviation market subject to unprecedented growth in recent years, exemplified by a substantial number of new flights operating from Kutaisi and Batumi Airports, the country’s international obligations in the sphere of civil aviation have become more relevant and important. Georgia is a signatory to three of the most important international instruments on civil aviation: (i) the Chicago Convention, ratified on 7 December 1993 by the Parliament of Georgia; (ii) Convention for the Unification of Certain Rules for International Carriage by Air (Montreal, 28 May 1999)(the “Montreal Convention”), adopted on 15 October 2010 by the President of Georgia; and (iii) the Common Aviation Area Agreement between the European Union and its Member States and Georgia (“EU CAA”), ratified on 8 February 2011 by the Parliament of Georgia. The latter agreement has acquired additional importance in light of the recent developments with regards to the entry into force of the Deep and Comprehensive Free trade Agreement (“DCFTA”) between Georgia and European Union (“EU”). The EU CAA is one of the agreements which provide the legal basis for the European Common Aviation Area (the “ECAA”). The ECAA is the product of bilateral
agreements between European countries regarding a single market for aviation services. In December 2004, the EU Council of Ministers authorized the European Commission to start negotiations with eight South-East European partner countries (Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Romania, Serbia and Montenegro and the U.N. Mission in Kosovo) on a “European Common Aviation Area” agreement. The objective was to integrate the EU’s neighbors in SouthEast Europe into its internal aviation market, which at the time consisted of 25 EU Member States as well as Norway and Iceland. Georgia joined the list of signatories to the EU CAA in 2010. This Onpoint aims to deliver an overview of Georgia’s obligations under the EU CAA as well as the general legal framework established by that agreement.
OBJECTIVES OF EU CAA Both Georgia and the EU explicitly recognize the importance of air transport in promoting trade, tourism and investment. Therefore, the EU CAA aims to create a Common Aviation Area (CAA) based on mutual market access to the air transport markets of the parties, with equal conditions for competition and respect of the same rules — including
those in the areas of safety, security, air traffic management, social aspects and the environment. It was created with the aim to facilitate the expansion of air transport opportunities, including through the development of air transport networks to meet the needs of passengers and shippers for convenient air transport services. The General spirit of the EU CAA is to create an open market for all air carriers. It aims to make it possible for air carriers to offer travelling and shipping to the public at competitive prices as well as ensure that services are provided in open markets; to ensure a level playing field for air carriers; and to allow fair and equal opportunities for air carriers to provide the agreed services. Both EU and Georgia recognize that subsidies may adversely affect air carrier competition and may jeopardize the basic objectives of the EU CAA.
OVERVIEW OF MAIN LEGAL TERMS OF THE EU CAA Basic freedoms: By virtue of EU CAA, the EU and Georgia grant each other the following basic rights for the conduct of international air transport by their air carriers:(i) the right to fly across its territory without landing; (ii) the right to make stops in its territory for any pur-
pose other than taking on or discharging passengers, baggage, cargo and/or mail in air transport (non-traffic purposes); (iii) while providing an agreed service on a specified route, the right to make stops in its territory for the purpose of taking up and discharging international traffic in passengers, cargo and/or mail, separately or in combination. Authorization and regulation of Carriers: Upon receipt of applications for operating authorization from an EU air carrier, the competent authorities of Georgia shall grant the appropriate authorizations with a minimal procedural delay. The same rights apply to Georgian Carriers in the EU, however with certain reservations. Namely, the air carrier shall have its principal place of business in Georgia and hold a valid operating certificate in accordance with the applicable law of Georgia, and effective regulatory control of the air carrier shall be exercised and maintained by Georgia. Investment: The majority ownership or the effective control of an air carrier of Georgia by EU Member States or their nationals, or of an air carrier of the European Union by Georgia or its nationals, shall be permitted by virtue of a prior decision of the Joint Committee established by the EU CAA. Competition and Subsidies: Importantly,
EU CAA is an important tool for Georgia, as a developing regional transportation hub, to attract more international air traffic and improve its standing in the sphere of civil aviation, both in the EU and more generally under the ICAO. Full and smooth operation of the EU CAA will benefit many air carriers from both the EU and Georgia and aid in establishing Georgia’s position in the international civil aviation market. *** Note: this article does not constitute legal advice. You are responsible for consulting with your own professional legal advisors concerning specific circumstances for your business. Dechert’s Tbilisi office combines local service and full corporate, tax and finance support with the global knowledge that comes with being part of a worldwide legal practice. Dechert Georgia is the Tbilisi branch of Dechert LLP, an international specialist Law firm that focuses on core transactional and litigation practices, providing world-class services to major corporations, financial institutions and private funds worldwide. With more than 900 Lawyers in our global practice groups working in 27 offices across Europe, the CIS, Asia, the Middle East and the United States, Dechert has the resources to deliver seamless, high quality legal services to clients worldwide. For more information, please visit www. dechert.com or contact Nicola Mariani at firstname.lastname@example.org.
British Embassy in Tbilisi Organizes British Business Group Meeting BY NATIA LIPARTELIANI
n September 30th, in the Garden of Tbilisi Sio restaurant, social drinks for the British Business Group (BBG) were organized. BBG was set up in 2013 upon the initiative of the then-British Ambassador to Georgia, with an aim to bring together British or British associated businesses operating in Georgia. During the meeting, those present discussed and explored new ways of boosting trade and commercial ties between the UK and Georgia. UK's new ambassador to Tbilisi, Justin McKenzie Smith, greeted the attendees with his hopes for strengthening Georgian-British economic ties: “I believe that Business can be the engine for the relationship between the UK and Georgia. We as an embassy aim to do everything we can to support deeper ties between UK and Georgian
businesses. The UK, as you know, is the second largest investor in Georgia. An evening like this shows the healthy trading relationships between these two countries. It is great to see British brands such as Marks and Spencer’s, Jaguar, Land Rover, here, and last week I was invited to the newly opened Wedgwood store on Chavchabvadze Avenue. And it works the other way around, too. You’ll see more and more wines of Shato Mukhrani in UK Shopping centers,” the Ambassador said. Founder of Wedgwood Georgia, Nelly Nadirashvili, shared her impressions on the meeting with GEORGIA TODAY: “It is very interesting for me as this is the first time I have attended a British Business Group Meeting. For us it is very interesting to meet with representatives of British associated businesses as we’ve just opened our showroom where seven brands are presented, four of them British. We are very happy that Georgian customers’ will be able to buy exquisite British products, and this reflects the
Founder of Wedgwood Georgia, Nelly Nadirashvili, with the UK's new Ambassador to Tbilisi, Justin McKenzie Smith
close business ties between Georgia and Britain.’ Country Director of the British Council Georgia, Zaza Purtseladze, also spoke about the importance of the BBG meeting: “It is very important as part of the British Council’s operations are of a
commercial nature, for example, our teaching center. Our teaching center and educational programs aim to make British language and culture accessible to Georgian people. Partnerships with British associated businesses can help us reach the right audience. Especially interesting for us in that respect are the
regions of Georgia, where it is vital to provide people with educational resources and it, of course, requires certain financial expenses. That is why relevant business connections and ties are important for us as an organization to promote British language educational resources and culture abroad.”
GEORGIA TODAY OCTOBER 4 - 6, 2016
Alarming Lack of Business Interest in/ Awareness of DCFTA
BY NATIA LIPARTELIANI
he EU and Georgia signed an Association Agreement on 27 June, 2014, a part of which- the preferential trade regime named the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area (DCFTA)- aims to increase market access between the EU and Georgia based on better-matched regulations. However, despite positive expectations on the potential impact of this agreement, a recent survey by CRRC has revealed that it is still not clear whether the agreement’s trade-related components have actually increased trade. CRRC-Georgia’s Tax Perception’s survey showed that only 6 percent of com-
panies from the research sample actually traded with the EU under the DCFTA agreement. What’s more, most Georgian Companies are not even interested in trading in the DCFTA. As, by law, all Georgian companies will have to comply with DCFTA standards, the research findings are quite disturbing. Even those companies not interested in exporting to the EU will be expected to meet higher product standards and, although in the long-term consumers will benefit from the raised standards, in the short-term this can negatively affect those companies having to apply the DCFTA standards. The study also showed that the absolute value of exports from Georgia to the EU fell by 10 percent in US dollars in one year (2014 to 2015), while the value of imports increased by 2 percent in USD. CRRC-Georgia suggests that one
of the factors that caused the fall in the value was the devaluation of the Georgian Lari (GEL), however there was a still 7 still a drop in exports that were valued in GEL. This decrease in exports was not expected, as the DCFTA removed almost all tariffs between the EU and Georgia. Further, the share of Georgia’s exports heading to the EU has also failed to increase substantially, with Georgian exports going to the EU increasing by only one percentage point. The study suggests that the Government of Georgia has taken an "if we build it, they will come" approach to the implementation of the DCFTA and as such has not provided any tailored forms of promotion except general awarenessraising. Perhaps due to that, the majority of companies, even those that are involved in external trade, seem to be uninterested in the DCFTA.
Indigo Training Center to Launch Adobe Photoshop Learning Course BY THEA MARIAMIDZE
raining Center Indigo, which usually offers computer and foreign language courses, has announced the start of a new program ‘Adobe Photoshop CC Learning Course’ from October 10. Any interested person who applies for the course will not only learn the Adobe Photoshop program, but will also become a graphic designer. The course aims to teach students: • Web and graphic design; • Photo processing and its enrichment with graphical elements; • Illustration Creating; • Logo design; • Design of mobile applications. After finishing the course, students will be able to independently carry out different types of projects: • Image Manipulation; • Logo, illustration, mobile and web
The new Adobe Photoshop CC learning course at Indigo Training Center will start on October 10
applications design; • Advertising / printing materials design. During the course, the students will also create portfolio web pages. The graduation of the course creates opportunities for graduates to gain employment as a graphic or web designer in: photo studios, television, advertising agencies, the press, printing houses or
to work as freelancers. The duration of the course is two months and after graduation, students will get bilingual certificates in English and Georgian. The twice-weekly course will be held in the Georgian language and cost 280 GEL. The course is led by the chief designer Alexander Buadze.
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OCTOBER 4 - 6, 2016
Borjomi’s New Golden Tulip Adds to the 1,200 Hotels Functioning in Georgia Shop opening
New Scandinavian Brand in Tbilisi BY NINO GUGUNISHVILI
roup JYSK has opened its first store in Tbilisi, offering a wide range of products for the household to potential customers within a trendy “everything for the house” concept. The store is a result of a EUR 1.5 mil-
BY NINO GUGUNISHVILI
rance’s Louvre Hotels Group has re-opened Borjomi’s Firzua Hotel after an extensive renovation, under its Golden Tulip brand. Built in 1892 as a residency for Iran’s Consul to the Russian Empire in Georgia, the building was recently designated a national cultural heritage site. The Golden Tulip brand comprises 140
hotels in 34 countries worldwide. The group hopes to expand its presence in Georgia, with hotels planned for Tbilisi, Telavi and Tskhaltubo. The hotel, which cost just USD 2 million to renovate, includes 16 rooms, a restaurant, fitness center and spa in which guest can sample Borjomi mineral water. Georgia’s Minister of Economy and Sustainable Development, Dimitry Kumsishvili, at the opening said the country has more than 1,200 fully functioning hotels at present, employing 158,000 people in the tourism and hospitality sector.
lion investment. As Dimitry Kumsishvili, First Vice Prime Minister and Minister of Economy and Sustainable Development of Georgia, noted at the store opening, the founders of the brand plan to expand their operations to the free industrial zone (FIZ) in Poti, where they intend to create a new textile production with the option to sell its goods in the newly opened shop in Tbilisi and throughout
the network of their 2,300 shops in 43 countries globally. JYSK group wants to open up to four more shops in 2017-2018 in Tbilisi and in the regions. According to Minister Kumsishvili, trade as a significant sector of the Georgian economy “has shown a 10 percent growth in employment, and enterprises like these make up an integral part of this growth.”
Tbilisi Hosts Sino-Georgian Export Fair BY NATIA LIPARTELIANI
he Chambers of Commerce of both Georgia and China, in tandem with Georgia’s Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development, on Thursday attended the opening ceremonies of an export product fair in Tbilisi. The ceremonies were also attended by the Vice Chairman of the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade, Wang Jinzhen; the First Deputy Minister of Agriculture, Nodar Kereselidze; Deputy President of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Nato Chikovani; and the Deputy Executive Director of the Partnership Fund, Natia Turnava. In his speech at the ceremony, Kereselidze put a special emphasis on bilateral trade between Tbilisi and Beijing, saying
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economic relations between the two former Silk Road countries has significantly grown over the last few years. Kereselidze pointed to the spike in Georgian wine exports to China as an illustration of the two countries’ bilateral trade potential. “This year's fair is much larger than the previous. We have many more spon-
sors and supporters than before, including companies from (China’s) Jiangxi province,” Wang said in a speech to the attendees. Over 80 Chinese companies, including agro-producers, textile manufacturers, medical equipment suppliers and producers of household and electronic devices participated in the exhibition.
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GEORGIA TODAY OCTOBER 4 - 6, 2016
Botanical Garden and Hotel to Be Built in Ganmukhuri Ganmukhuri Village. Source: Photo by Archil Kikvadze
BY NINO GUGUNISHVILI
new initiative from the Cartu Fund and Co-Investment Fund to build a botanical garden and a new five star hotel in Ganmukhuri was announced by Prime Minister Kvirikashvili this
weekend. Cartu Fund plans to invest USD 20 million in the creation of the new botanical garden, a charity project that aims to promote local tourist infrastructure, while the Co-Investment Fund will build
Program Improvement Competitive Grants Winners Announced
a five star hotel with a USD 60 million investment. According to Kvirikashvili, the new botanical garden will not only be a recreational zone but will also have the important function of preserving unique local Kolkhi plant breeds. He went on to state that such projects will stimulate potential investor interest in the location and help increase touristic flow to Anaklia-Ganmukhuri, which in turn will result in a consequent rise of income for the local population. The new hotel will employ more than 2,000 people in the coming two years, while 350 people will be directly employed when the hotel starts to operate.
Winners at the Ceremony. Source: Millennium Challenge Tbilisi
BY NINO GUGUNISHVILI
aunched in 2015 within the industry-led Skills and Workforce Development Project of the Millennium Challenge Account - Georgia (MCA - Georgia), and funded under a second USD 140 million compact between the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) and the Government of Georgia, the USD 12 million Program Improvement Competitive Grants (PICG) aims at funding innovative proposals through expanding and improving existing technical vocational education and training (TVET) programs in higher-level Science, Technology, Math and Engineering (STEM). The grant program also covers the Agriculture, Maritime, Information Technology and Tourism Sectors. This year’s grantees competed for up to USD 12 million in grants, with grant sizes from USD 300,000 to USD 3 million. The 2016 winners were announced as: The Agriculture University of Georgia, Batumi State Maritime Academy, Georgian Aviation University, Georgian Institute of Public Affairs, Georgian Mountain Guide Association, Georgian Technical University, Vocational College Phazisi, Railway Transport College, Community College Spektri and Vocational College Tetnuldi. International experts and an independent technical evaluation panel evaluated 70 concept papers at the first stage of the competition, with an overall grant amount of USD 69 million requested. The total amount of all submitted applications, including co-financing from the industry, came to over USD 90 million. 10 winning projects were chosen after a threelevel evaluation and selection process. Four of the ten projects will be implemented in the regions of Georgia, and the remainder in Tbilisi. As Ian Kelly, United States Ambassador to Geor-
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gia, highlighted in his speech at the awards ceremony, “The uniqueness of MCC’s technical-vocational education program lies in its focus to improve STEM education in Georgia.” He also noted the importance of increasing access for women to technical jobs and fields. “The program is a big opportunity for international companies investing in the country,” the Ambassador said. “Programs like these are critical because they improve Georgia’s business environment, support prosperity and place Georgia as a contributing member of the global economy. Creating a technically skilled 21st century workforce ensures Georgia remains open for business.” Nancy Lee, Deputy Chief Executive Officer of MCC, spoke about the aims of the compact to improve the quality of education in science and technology in Georgia, with strategic efforts across the Georgian educational system from the start of a student’s general education up to university programs. The MCC undertakes “to transform the technical and vocational educational system in Georgia into a competitive, highly qualified world-class workforce that serves the needs of businesses in Georgia and meets the needs of a 21st century economy,” Lee said. “Each PICG winner, as well as every company and every person investing in vocational education, will have a deep impact on our country’s future development,” said Alexander Jejelava, Minister of Education and Science of Georgia, at the awards ceremony, going on to underline the importance of the education reform component in the four stage reform plan initiated by the Government of Georgia. “This is the victory of our country and our people. We’re founding a basis for highly qualified professionals and we’re creating a basis for a higher level of self-realization,” Jejelava said. He then thanked the US government, Millennium Challenge Corporation and the American people for their continuous efforts to develop the educational sector in Georgia.
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OCTOBER 4 - 6, 2016
2016 CineDoc ADAMI Media Prize to Award Outstanding Coming Soon! Filmmakers Exploring Cultural Diversity in Eastern Europe BY ZYGIMANTAS KAPOCIUS BY NINO GUGUNISHVILI
he months of September and October are known to be so packed with various cultural events including film, theater and music festivals in Tbilisi, Batumi or Telavi, that you can easily find yourself running around in fear of missing something. From October 22 to 25 the fourth edition of International Documentary Film Festival CinéDOC-Tbilisi will start, with the screenings to be held in Rustaveli and Amirani cinemas, with the Frontline Club, the Goethe Institut Tbilisi and the Caucasian House also among the venues for the film retrospectives. The organizers of the festival claim it to be the only documentary film festival in the Caucasus region, supported by the European Union’s Creative Europe
program followed by film screening tours throughout Georgia, year-round. The festival comprises various competitions such as CivilDoc - which covers the themes of human and social rights, with a pitch forum (Civil Pitch) afterwards in which local NGO representatives introduce the projects they are currently working on to filmmakers. For the Focus Caucasus program, also part of the festival, regional film productions are chosen from Georgia, Armenia and Russia. CineDoc Tbilisi also focuses on featuring one selected country each year in the Guest Country section. The festival also has a special program for younger audiences and children - CineDoc Youth. CineDoc Tbilisi is planning to have a special section this year, called Ally’s Choice, where five top documentaries chosen by Ally Derk - the director of the International Film Festival of Amsterdam will be shown.
n September 30, ADAMI, an international initiative which aims to encourage journalists and media professionals dealing with topics of integration, migration and cultural diversity, announced the patronage of the Council of Europe and the OSCE for its 2016 competition. The 2016 ADAMI Media Prize will award outstanding media professionals from the EU Eastern Partnership countries (Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine). The winners of the competition will be announced in the ADAMI Awards Gala on November 24 in Kiev, Ukraine. The ceremony will be attended by the patrons of the initiative, the Secretary General of the Council of Europe, Thorbjorn Jagland, and the OSCE Representative on Freedom of Media, Dunja Mijatovic.
Speaking in a press conference, the Head of the Council of Europe Georgia Office, Cristian Urse, expressed his pride to support such professional initiatives encouraging the core values of the organization. “The filmmakers shed light on different aspects of reality, which is relevant and educational for a wider audience,” said Mr. Urse. Talking exclusively to GEORGIA TODAY, the Urse emphasized that initiatives like the ADAMI Media Prize are particularly relevant in the context when dissenting voices in Europe are beginning to question and challenge the concept of cultural diversity. “It is a small yet well-targeted initiative with a lot of potential. At the center of attention in this case are traditional communities, which serve as an example that even with limited resources and under difficult circumstances there are ways to maintain coexistence,” reaffirmed Mr. Urse. The submissions for the competition are open until October 10, 2016.
The 2016 ADAMI Media Prize
October 4 - 6, 2016