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Page 1

Issue no: 1102/156

• NOVEMBER 20 - 22, 2018

• PUBLISHED TWICE WEEKLY

PRICE: GEL 2.50

In this week’s issue... Weekly Entrepreneurial News @entrepreneur.ge NEWS PAGE 2

Money Can’t Buy Happiness. Or Can It? A Case Study from Yerevan ISET PAGE 4

FOCUS

ON DEBT ANNULMENT In a shock move, the Georgian Gov't says it will annul 600,000 bank loans thanks to Ivanishvili's Cartu Fund

PAGE 2

Council of Europe Development Bank Grants Credo Bank 5 mln EUR Loan BY SAMANTHA GUTHRIE

BUSINESS PAGE 5

Social Investment - Making a Difference & a Profit BUSINESS PAGE 6

Ici Paris Presents New Perfume by CARVEN: Dans Ma Bulle BUSINESS PAGE 10

Legendary Tochinoshin Given Book Dedicated to 50th Anniversary of Rustavi Ensemble

A

t a meeting held Friday, November 16, in Paris, the Administrative Council of the Council of Europe Development Bank (CEB) approved eleven loans totaling nearly 1.1 bil-

lion EUR. The loans went to institutions and companies in eleven different European countries, including Georgia. By far the smallest loan approved last week, Georgia’s JSC Credo Bank will be granted a 5 million EUR loan “to finance the productive investments of small businesses throughout the country.” Continued on page 3

Georgian MFA Participates in 1st Trilateral Consultation with France & Germany

Photo: Credo

CULTURE PAGE 11 Prepared for Georgia Today Business by

Markets Asof16ͲNovͲ2018

Price

w/w

m/m

BONDS

BankofGeorgia(BGEOLN)

GBP15.75

Ͳ6,0%

Ͳ4,2%

GEOROG04/21

101.39(YTM6.12%)

Ͳ0,2%

Ͳ1,6%

GeorgiaCapital(CGEOLN)

STOCKS

GBP11.80

Ͳ

+2,8%

GEORG04/21

105.34(YTM4.49%)

+0,0%

+0,3%

GBP2.20

Ͳ6,4%

Ͳ4,3%

GRAIL07/22

106.03(YTM5.88%)

Ͳ0,1%

Ͳ0,2%

GBP15.88

Ͳ3,5%

Ͳ0,7%

GEBGG07/23

98.32(YTM6.42%)

+0,2%

+0,2%

GHG(GHGLN) TBCBankGroup(TBCGLN)

COMMODITIES

Price

w/w

m/m

CrudeOil,Brent(US$/bbl)

66,76

Ͳ4,9%

Ͳ18,0%

CURRENCIES GEL/USD

Price

w/w

m/m

Price

w/w

m/m

2,7044

+0,2%

+1,3%

1223,36

+1,1%

Ͳ0,1%

GEL/EUR GEL/GBP

3,4358

Ͳ1,9%

Ͳ2,4%

INDICES

Price

w/w

m/m

GEL/CHF

2,6511

Ͳ1,3%

Ͳ1,5%

FTSE100

7013,88

Ͳ1,3%

Ͳ0,6%

GEL/RUB

0,0402

+1,3%

Ͳ1,5%

GoldSpot(US$/OZ)

3,0262

Ͳ1,1%

Ͳ2,0%

18589,09

Ͳ2,7%

Ͳ2,9%

GEL/TRY

0,4970

+0,5%

+5,9%

DAX

11341,00

Ͳ1,6%

Ͳ3,7%

GEL/AZN

1,5682

Ͳ1,5%

Ͳ0,4%

DOWJONES

25413,22

Ͳ2,2%

Ͳ1,5%

GEL/AMD

0,0055

Ͳ

7247,87

Ͳ2,1%

Ͳ5,2%

GEL/UAH

0,0955

Ͳ1,4%

Ͳ0,2%

155,94

Ͳ0,2%

Ͳ2,1%

EUR/USD

0,8757

Ͳ0,7%

+1,4%

986,30

+1,0%

FTSE250

NASDAQ MSCIEMEE MSCIEM

Ͳ

+0,2%

GBP/USD

0,7792

+1,1%

+2,7%

SP500

2736,27

Ͳ1,6%

Ͳ2,6%

CHF/USD

0,9999

Ͳ0,6%

+0,9%

MSCIFM

2524,21

+0,8%

+0,5%

RUB/USD

65,9850

Ͳ2,9%

+1,0%

GTIndex(GEL)

1582,68

Ͳ

Ͳ

TRY/USD

5,3330

Ͳ2,3%

Ͳ6,2%

GTIndex(USD)

1208,13

Ͳ

Ͳ

AZN/USD

1,6950

Ͳ0,2%

Ͳ0,2%


2

NEWS

GEORGIA TODAY

NOVEMBER 20 - 22, 2018

Annulment of Debts of 600,000 Citizens to Start December 15 @entrepreneur.ge Gamarjoba! I’m the Editor-in-Chief of the Georgian edition of Entrepreneur magazine and I’m here to share the top weekly Entrepreneurial news with you: Two brothers from Stephantsminda village in Kazbegi have completed construction of a new hotel and restaurant ‘Green Sheep’ with the support of the European Union entrepreneurship support program, meaning that their house and land is now open for tourists and travelers who head to Kazbegi to enjoy the fascinating landscape and enjoy the Georgian hospitality. Green Sheep is a mid-class hotel with 18 rooms, a restaurant, a nice yard and a kids’ zone. According to the Kazalikashvili brothers, it’s just the beginning and soon they’ll be expanding the tourist infrastructure works on the enterprise. Jhujhuna Wine is an extraordinary drink, quite different from traditional Georgian red and white wines. Founders of company Svi, which in English means “drink,” decided to create a semi-sparkling wine like Italian Prosecco using Georgian wine varieties such as Rkatsiteli and Mtsvane, sometimes with the addition of fresh fruits for extra flavor and taste. JhuJhuna is currently available only in selected bars in Tbilisi and Batumi but the founders plan to expand to the retail market with a unique creative packaging. Meet Nodar Latibashvili, young Georgian bio farmer with no formal education in agriculture but with a strong desire to serve his homeland as a farmer. After intensive travel around the globe, he returned to Georgia, left his job and moved to Sagarejo in Kakheti where he started his own farm focusing on wine and bread - everything organic, endemic and free from pesticides. Nodar has so far devoted three years to his passion, which has already transformed into a serious agriculture business. Follow the Entrepreneur Georgia Instagram page to get the latest updates from Georgian Entrepreneurs. For doing business with Georgian Entrepreneurs, write us on business@entrepreneur.ge

BY THEA MORRISON

F

rom December 15, 2018, the Government of Georgia is to annul the debts of over 600,000 citizens, of which 150,000 are socially vulnerable. The information was released by the Prime Minister of Georgia, Mamuka Bakhtadze, who said on November 19 that the names of 600,000 citizens, whose loans at banks do not exceed GEL 2000 ($748), will be removed from the register of debtors, allowing them to meet the New Year without debts. “Almost 95% of the debts on the black

list consist of loans with a principle sum not exceeding 2000 GEL. We are talking about the financial responsibility of more than 600,000 citizens to banks, online organizations, or a variety of other financial institutions. The total amount of their debts amounts about GEL 1.5 billion ($561,23m). Today's decision annuls this 1.5 billion GEL debt,” Bakhtadze said. Ivane Machavariani, Georgia’s Finance Minister, says that Cartu Foundation, established by the Founder and Chair of the ruling Georgian Dream, Bidzina Ivanishvili, will take the full responsibility of paying the debts of those 600,000 people on the black list. “This step could not have been taken without the help of Cartu Foundation,

which expressed full support to solving this problem. Negotiations with banks and other financial institutions have already been held regarding the current issue of excessive debts,” said Machavariani. “The elimination of excessive debt is a precondition for defeating poverty. Today's decision will allow hundreds of thousands of our fellow citizens to get involved in the economic and social life of the country, which will make our economy more sustainable and the banking sector healthier,” Bakhtadze explained at the special press-conference on Monday. The move comes as the Georgian government promises to work more on reducing debt pressure in the country.


NEWS

GEORGIA TODAY NOVEMBER 20 - 22, 2018

3

Stop Child Sexual Abuse Insight on Tourism Trends for 2018 Q3 Day, November 18 BY SAMANTHA GUTHRIE

S

unday, November 18, marked the European Day on the Protection of Children against Sexual Exploitation and Sexual Abuse. The Day was established in 2015 by the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe to prevent the crimes, prosecute the perpetrators and protect the victims. It aims to raise public awareness of and promote prevention mechanisms for the sexual exploitation and sexual abuse of children in Europe and around the world. Events and campaigns surrounding the Day work to open discussions about how to protect children and prevent and eliminate the stigmatization of victims. The Council of Europe also uses the Day to push for the full ratification and implementation of the Lanzarote Convention. The Lanzarote Convention is a legally-binding document that obliges Parties to criminalize all forms of sexual abuse of children and presents methods for fighting it. It is ratified by 44 of the Council of Europe’s member states and offers open access to all countries. As part of the Council of Europe Action Plan for Georgia (2016-2019), the Council of Europe is currently implementing a project in Georgia titled “Responding to Child Sexual Exploitation and Abuse in Georgia, Phase I.” The project is

designed to build the capacity of authorities and professionals to prevent and protect children from sexual exploitation, sexual abuse and other forms of violence, and to promote child-friendly practices in Georgia. As part of the project, on October 15, 2018, the Council of Europe initiated a special training course for legal professionals in Georgia on child-friendly justice, called HELP. To commemorate the European Day on the Protection of Children against Sexual Exploitation and Sexual Abuse, the Council of Europe Secretary General, Thorbjørn Jagland, released a statement calling on governments and national and international sports organizations to “redouble their efforts to break the silence surrounding the sexual abuse of children in sports, prevent it and fight impunity.” He celebrated the positive aspects of participating in sports for children, “teamwork, solidarity, fair play spirit, sense of achievement and fun,” but warned of the negatives – “constant competition, a reward-oriented hierarchical structure, scandal avoidance and authoritarian leadership.” Those factors, he cautioned, can cultivate an atmosphere of fear and silence, leading to cases of violence – including sexual abuse by adults and peers – being “‘swept under the rug,’ and its victims [being] silenced.” Jagland emphasized that “Sporting environments often involve unequal power relationships in a male-dominated

atmosphere where vulnerability is seen as a weakness. This puts children at a particular risk of sexual abuse...Safeguarding children from sexual abuse in sport is a major challenge. All of those involved – parents, coaches, athletes and governing bodies – must be alert to the dangers and help to protect children in sport.” In line with its goals regarding the end of child sexual abuse, the Council of Europe launched the Start to Talk initiative in April 2018, bringing well-known athletes, coaches, sporting clubs and federations to act as “silence breakers” and draw attention to child sexual abuse in sports. According to the Council of Europe, “Children themselves find it hard to speak up: about one third of child victims never tell anybody.” Last month, the Council signed a Memorandum with FIFA, the international governing body for football (soccer), to jointly address the issue of sexual violence against children in the sport, based off the Lanzarote Convention. Georgia has been a member of the Council of Europe since 1999. The international organization, distinct from the European Union, has worked to uphold human rights, democracy and the rule of law in Europe since 1949. The European Court of Human Rights is likely the Council’s best-known body, enforcing the European Convention on Human Rights. Georgia joined the Lanzarote Convention in 2015.

Source: GeoStat. Photo: Wander Lush

BY ANNA ZHVANIA

T

he number of international non-resident travelers to Georgia reached 3.2mln in Q3 of 2018 - a 8.6% increase compared to the same period last year. The majority of the revenues (41.2%) were attributed to 31-50 age group expenditure. Moreover, the largest share of visits (22%) are attributed to those coming from the Russian Federation, a 1.8% increase compared to last year’s results. In terms of type of activity, 50.8% visited Georgia due to leisure, recreation or relaxation purposes, while 15.7% accounted for visits to friends or family, 7.7% to business trips, 4.5% to shopping

activities and 2.2% for medical reasons. Tbilisi and Adjara region were the most popular tourism destinations, with 32% and 27% of visitors traveling these areas respectively. The two regions were followed by Mtskheta-Mtianeti (12%), Kvemo Kartli (8%), Kakheti (6%), Samtskhe-Javakheti (5%) and Imereti (4%). The average number of nights spent by tourists in the third quarter was 4.9, which actually decreased from 5.2 nights in 2017. Expenses incurred totaled GEL 3.1 bln, a 36.5% surge compared to the same period of 2017. This amount can be divided into different categories (in GEL mln): Accommodation (805), Entertainment (587), Food and Beverage (941), Shopping (350), Transport (210), Merchandise (144), High-value Items (10) and Other (73).

Council of Europe Development Bank Grants Credo Bank 5 mln EUR Loan Continued from page 1 The CEB said that the aim of the loan is to nurture micro-enterprises and support income-generating activities and self-employment, noting that the unemployment rate in Georgia, at 14% (Geostat, 2017), is considerably higher than the EU average of 8.1% (Eurostat, 2018). Eurostat data reveals that two EU countries have higher unemployment rates than Georgia’s official figure – in September 2018, Greece reported 19% and Spain reported 15%. Many economists, however, have called Georgia’s official data into question, noting that those engaged in subsistence farming are generally counted as employed, although they often get no or very little monetary profit from their work. In 2017, Credo transitioned from a microfinance institution into a bank in response to new legislation on microfinance institutions in Georgia. The bank’s stated mission is to provide “sustainable financial services to micro, small and medium businesses, with a preference

for rural activities and those businesses that create income and employment opportunities.”

OTHER LOANS APPROVED ON FRIDAY WERE, AS REPORTED BY THE CEB: Czech Republic: 100 million EUR to Komercní Banka to support social investment projects undertaken by regions, municipalities and public-private entities. The funds will be used for the revitalization and modernization of urban and rural infrastructure as well as for energy efficiency measures. Finland: 60 million EUR to the City of Tampere to finance public infrastructure in the area of education, particularly schools and day-care facilities, and other municipal investments aimed at improving living conditions in urban and rural areas, such as community services and sports facilities. Germany: 80 million EUR to the City of Nuremberg to finance the construction and renovation of schools and early childhood care facilities, including invest-

ments in IT and digitalization. At least 50 different institutions are expected to benefit from the CEB funds. Italy: 150 million EUR to the Istituto per il Credito Sportivo (ICS), a public bank specializing in the financing of sports facilities and providing subsidized loans to local authorities. The CEB loan will finance various sports facilities throughout the country, especially facilities with a social impact, and is expected to benefit in particular young persons, students and senior citizens. Latvia: 15 million EUR to the Riga Technical University (RTU), one of the two largest higher education institutions in the country, to support the further development of its campus facilities. The renovation and construction work that will be financed by the CEB is expected to benefit more than 7,000 students, or half of RTU’s student population. Poland: 150 million EUR to Europejski Fundusz Leasingowy (EFL) to provide a credit line to micro-, small and mediumsized enterprises (MSMEs), which often have difficulty accessing financing. By

strengthening the competitiveness of MSMEs, the funds will contribute to the creation of new permanent and seasonal jobs. Romania: 177 million EUR to the government to finance the construction of two prison facilities with a combined capacity of 1,900 places, as well as two facilities for about 1,300 penitentiary staff, designed in accordance with European Prison Rules (EPR). Serbia: 200 million EUR to the government for investments in health infrastructure. The CEB funds will finance the upgrading of several public health institutions in and around 20 towns in the country and are expected to benefit close to 1.3 million persons, including patients and staff. Slovenia: 50 million EUR to the Housing Fund of Slovenia (HFS) to finance the construction of 800 new social housing units in Ljubljana and Maribor. The CEB funds will provide affordable rental housing to low- and middle-income persons and increase Slovenia’s public rental housing stock.

Spain: 100 million EUR to the City of Barcelona, to support its transition towards becoming a more inclusive and sustainable city. The loan provided by the CEB will finance the construction, reconstruction and upgrading of municipal infrastructure such as schools, sports facilities and public spaces, as well as measures encouraging the use of bicycles. The CEB is a multilateral development bank with an exclusively social mandate, established in 1956 to provide financing and technical expertise for projects with a high social impact in its 41 member states. It aims to promote social cohesion and strengthen social integration in Europe. 22 of the CEB member states are Central, Eastern and South Eastern European countries, which are the Bank's target countries. The CEB calls itself a major instrument for the policy of solidarity in Europe, and focuses on granting loans to its member states, and to financial institutions and local authorities in its member states, to finance projects in the social sector.


4

BUSINESS

GEORGIA TODAY

NOVEMBER 20 - 22, 2018

THE ISET ECONOMIST A BLOG ABOUT ECONOMICS AND THE SOUTH CAUCAUS

www.iset-pi.ge/blog

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.

Money Can’t Buy Happiness. Or Can It? A Case Study from Yerevan This phenomenon is called conspicuous consumption, and it has an important role in how many of us make purchasing decisions. It is, however, a less straightforward concept than it may seem. Examples of conspicuous consumption could be buying the latest model of iPhone or the latest version of a Mercedes car (even though one might argue that they do provide the buyer with valuable services). And what about going to a concert, or on vacation? In Frank’s opinion, a longer vacation or quality time with our families or pursuing our favorite hobbies (even though apparently unproductive) might be a genuine way to increase our happiness. Economist Tyler Cowen, however, points out that nowadays people are obviously highlighting experiences (i.e. vacation periods), as they stream out to social media to record their food and travel and etc. They can share those great pictures from their vacations with hundreds of Facebook or Instagram friends, making sure these will be seen. So, in that sense, experiences with our friends and relatives could also be considered as a conspicuous type of consumption. So, what has this to do with the appeal of Yerevan cafés? The search for status? The hope for some practical benefit? Or is it just the search for happiness?

BY LAURA MANUKYAN

I

have been living away from Yerevan for four years. Over these years, every time I visited my city, I noticed more new (and fancy) cafes. Over time, I also noticed that café visits seemed to grow in numbers and I started wondering whether it was just my impression or the reality. I have been particularly puzzled by the fact that people always complain about their wages and living standards, yet they do not mind spending money in cafés. Wouldn’t they be better off saving money and using it to improve their long-term living standards? Why are they behaving in this (seemingly irrational) way? How come cafés seem to have this big (and growing) appeal?

THE CONCEPT OF CONSPICUOUS CONSUMPTION Robert Frank, an economist at Cornell University, has spent many years studying individual behavior. He claims that we are sometimes irrational in the way we decide what and how much to consume. For example, in several instances some of us like others to see what they are consuming, especially if the items they buy allow them to display wealth and income (even if they do not really need them – which would support the “irrationality” claim).

DIGGING DEEPER I started by checking with café owners

Table 1 To meet new people

Business purposes

Other

25

27

29

27

Male

199

7

24

28

Married

72%

1%

15%

10%

Not married

83%

0%

4%

11%

Employed

74%

2%

10%

12%

Not employed

82%

7%

4%

4%

Female

382

4

6

26

Married

83%

0%

4%

13%

To meet friends Average Age

Not married

89%

1%

1%

6%

Employed

87%

2%

2%

8%

Not employed 90% 0% 1% Note: percentages correspond to shares in the corresponding group.

7%

Table 2 0-10%

10-20%

20-30%

>30%

To meet friends

45%

33%

15%

4%

To meet new people

55%

18%

18%

9%

Business purposes

50%

27%

20%

3%

Other

40%

26%

26%

5%

Total

310

216

114

27

Note: percentages correspond to shares in the corresponding group.

about the phenomenon and its reasons. However, as I did not get many insights from interviewing them, I decided to conduct an online survey. The survey was shared through Facebook and LinkedIn. It included questions about personal information, income, spending, time preferences and impressions regarding cafés. First of all, I tried to understand who was answering my questions by asking questions about monthly incomes and what share of that income was spent, on average, in cafés. It turned out that: • Almost 52% of the sample have income from $100 to $400 (the average wage in Yerevan is around $350). • 47% of the respondents spent between 10 and 30% of their monthly income, on average, in cafes, while about 4% spent more than 30%. • The only category in which the majority of individuals (60%) spends relatively little (between 0 and 10%) in cafes is the group of individuals earning more than $1000 per month. • Another interesting finding is that the younger people are (respondents), the more they spend. After the general questions, I tried to find out the main reason(s) my respondents spend their time and money in cafes. I asked: “Why do you spend time in a café?” The following options were provided: • To meet friends • To meet new people • Business purposes • Other As seen in Table 1, 85% (581 out of 667 who go to cafés) of the sample stated that they spend time in cafes to meet

their friends. It is also noteworthy that the average age of both males and females increases as we move to the “To meet new people” category and, even more, for the respondents who go to cafés for business purposes. Hence, age seems to affect the priorities of respondents. A few more adults are concentrated on work and thus it is logical that they spend time and money in cafes for business purposes. Another interesting finding is that the share of women, regardless of being married, is higher than that of men. In the category of “Employed” and “Not employed” women again dominate men. The “other reason” category (which might include people going “just to show off”) captures about 9% of the preferences. It is also worthwhile to look at the question of interest from a different angle: the share of income people spend, given the different reasons they decide to spend time and money in cafés. According to the data in Table 2, people for whom the primary reason of going to cafés is to meet their friends are those spending more on it, with the exception of those reporting “other reasons”. If we were to believe that “other reasons” include showing off, while meeting with friends doesn’t, this would indicate a relatively limited incidence of conspicuous consumption. However, it is much more plausible that even individuals meeting friends might be keen on showing off on social media. If we asked these people (who like to spend time with friends) how often they shared any post (picture of themselves, the food, drinks or just the nice café) related to meeting friends, the share of those persons would probably have

been quite considerable. I asked a final question to check whether the perception about going to cafés was just my impression or others also agreed: “Do you think that people are spending too much time and money in cafes in Armenia?” on a scale from 1 (disagree) to 10 (agree). 61% agreed, to some extent with the statement.

CONCLUSION So, based on what we have discussed so far, can we claim that indeed people go to cafes too much in Yerevan? And… is this a waste of money? People in Yerevan do seem to go quite often to cafés and to spend a non-negligible amount of money there. Although showing off may be one of the drivers for café visits, people seem mostly to go to cafes and spend time (and money) there with their friends, which can arguably be seen as a way to maximize their short-term happiness (versus trying to meet new people and or acquire new business opportunities). While somebody might see this as a waste of money, it is hard to dismiss this type of behavior as purely wasteful. After all, who is to say money has better uses than “buying” happiness (even if for a short period of time)? “Do you think that people are spending too much time and money in cafes in Armenia?” # of people

Percent

Cumulative

1

24

4%

4%

2

14

2%

6%

3

30

4%

10%

4

67

10%

19%

5

135

20%

39%

6

87

13%

52%

7

104

15%

67%

8

81

12%

79%

9

51

7%

86%

10

91

13%

100%

Total

684

100%

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BUSINESS

GEORGIA TODAY NOVEMBER 20 - 22, 2018

5

Georgian MFA Participates in 1st Trilateral Consultation with France & Germany

BY DIMITRI DOLABERIDZE

P

aris hosted the first trilateral political consultations between the Georgian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the French Ministry of Europe and Foreign Affairs and the German Federal Foreign Office, on 14 November. The Georgian delegation was led by the Deputy Foreign Minister, Vakhtang Makharoblishvili, the French delegation by the Director for Continental Europe at the French Ministry of Europe and Foreign Affairs, Florence Mangin, and the German delegation by the Head of the Division for Central Asia and the Southern Caucasus at the German Federal Foreign Office, Michael Siebert. The launch of the trilateral format of consultations came from the close and growing relations with France and Germany, the two leading states of Europe, and to the interest of Georgia, as a reliable partner of these two countries, in founding a high-level political dialogue

in the trilateral format (Georgia-GermanyFrance). Within the frames of the consultations, special attention was paid to the foreign policy issues of priority importance of Georgia, on which the position and support of France and Germany, as well as coordinated work between them, takes on a particularly meaningful importance. Vakhtang Makharoblishvili highlighted the Georgian government’s implemented and planned reforms, foreign policy priorities, the ongoing process of European and Euro-Atlantic integration, problems relating to the occupied territories, aspects of regional security and relations with the neighboring countries. Each of the aforementioned topics represents an issue of special interest to both the French and German governments and is set to be discussed regularly in the format of trilateral political consultations. Georgia continues its pursuit of the irreversible process of EU and NATO integration. The Georgian side identified the steps which the Georgian government is taking in coordination with its

European partners, in order to get closer to the European family, to further deepen sectoral integration and to increase compatibility with the North-Atlantic Alliance. Makharoblishvili thanked his French and German Colleagues for their valuable contribution to Georgia’s integration with the western institutions. The sides expressed hope that these two leading states will further continue to support Georgia in this regard. The security and human rights situation in Georgia’s occupied territories and the Georgian government’s efforts aimed at peaceful resolution of the conflict were high on the agenda of the trilateral consultations. Substantial discussions were held on concrete ways to ensure the further involvement of the French and German sides in the conflictresolution process. The sides exchanged views regarding regional challenges. Talking points also included Georgia’s relations with the US and the neighboring countries, as well as co-operation with the regions of the Middle East and Asia. Reaffirming their support for Georgia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, as well as for its successful European and Euro-Atlantic integration path, the French and German delegations highly appraised Georgia’s substantial contribution towards ensuring international peace and security. They highlighted that having transformed itself into a role-model of democratic development in the region and a geo-strategic hub connecting Europe with Asia, Georgia will remain on the political agenda of the EU, and specifically of France and Germany. The participants agreed to make regular trilateral consultations between Georgia, Germany and France.

Image source: Book Mundi

Tbilisi Budget 2019 & Priorities BY THEA MORRISON

T

he draft budget of Tbilisi is to be GEL 871,631,510 million ($326,123,960) next year. In 2019, City Hall expects revenues to increase by approximately GEL 850 million ($318m). If we compare the approved budget of 2018 to the 2019 draft budget, the growth is about GEL 10 million ($3.74m). In particular, the Tbilisi government will spend GEL 105 million ($39.29m) on the construction of transportation infrastructure in 2019. GEL 87 million ($32.55m) will be allocated for construction and rehabilitation of roads, an increase yearon-year of GEL 10 million ($3.74m). Compared to 2018, City Hall plans to spend GEL 1 million less ($374,153) on the rehabilitation of damaged houses. In 2019, GEL 15 million ($5.6 m) will be allocated from the budget for reinforcing damaged buildings. City Hall will spend nearly GEL 93 million ($34.8m) on the improvement of ecological conditions in the capital: GEL 26 million ($9.73m) will be spent on tree planting and greenery works, which is GEL 3 million ($1,122,460) more compared to the 2018 budget.

In 2019, Tbilisi City Hall will allocate GEL 191 million ($71.46 m) for social programs, of which GEL 48 million ($17.96m) will be spent on healthcare. Compared to the previous year, healthcare expenses will be increased by GEL 2 million ($748,306) in 2019. Next year, City Hall is to increase administrative expenses. In 2019, City Hall will finance the expenses of representation and executive bodies with GEL 97 million ($36.29 m), of which almost GEL 86 million ($32.18 m) will be spent on remuneration. Compared to last year, City Hall will spend 2 million GEL ($748,306) more on salaries. "I would like to point out that the increased budget does not mean the salaries of the Mayor or his deputies will increase. The same applies to the salaries of the heads of any city service agency or City Council members,” said Irakli Zarkua, Chairman of Tbilisi City Council Property Management and Finance-Budget Commission. In addition, Tbilisi City Hall reports that in 2019, it is planned to reconstruct the Kakheti highway from the airport junction to Lochini Bridge, renovate the bridge on Sarajishvili Avenue and the bridge connecting University Street and Tskneti Highway. Next year, City Hall also plans to build 10 new kindergartens.


6

BUSINESS

GEORGIA TODAY

NOVEMBER 20 - 22, 2018

Social Investment - Making a Difference & a Profit BY AMY JONES

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n recent years, more and more companies and foundations are putting endowments into projects that help the world and work towards sustainable development goals, rather than just using the stock market and hoping for corporate gains. On November 15, the Georgian Center for Strategic Research and Development held a seminar on venture philanthropy and social investment. Attendees from various corporates and NGOs gained practical information about projects and their social outcomes from experts in the field of venture philanthropy and social investment. The main ambition of social investment is to build the capacity of a charity in order to achieve greater social impact. The market has been growing rapidly over the last ten years as businesses adopt the technique of gifting grants or

mainstream financial investments. Indeed, in 2016, investors looking for financial returns that demonstrated social good improvement committed $21.1 billion to approximately 8000 investments. In the UK, the industry is even growing faster than the agricultural industry, with 100,000 social enterprises now in existence. Venture philanthropy and social investment move away from the traditional approach of gifting grants and uses three core practices to increase impact. Firstly, it tailors finance to the specific needs of each organization and doesn’t just restrict finance to the form of grants. Secondly, it applies added value support services to develop skills or improve structures, for example, by offering expert advice and training. Finally, it uses impact measurement and management to pinpoint what does and doesn’t work in order to better manage the impact. Speaking at the seminar, Chris West, former Director of the Shell Foundation from 2008 - 2015 and pioneer in venture

philanthropy, spoke in detail about his experiences adopting a social investment approach. The Shell Foundation was set up by Shell in order to help the company’s suffering PR image by investing in social projects. After an initial relatively unsuccessful phase, the team adopted a venture philanthropy approach which hugely benefited social enterprises, Shell as a company, and millions of lives around the world. Pirkko Valge from the Good Deed Foundation in Estonia spoke of their challenges and successes in building an incubator for social enterprises, the first of its kind in the country. By implementing a social investment and venture philanthropy method to support projects, both the Shell Foundation and Good Deed Foundation witnessed a transformation in the success of projects. In 2010, 80% of the partners supported by the Shell Foundation had achieved impact at scale and in ways that were financially viable. Millions of

Chris West, former Director of the Shell Foundation

lives were changed for the better through the development of companies that created products such as clean energy cooking stoves. In the Shell Foundation’s first 13 years, they generated 21,400 jobs and saved 3.4 million tons of carbon. Venture philanthropy is still relatively unknown in Georgia. However, as more and more businesses wake up to the

potential of creating social change in this way, the success rate should continue to rise in Georgia, and around the world. Money invested in business-driven solutions could be a significant opportunity for Georgia to improve financial services access, renewable energy, affordable housing, and healthcare, among other important aspects of life.

Russia Leading in Terms of Money Transfers to Georgia BY THEA MORRISON

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n January-October 2018, the volume of money transfers from foreign countries in Georgia amounted to $1,292,545,200 which is $173.5 million more (15%) compared to the same period of the previous year ($1,119,015,000). The highest amount of money transferred in January-October 2018 came from Russia, followed by Italy and Greece.

Image source: NBG

The National Bank of Georgia (NBG) reports that in October 2018, the volume of money transferred from abroad constituted $137.2 million (365.0 million GEL), which is 11.6 % ($14.2 million) more than the amount transferred in October 2017. In October 2018, 93.4% of the total money transfers from abroad came from the 17 largest donor countries, with the volume of transfers from these countries each exceeding $1 mln in October 2018. These countries are: Russia ($39.66m),

Italy ($16.67m), Greece ($15.34m), US ($14.35m), Israel ($11,39m), Turkey ($7.52m), Germany ($3.78), Spain ($3.44m), Ukraine ($2.65m), Poland ($2.21m), Azerbaijan ($1.86m), France ($1.76m), Kyrgistan ($1.68m), UK ($1.47m), Kazakhstan ($1.42m), Cyprus ($1.27m) and Canada ($1.14m). In October 2017, the share of these 17 countries constituted 93.5% of the total volume of money transfers. In October 2018, $21.2 million (GEL 56.4 million) was transferred from Georgia. $18.5 million (46.2 million GEL) was

transferred from Georgia abroad in October 2017. The statistics of money transfers to Georgia in recent years is as follows: 2015 - $ 1,079,952,100 2016 - $ 1,151,236,200 2017 - $ 1,379,462,500 2018 - $ 1,292,545,200 (Jan-Oct) As for the money transfers from Georgia, the statistics are: 2015 - $ 170,843,800 2016 - $ 194,026,800 2017 - $ 208,678,200 2018 - $ 56.4 million (Jan-Oct)


BUSINESS

GEORGIA TODAY NOVEMBER 20 - 22, 2018

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Nerd Nation: The People Factor behind Armenia’s Tech Prowess BY DR. SIMON APPLEBY

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iny landlocked Armenia is best known in the region for apricots and brandy, and is the source of long-running Caucasus rivalries as to which nationality first invented winemaking, whose mineral water and dolma are superior, and whose Olympians are better at wrestling and weightlifting. However, Armenia has a more recent claim to fame: it was a major technology hub of the Soviet Union. Over 150,000 ethnic Armenians from the diaspora settled in the Armenian Soviet Socialist Republic at the invitation of the Soviet government after the Second World War (partly to compensate for the massive loss of life among Armenia’s male population). As a result, while quite mono-ethnic, Armenia was cosmopolitan in ways that other Soviet Republics were not. Armenian settlers from Iran, Lebanon, Syria, Egypt, Palestine, France and USA integrated into Soviet Armenia’s life, with the academics among them working effectively alongside their USSR-born colleagues in hardware and software development, rocket science and medicine. The cross-fertilization of ideas and concepts from East and West in Armenia’s institutions bore fruit. Armenia played a key role in the development of the first Soviet atomic bomb, and produced around 40% of the USSR’s computer hardware. The Armenian-developed “Sevan” OS powered the Soviet Union’s ICBM inventory as well as its nuclear submarines; a great deal of dual-use technology was developed in Armenian state institutions, and significant investments in hardware manufacturing and assembly were made. By the late 1980s, Armenians wryly referred to themselves as a “Nerd Nation”, seeing a career in IT as both prestigious and politically uncontroversial.

DIASPORA-LED DEVELOPMENT The dark days of the 1990s brought much of this momentum to a halt, but the past decade has seen a renaissance in Armenia’s tech sector. On the one hand, the steady inflow of diaspora Armenians from all over the world has brought capital, export market networks, access to latest technologies and modern project management knowhow. On the other hand, ethnic Armenians in STEM disciplines abroad, many of whom are members of the Philadelphia-based Armenian Scientific Diaspora Association, serve as a bridge for talented Armenian developers looking to commercialize their products or perform outsourcing services to foreign companies. Several donor and government-financed initiatives also play a role. Established in 2002, the Enterprise Incubator Foundation (EIF) attracted to its facility such technology giants as Microsoft, Sun Microsystems, IBM, Cisco, HP and Intel. EIF also hosts a venture capital fund Granatus, a source of equity and guidance to early stage tech companies which are also to be found on EIF’s premises. Importantly, EIF has set up a technology center in Gyumri, Armenia’s second largest city. Investment promotion by Business Armenia is becoming more polished and customer-focused, signaling that the Armenian tech sector is open for business. Indeed, global players find Armenia an increasingly attractive location. An example is Synopsys, a developer of “secure everything”, from silicon chips to AI, to cloud computing and IOT applications. With over 13,000 staff worldwide, Synopsys has a large presence in Yerevan with several hundred employees and its own training center. Another US-headquartered company with a base in Armenia is National Instruments, operating in the test/measure/control system segment. As a result of all the above, over the past decade Armenia’s tech exports have been growing at an average pace of 23%/year, reaching 15% of total exports. The tech sector’s overall output currently accounts for 6% of GDP, similar to agriculture. While Georgia’s architect-designed Tech Park in Mtatsminda looks like a transplant from Silicon Valley, much of Armenia’s IT sector work has been done in crumbling Soviet-era buildings, with decent cable internet connection but neither aesthetically pleasing nor very comfortable. That is set to change.

TUMO is Armenia’s flagship “IT and Creativity” program, training more than 14,000 Armenian youngsters in Yerevan, Gyumri, Stepanakert and Dilizhan.

THE PEOPLE FACTOR While the arrival of foreign tech companies was a great boon for the development of Armenia’s tech personnel, qualified labor remains a key constraint for the industry. Armenia may have integrated chess into its general school curricula, however the teaching of STEM disciplines in primary and secondary schools remains weak, particularly in rural areas. Several non-governmental, diaspora-financed initiatives are working to close the gap in IT, tech and creativity skills while operating outside the formal school system. Still, a solid foundation in mathematics and basic sciences is very important at school level, and this responsibility largely lies with government. One example of a non-governmental initiative to promote computer literacy is the in-school robotics initiative by the Union of IT Enterprises, piloted in Armath. A more comprehensive approach is represented by TUMO, an innovative after-school training program providing free-of-charge “IT and Creativity” training for more than 14,000 youngsters in Yerevan, Gyumri, Stepanakert and Dilizhan (three new centers will be launched in 2019). The brainchild of a US-based IT entrepreneur, Sam Simonyan, TUMO has just opened its first international franchise (in Paris) and is soon to go global. Given the weakness of government systems, individual people, prominent philanthropists and social entrepreneurs, play an oversized role in the transformation of Armenia’s Nerd Nation. For many of these individuals, including TUMO’s Sam Simonyan, the focus on education goes hand-in-hand with regional development and the building of an ecosystem for science and tech innovation. With their fortune originating in Russia’s financial sector, Ruben Vardanyan and his wife Veronika Zonabend are behind several philanthropic enterprises, the best known of these, iDEA Foundation, has established an international boarding school in Dilijan, tourist attractions in the remote southern region of Syunik, and the Aurora Humanitarian Initiative. Another offspring of iDEA is the Foundation for Armenian Science and Technology (FAST) co-founded in 2017 with a successful life sciences investor Noubar Afeyan in order “to mobilize the scientific, technological, and financial resources of the Armenian and international communities.” FAST’s current offering includes an incubator, an Angel Investor network, a travel grant program, a fellowship program, and internships for undergraduates in established IT firms. Their 2018 public events have been a great success, with the NSF-FAST Conference in October 2017 well attended and the Global Innovation Forum a very interesting and thought-provoking event covering Life Sciences and IT (the full catalogue of presentations can be seen here). FAST is now working to convert a large land parcel in inner Yerevan into a special technology zone that will host ICT-related faculties of Armenia’s universities as well as innovators and investors from around the world.

CHALLENGES AHEAD • Rather weak STEM teaching in primary and secondary schools results in a scarcity of teenagers eligible for tertiary education in STEM.

• Vocational-level instruction for technicians is inadequate. • The growth of Armenia’s tech sector is causing rapid inflation in salaries as vacancies exceed qualified candidates. To an extent the gap is being filled by Iranian programmers fleeing their country, but that is not a long-term solution. It is anticipated that Armenia will need an extra 25,000 programmers by 2025, but the current supply pipeline cannot meet that need. • In the face of rapid wage growth, the sector must refocus on quality products and a great return

on investment for clients. This will require investment in branding and marketing, not just a race to the bottom on price. • There is negligible state funding for early-stage commercialization of research, unlike Europe, USA and China, and this is a stage that few commercial entities will touch. • There is not yet a deep enough pool of VC’s and Angels operating locally. If these challenges are addressed, the technology sector in Armenia could be a major contributor to the national economy and employer of talented young people, effectively ending the process of brain drain that has plagued Armenia for two decades. Combined with modern agriculture and a prudent approach to tourism development, Armenia’s lack of natural resources and problematic relations with its two Turkic neighbors would no longer be a significant impediment to development and prosperity. * * * Eleanor Roosevelt is known to have said: 'Learn from the mistakes of others. You can't live long enough to make them all yourself.' While we are quick to recognize the mistakes of our neighbors, this week’s Tbilinomics toast is to our ability to recognize and learn from their successes. About the author: Based in Armenia, Dr. Appleby is an Australian veterinary scientist and agronomist, and has been operating Hong Kong-based agribusiness group Yu Feng Nong Holdings since 1997. His companies are engaged in M&A consulting, agricultural engineering, farm and asset management.


8

BUSINESS

GEORGIA TODAY

NOVEMBER 20 - 22, 2018

Chronograph BY MARIAM MERABISHVILI

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he store "Chronograph" hosted press representatives, celebrities and dedicated customers on October 19. "Chronograph" was opened in Tbilisi in 2012. The store, located on the first floor of the historic building of the City Assembly on Liberty (Freedom) Square, now represents a number of brands of luxury category watches, jewelry and accessories. Chronograph as a brand and as a company is constantly evolving. Its portfolio changes according to customer requirements and market trends. Autumn in Chronograph is diverse as the season

itself. The store portfolio added three strong brands to the world market for watches and jewelry categories: Roberto Coin, Messika and Omega. Omega is an innovative and bold Swiss watch brand, with distinctive spaceship motives and a “six-way trip to the moon,” being one of the best brands in the luxury category of watches. This is a brand that constantly offers innovations that can be found worldwide- from NASA to James Bond’s wrist and the Olympic Games. ‘The brand that travels’ is one way to describe Omega, whose watches have seen the "edge of the country" - the north and south poles. Omega took its first space voyage in 1962 when astronauts Walter Shira and Gordo Cooper entered the spacecraft with Omega Speedmasters. Chronograph is an exclusive representative of Omega on the Georgian market.


BUSINESS

GEORGIA TODAY NOVEMBER 20 - 22, 2018

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Reasons behind the Unconditional Leadership of the HUAWEI Mate20 Series

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he presentation of the HUAWEI Mate20 series and its unique opportunities has been well-spotlighted by international media and it has received both positive reviews and awards from them. The best camera is the one that you have, and if you are choosing, choose the HUAWEI Mate20. It was unexpected for everyone when Huawei beat Apple's sales and occupied second place in the world, but after the presentation of the new Mate20 series, experts predict HUAWEI will make first place and replace Samsung. The experts' opinion is shared by various well-known media outlets, and their opinions are not groundless. According to the latest data of 2018, the HUAWEI Mate20 series has received positive reviews and awards from the media. In a short period, up to 41 top reviews were received from global and regional media and it is expected that this will only continue to grow. HUAWEI strengthens competition because it finds ways to surprise, pamper and please its customers. The company focuses on daily functions such as durable and long-lasting battery and new color variations. The presentation of the HUAWEI Mate20 series and its unique opportunities has been well-spotlighted by international media. One of the most famous magazines, Forbes, writes: “My first impression of Huawei Mate 20 Pro was positive from the start. Just like other editions that write about technologies, I was excited by its features, as they cover everything you could ask from mobile phone in 2018. After uisng the smartphone for one week, I can confirm that the first excitment and expectations are totally justified.” PC World published an article and

offered the best choice to its readers: "If you are facing a dilemma and you have to make the best choice, make it a Mate 20 Pro. This is a smartphone with a new, wide-angle camera, night regime and 5x hybrid zoom. The new series promises more exciting photos. The best camera is the one that you have, and if you are choosing, choose the HUAWEI Mate20 Pro.” Gulf News writes: “HUAWEI has moved to another level with the presentation of its Mate20 series, making it a danger to its rivals.” ZDNet evaluates the HUAWEI Mate20 series: “The HUAWEI Mate20 includes all the best features in one device and it will be definitely hard to beat." “The HUAWEI Mate20 is an amazing phone, with an improved camera that captures the pictures you once only dreamed about. It has the best balance between actual optics and processing power,” writes Digital Camera World. The unique features of the HUAWEI Mate20 Pro are spotlighted by the publication Metro: “The HUAWEI Mate20 Pro is an example of aleading phone in 2018. It has the best hardware, smart software and several notable functions, such as In-screen Fingerprint.” Mighty Gadget reports: “Through the special camera and battery of HUAWEI Mate20 series, now I can get the majority of my work without the additional camera and without the fear that the battery will not last until the shooting is done. Even just because of that, this phone is worth paying money for.” And still, what are the reasons behind the unconditional leadership of the HUAWEI Mate20 series? The most refined and attractive design, unique and innovative colors. • It is equipped with the most innovative and small 7-nanometer processor Kirin 980, that uses a processor based

on Cortex-A76 and Mali-G76 GPU. Through the perfect combination of Dual-NPU and Cat.21 modem, they work more efficiently and use less energy. • Through the new Kirin 980, it is already able to capture 46% improved graphic images. In addition, while playing games, AI can determine the workload and provide the resources for optimal image and quality. In comparison with the previous generation, the Kirin 980 provides the fastest loading of applications. • The old tradition is preserved in the new smartphone, and all three main cameras are created in collaboration with Leica, giving users an opportunity to capture objects at a minimum distance and focusing at even 2.5cm from the lens. Unlike the previous models, there is a more enhanced lens with a broader view (16 mm). • The HUAWEI Mate20 series is equipped with operative system EMUI 9.0 based on Android Pie, through which users can access all the working and entertainment functions of the smartphone with a simple touch to the screen. EMUI 9.0 is followed by the GPU Turbo 2.0 – with more support for game-lovers. • Yet another important function of the system is HiVision, which enables the camera to capture famous attractions or paintings and deliver users information about them. • Enhanced battery: the working time of the battery is improved and enhanced in the new models of HUAWEI. Through the 4200 mp battery, it is now possible to charge the phone up to 70% in 30 minutes. • The HUAWEI Mate20 Pro is the first smartphone in the world to have support relevant to 4.5G LTE Cat. 21 standard, giving users a chance to benefit from a 1.4 GB/s download speed. It also has the fastest Wi-Fi connection, allowing for

max. 10 seconds downloading. • The HUAWEI Mate20 Pro has the support of 3D Face Unlock. Through this feature, it is possible to identify a user in just six seconds. A camera with 3D in-depth sensor is installed on the front, which allows the device to see even the smallest details of the subjects with the highest precision. The fingerprint access is installed directly in the screen. • The HUAWEI Mate20 Series also features an AI Portrait Color video mode. Using AI, the HUAWEI Mate20 Series can isolate human subjects and desaturate the colors around them to dramatically highlight the person. AI Spotlight Reel identifies clips with a shared theme and auto-generates a montage made entirely of highlights. • In-screen Fingerprint, embodying exquisite design, the newest processor Kirin 980, 3X optical zoom, extraordi-

nary capturing capabilities, next-generation intelligence, the fastest charging function and 4K support – the new HUAWEI Mate20 Series represent perfection in the industry of innovative technologies. HUAWEI products and services are available in over 170 countries and are used by a third of the world's population. 16 research and development centers operate throughout the world, in the USA, Germany, Sweden, Russia, and India and China. HUAWEI Consumer BG is one of HUAWEI's three business units, and their main direction is the production of smartphones, personal computers, tablets, and cloud services. Huawei Global Network is based on 20 years’ experience in the telecommunication business and offers innovative technologies for consumers worldwide.

Nenskra HHP Project Preparatory Works Are On In Chuberi

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SC Nenskra Hydro, Nenskra Hydropower Plant (HPP) project company resumed the preparatory works in village Chuberi of Mestia municipality. The July 5 flood-affected road stretch is being reconstructed now. The reconstructed road stretch will contribute to free movement of the local community members, and the construction company will get access to the next affected stretch to reconstruct. The following works are to be executed to reconstruct the road stretch in question: a temporary canal will be trenched to divert the river flow, river bank protection works, set up a rockfill and divert the river flow back to its original course. About 10 pieces of heavy vehicles and equipment are mobilized on the site. The works are being executed by Georgian Construction Consortium, contractor of Nenskra Hydro. The next phase of the pre-construction work will include construction of 3 bridges on the Nenskra river. Overall preparatory works that will include the rehabilitation and construction of the roads and bridges in both Nenskra and Nakra valleys, as well as power supply line installment, shall be concluded by December 2019.


10

BUSINESS

GEORGIA TODAY

NOVEMBER 20 - 22, 2018

Ici Paris Presents New Perfume by CARVEN: Dans Ma Bulle

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ince 1945, French perfume maker Carven has been making timeless, enchanting perfumes for women and men. Being inspired by the history of the brand and its DNA, Carven Parfums has opened a new chapter based on elegance and simplicity. More than 70 years after the iconic "MA GRIFFE" and "VÉTIVER" perfumes were released, Carven is impressing us once again with its intoxicating charm and stylish spirited perfumes. The olfactive adventure continues with the new fragrance for women " DANS MA BULLE", a blend of freshness, fantasy and sensuality. Top note: the sparkling fruity freshness of Litchi Rose is blended with the floral delicacy of Peony for a very natural hook. Heart note: the unique addictive quality of the Sugared Almond Accord combined with Heliotrope enhances the ultra femininity of Jasmine. Base note: Vanilla and Sandalwood enrich the floral heart note in an elegant sensuality and orientalize the fragrance to make a floral, oriental, powdery bubble. The new perfume DANS MA BULLE is an invitation to live and share in the world of the Carven girl. This fragrance offers a new addiction, a concentrate of freshness, fantasy and sensuality. It is designed for curious and daring girls who know how to mix Parisian chic and relaxation.


CULTURE

GEORGIA TODAY NOVEMBER 20 - 22, 2018

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Exhibition Opens on 100th Anniversary of the Death of Pirosmani in the Albertina Museum in Vienna BY MARIAM MERABISHVILI

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he exhibition was opened on the 100th anniversary of the death of Niko Pirosmani in the Albertina Museum, Vienna on October 25, where the artist's 29 works are presented alongside Ilia Zdanevich's handmade 1972 book made in Paris, "Pirosmanashvili 1914" featuring Pablo Picasso's engraving, "Pirosmani Portrait". The gala dinner was attended by 250 honorable guests including the Georgian and Austrian culture ministers, and saw the Georgian Wine and Spirits (GWS) Company’s ambassador present the line of “Tamada” (toastmaster) which was greatly appreciated by the visitors. Pirosmani, like Georgian wine, is unique, indigenous and distinguished by specific characteristics. Correspondingly, the difference of Tamada’s wines is expressed and at the same time, their origin is emphasized. “Attending the opening ceremony of the exhibition was quite emotional,” said GWS ambassador Kate Kenkishvili. “It's a great honor that Pirosmani's works are being exhibited in one of Europe's most prominent and significant museums. At the opening ceremony the Georgian side also presented other elements of Georgian culture: Georgian music,

GWS Georgian wine... Vienna's high society, invited to Vernisage, got to discover Piromani's creations, taste Georgian wine, listen to Georgian songs and in this way, discover Georgia, a small country full of rich culture and ancient traditions. GWS is a great supporter of Georgian art and we support the Georgian National Museum- on one of our most popular wine brands “Tamada,” the etiquette displays a famous painting of Pirosmani. GWS’s motto is quality and professionalism, which is also expressed by the fact our premium line wines are presented not only on Georgian historical wine markets, but also on such prestigious ones in Europe as Austria, France, Switzerland, Germany and so on.” The Tamada brand is a sharp expression of character that is unique and easy to remember. It’s said that if a man from Kakheti doesn’t have a vineyard, his life is boring. Pirosmani’s parents had a small vineyard and he thus developed a special attitude towards wine. “GWS’s premium brand Tamada is closely related to art,” said Salome Dolidze, Brand Manager of Tamada. “We have been the partner of the National Museum of Georgia since 2014. We are trying to support the work and development of the museum. Our brand is a big supporter of Pirosmani's creations, clearly visible on the Tamada logo, where "Feast of 5 Princes" is depicted. We are honored that Tamada was exclusively presented at the opening of the Pirosmani Exhibition in the Alberta

Museum, and we are very pleased to be appreciated at such an important cultural event.” Tamada was created in 2001 and has since acquired many gold medals at international wine competitions. The Tamada portfolio includes seven wine types from appellation of controlled origins: Tsinandali, Mukuzani, Napareuli, Khvanchkara, Kindzmarauli, Akhalsheni, and Tvishi. “Niko Pirosmani, this self-styled artist whose radiant and emotional works often reflect animals or scenes from the lives of old Georgia and his people, is considered to be an avant-garde artist who deserves to be discovered again. Pirosmani's concept of art is an open field where he deliberately chooses a nomadic life; wandering the city and the village, between the inns and the stables. At the same time, he is at the center of public attention with his ordered works which are not exhibited in galleries and museums, but rather inns, restaurants and pubs. Pirosmani encourages the artist as a sighted observer,” states the Albertina Museum of Vienna. The exhibition is dedicated to the 100th anniversary of the death of the artist. Within the framework of the project, the contemporary art space of the museum is also hosting modern artists Yoshi-Moto Nara and Andro Vekua. The exhibition is on until January 27, 2019. The exhibition was organized with the collaboration of the Albertina Museum and Infinitart Foun-

dation and the Georgian National Museum and Vincent Van Gogh's Arls Foundation. GWS is one of the most famous and oldest wineries in Georgia, founded in Telavi in 1993 on the base of the famous winery Telavi2 created in 1976. It owns 350 hectares of vineyards, most of which are 15-25 years old: 280 are red grape varietals and 120 are white. These include 70% Georgian traditional grape varietal and 30% international. The company produces a still wine, sparkling wine and high alcoholic products that are known as Tamada, Old Tbilisi, Adamanti, Vismino and Elibo. Soon, it will present consumers wine created using biotechnology from their vineyards.

Legendary Tochinoshin Given Book Dedicated to 50th Anniversary of Rustavi Ensemble

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he Georgian State Folk Song and Dance Academic Ensemble "Rustavi" is holding a 50-year anniversary tour in Japan. The tour, which started in Ichikawa (China), includes 21 cities of Japan and involves 33 concerts. All members of the Ensemble are taking part in the Japanese tour, and have left the more than 100,000 spectators, who have so far seen them there, both surprised and excited. The final concert will be held on November 21 in the city of Osaka. Within the framework of Japanese tour, the members of the Ensemble met legendary Georgian sumo wrestler Tochinoshin (born Levan Gorgadze) and handed to him a unique book dedicated to the 50th anniversary of Rustavi Ensemble, written by the Founder and Artistic Director of the Ensemble, Anzor Erkomaishvili. The audio recordings of 400

Georgian songs and chants performed by the Ensemble and 16 compact discs are attached to the book. The Georgian State Folk Song and Dance Academic Ensemble was founded in 1968 by Anzor Erkomaishvili and his friends. At first, the ensemble consisted only of singers. That same year, they were joined by a group of dancers and have been working together ever since. Since its establishment, the ensemble has held more than 7000 concerts in over 80 countries around the world. The repertoire of the Ensemble includes dances and songs originating from almost every corner of Georgia. The style of the singers as well as the dancers is traditional and preserves a historical color. The Rustavi Ensemble was awarded the Zakaria Paliashvili (1980), Albert Schweitzer (1986) and Georgian State (1999) prizes for special contribution to the popularization of Georgian folk songs.

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Profile for Georgia Today

Issue #1102 Business  

November 20 - 22, 2018

Issue #1102 Business  

November 20 - 22, 2018

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