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Issue no: 1172/191

• JULY 30 - AUGUST 1, 2019



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

Ofcom Fines Russian News RT for Impartiality NEWS PAGE 2

Changes to the Residence Permit of Georgia BUSINESS PAGE 4


Reading Changes Thoughts, Thoughts Change Actions – on Sabkultura


Celebrating 100 years of statistics



Minister of Economy Visits Thermal Power Plants in Gardabani

Georgia Advances Position in Global Innovation Index 2019


Austrian Development Agency and CENN Launch Green Economy School in Georgia



eorgia has advanced its position in the Global Innovation Index 2019 (GII) and was ranked 48th out of a total 129 countries, which is an 11-point improvement compared to the 2018 index, where Georgia took 59th place. Georgia’s recent success means that now it is among the top 50 most innovative countries in the world. The main indicators of such an important success are Georgia's hightech import, export of information and communications services (ICT) and industrial design. Head of the Innovation and Technology Agency of the Ministry of


Exhibition: Keti Davlianidze’s Abkhazia CULTURE PAGE 11 Prepared for Georgia Today Business by

Markets Asof26ͲJulͲ2019


Image source: ge.com

Continued on page 3






















Economy and Sustainable Development, Avtandil Kasradze, says Georgia has made some big steps in terms of innovations. He noted that Georgia is not going to stop here and aims at more development and success. “The education reform initiated by the Prime Minister of Georgia, which implies spending at least 6% of GDP on education, science and innovation, will be reflected in the global innovation index in 2020, and it will take Georgia to a higher level,” Kasradze said, adding that “Large-scale reforms planned by the government provide the basis for further progress in the country. We hope that within a few years we will manage to be among the top 20 states.”


BankofGeorgia(BGEOLN) GeorgiaCapital(CGEOLN) TBCBankGroup(TBCGLN)

COMMODITIES CrudeOil,Brent(US$/bbl) GoldSpot(US$/OZ)










































































































































JULY 30 - AUGUST 1, 2019

GeoStat Celebrates 100 Years & 20 Years of Gender-Awareness @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: Weber Technologies is the latest ‘Made in Georgia’ producer! A Georgian company operating in the technological field, it recently introduced electric vehicle chargers of Georgian production, an initiative coming from the increasing popularity of electro vehicles and the desire to create an eco-friendly environ. David Khasia, founder, states that the product has Georgian interface and software and is also assembled in Georgia. Weber Technologies’ chargers enable consumers to control the kilowatt/hour and cost of charging. Starting capital came in the form of a Tech Park grant worth 5,000 GEL, backed up by the financial resources of the founders themselves. Georgian startup Stack is launching an alternative internet browser. Founders Giorgi Laliashvili, David Gavasheli, Dachi Gubadze, Zviad Sichinava, Irakli Pkhakadze, Dan Plaza and Guillerme Weiss spent three difficult months looking for starting capital and strategic partners, before engaging their company in an acceleration program. Of 930 startups, the Austrian 360LAB Accelerator selected Stack among the top five to receive investment and benefit from a four-month acceleration in the city of Graz. Stack is the first alternative browser suited to apps, and it boasts diverse functions and capabilities. Customers can open five or more web applications on one board. The Georgian agro market is ever more diversified and is to see the “yellow watermelon” as a new character on the shelves. First grown this year in Leliani village, Lagodekhi, by Davit Chumburidze, the strange-at-first-glance product has already attracted the attention of both locals and tourists. Due to the high demand, the farmer plans to expand his business in future. What makes the watermelon outstanding is that it is yellow inside. In summer, it is cultivated in Spain, and in Thailand in the winter season. The yellow watermelon is also distinguished with a particular taste, which is obtained without any pesticides. Yellow watermelon is categorized as a tropical fruit. Chumburidze also plans to produce other such products. 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



n Thursday, July 25, the regional conference Gender Statistics: Challenges and Opportunities to Report on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), was hosted by the National Statistics Office of Georgia (GeoStat) and UN Women, with the support of the UN Women’s Global Flagship Gender Data Initiative and the governments of Switzerland and Austria. The conference, held at the Radisson Blu Iveria hotel in Tbilisi, was designed to coincide with the 100-year anniversary of GeoStat, and their 20-year anniversary of collecting gender-related statistics. The regional conference was attended by several high-level Georgian and international officials, including Gogita Todradze, GeoStat’s Executive Director, Tamar Chugoshvili, Vice Speaker of the Parliament of Georgia, Papa Seck, Chief Statistician for UN Women, and the heads of national statistics offices from Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Moldova, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, and, of course, Georgia. Also in attendance were representatives from local and international non-governmental organizations and academic institutions. In his opening remarks, Todradze noted that there are several events planned for GeoStat’s 100th anniversary, “including a regional conference hosting the heads of statistics offices from up to 10 countries worldwide.” He added, “I would like to congratulate every statistician on this milestone and thank them for their fruitful cooperation. At the same time, I would like to thank UN Women for enabling us to have such a large-scale anniversary to commemorate 100 years

Image source: National Statistics Office of Georgia

of statistics.” Within the framework of the conference, participants discussed successful steps towards fulfilling the SDGs, mainstreaming gender into the statistical business production process, and dissemination and communication of gender statistics. At the end of the first day of the conference, the presented heads of the national statistics offices signed a joint statement declaring the parties’ interest to deepen cooperation and to support the continued development of their statistics systems. Also on Thursday, Prime Minister Mamuka Bakhtadze congratulated GeoStat on their anniversary, calling it “an institution that withstood historic turbulences and staffed with high-caliber professionals, who are great patriots and devotees of their homeland.” He added, “I welcome the progress that we have witnessed at GeoStat in recent years. I know the attitude of our European and international partners towards the reforms that have been carried out at the institution. I am grateful to every person who was engaged in this process. The 21st century is the era of information. Hence, your office has even greater significance now. You serve as a source

of information for all other institutions that are obliged to develop policies on the grounds of your data to advance our country and overcome the current challenges.” On Friday, July 26, the conference continued with thematic discussions on gender pay and participations gaps, and on asset ownership and entrepreneurship. They also emphasized the value of having gender-related statistics, including gender disaggregated data on time use and the challenges revealed as a result of studies on violence against women and girls. Parallel to the conference, a three-day hackathon on gender data visualization was held to raise awareness of the value and importance of good statistical data among Georgian youth. Using genderrelated statistics that GeoStat has collected over the past 20 years, participants needed to analyze the data, apply it to relevant topics or policy questions, and demonstrate how they might use the data to develop innovative products. Central themes included unpaid care work, the gender wage gap and asset ownership. The top teams shared their work with the attendees of the regional conference on Gender Statistics.



Ofcom Fines Russian News RT for Impartiality

Image source – RT



he Russian news service RT has been fined £200,000 by UK communication regulator Ofcom for breaking impartiality rules during its news and current affairs broadcasts. Funded by the Russian government, RT, formerly known as Russia Today, provides television channels and internet articles targeted at audiences outside of Russia. They produce content in English, Spanish, French, German, Arabic and Russian. Ofcom began investigating RT for breaching its impartiality rules in 2018 for its coverage on the Sergei and Yulia Skripal poisoning in Salisbury, UK, the conflict in Syria, the Ukranian government’s position on Nazism and the treatment of Roma Gypsies in Ukraine. The news outlet is regularly accused of spreading disinformation and acting as a propaganda tool for the Russian government. Indeed, RT’s editorin-chief stated that the outlet is “waging an information war against the entire Western World.” Regarding the recent impartiality breach, Ofcom said “RT’s failings were a serious breach of our due impartiality rules which protect public trust in news and other programs,” reported the BBC. However, in a statement released by RT, the outlet denied the accusations: “It is very wrong of Ofcom to have issued a sanction against RT on the basis of its breach findings that are currently under judicial review by the High Court in London,” reads the statement. “While we continue to contest the very legitimacy

of the breach decisions themselves, we find the scale of the proposed penalty to be particularly inappropriate and disproportionate per Ofcom’s own track record,” the report continues. In an article in the Guardian, CEO of Zinc Network communications agency Robert Elliot warns about the far-reaching and dangerous effects of Russian propaganda, spread via RT. Although their reach in the UK is relatively small, their content is often shared thousands of times and sometimes reported in mainstream British media without verifying the facts. “Evidence is mounting to suggest they [RT] routinely disseminate stories designed to sow division in the West and pursue the foreign policy goals of the governments that back them, consciously or otherwise,” writes Elliot. RT has also released coverage on events in Georgia. On July 12, they released a documentary titled ‘Seeking Recognition of Abkhazia: The Road to Statehood for Georgia’s Former Province.’ “Georgia views the declaration of independence as a violation of territorial integrity, but for the locals, it was rectifying years of historical injustice,” reads the description. “The Abkhaz people say their land was forcibly incorporated into Soviet Georgia because the authorities, under Joseph Stalin, were intent upon eroding Abkhaz national identity.” The extent to which Russian disinformation affects opinions and politics worldwide is hard to measure. However, recent years have underlined the impact that the spread of disinformation, especially on social media, can have on the outcome of elections and public opinion far outside of Russia’s borders.

Georgia Advances Position in Global Innovation Index 2019 Continued from page 1

The Economy and Sustainable Development Minister, Natia Turnava, noted that Georgia has a well-deserved place in the Global Innovation Index. “Georgia has made great progress in innovation. We are now in the top 50 most innovative states in the world,” she said. The Global Innovation Index is an annual ranking of countries by their capacity for, and success in, innovation. Each country is measured by seven criteria: 1. Institutions / institutional arrangement; 2. Human capital and research; 3. Telecommunication infrastructure and ecological sustainability; 4. Market conditions and market transactions; 5. Business sophistication (how do companies promote innovations); 6. The role of knowledge and technology in the creation of inventions and innovations; 7. The role of creativity in innovations. The Global Innovation Index 2019 provides detailed metrics about the innovation performance of 129 countries and economies around the world. Its 80 indicators explore a broad vision of innovation,

including political environment, education, infrastructure and business sophistication. In addition, the GII 2019 analyzes the medical innovation landscape of the next decade, looking at how technological and non-technological medical innovation will transform the delivery of healthcare worldwide. It also explores the role and dynamics of medical innovation as it shapes the future of healthcare, and the potential influence this may have on economic growth. The list of the Top 10 Most Innovative Countries in the World, according to GII 2019, are: Switzerland, Sweden, the United States of America, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Finland, Denmark, Singapore, Germany and Israel. The report reads that the global landscape of science, innovation, and technology has undergone important shifts over the last decades. It also says that the top science and technology clusters are in the US, China, and Germany, while Brazil, India, Iran, the Russian Federation and Turkey also feature in the top 100. The top five clusters are: Tokyo-Yokohama (Japan); Shenzhen-Hong Kong, China (China); Seoul (Republic of Korea); Beijing (China) and San Jose-San Francisco (US).





JULY 30 - AUGUST 1, 2019

Changes to the Residence Permit of Georgia M

G Law Office, through the contribution of partners Archil Giorgadze and Nicola Mariani, joined by senior associates Ana Kochiashvili, Tamar Jikia and associates Ana Chikovani, Vakhtan Giorgadze, and Mariam Kalandadze 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. On 30 May 2019, the Parliament of Georgia adopted amendments to the law of Georgia on the Legal Status of Aliens and Stateless Persons (the “Law on Aliens”), which will be effective from 5 July 2019. The amendments to the Law on Aliens change the rules related to granting work residence permit, investment residence permit and short-term residence permit. According to the explanatory note, changes are required for economic purposes to address the challenges facing Georgia in relation to immigration law.

CHANGES IN RELATION TO WORK RESIDENCE PERMIT According to the current version of the Law on Aliens, the work residence permit shall be granted to any person who carries out entrepreneurial or labor activity in Georgia as well as to freelance professionals. The amendments remove possibility for freelance professional to obtain Georgian residence permit and establish additional requirements for Georgian work residence permit seeker who shall present the following documents: (i) document confirming labor or entrepreneurial activities in Georgia; (ii) document confirming that monthly salary/income of an alien amounts to at least quintuple amount of minimum wage established in Georgia; (iii) document confirming that annual turnover of a company employing foreigner or established by foreigner amounts to at least GEL 50,000 per each permit seeker. Lower annual turnover in the amount of GEL 35,000 is established for educational and medical entities. In case of termination of employment relations with an alien, the employer shall no later than 5 calendar days provide information to the State Services Development Agency (the “Agency”) and the Agency shall terminate respective residence permit.

CHANGES IN RELATION TO INVESTMENT RESIDENCE PERMIT According to the current version of the

Law on Aliens, permanent residence permit is issued to the aliens who make investment in the amount of at least GEL 300,000. The amendment to the Law on Aliens increases the amount of investment to equivalent of USD 300,000 and instead of granting permanent residence, establishes issuance of 5-year term initial residence permit and further granting of permanent residence permit in case the foreigner meets the requirements as set out in the Law on Aliens. Specifically, prior to expiration of every residence year, an alien who has obtained investment residence permit, shall submit to the Agency a document from LEPL Revenue Service confirming that the investment has the following turnover: (i) at least USD 50,000 for first year of residency; (ii) at least USD 100,000 for the second year of residency; (iii) at least USD 120,000 for the third, fourth and fifth year of residency. In case an alien maintains investment residence permit for 5 years and submits documents confirming that investment turnover in the fifth year amounted to at least USD 120,000, he/she will be granted a permanent residence permit. Investment residence permit may be terminated at any time, if a foreigner fails to submit documents or fails to confirm specific turnover for each year of residency.

Foreigner who acquire a real property in Georgia with a value of at least USD 300,000 may also obtain investment residence permit. In order to retain residence permit and further obtain permanent residence permit, an alien shall at all times during 5 years maintain ownership over the real property. At the same time, LEPL National Agency of Public Registry of Georgia (the “Public Registry”) shall immediately inform the Agency regarding termination of the ownership right of an alien over such real property and the Agency shall terminate respective residence permit.

CHANGES IN RELATION TO SHORT TERM RESIDENCE PERMIT As set out in the current law, short-term residence permit is issued to aliens who obtain ownership over immovable property the value of which amounts to at least USD 35,000. Amendments introduced by the Parliament of Georgia increase the value of property up to USD 100,000. In order to retain residence permit, an alien shall at all times during the residence period maintain ownership over the real property. Similarly to investment residence permit, the Public Registry shall immediately inform the Agency regarding termination of the ownership

right of an alien over such real property and the Agency shall terminate respective residence permit. *** Following entrance into force of the changes to the Law on Aliens, the Government of Georgia will highly likely introduce a new version or amend existing version of the rules related to issuance of residence permit. Such updated rules will provide further clarifications and details in relation to the documents to be presented to the Agency and the process of decision-making by the Agency. *** 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. MG Law is the first full-service law

firm in Georgia to be founded by international partners. The firm advises a diverse group of Georgian and foreign companies, financial institutions, investment funds, governments and public enterprises. Among many other areas, the firm primarily focus on the following sectors: Banking & Finance, Capital Markets, Arbitration & Litigation, Labor & Employment, Infrastructure and Project Finance, Energy Law, Real Estate, Tax and Customs, Investment Law, Corporate Law, Real Estate, Infrastructure & Finance Projects, and Cryptocurrency & Blockchain. For more information, please visit www.mglaw. ge or contact Archil Giorgadze at archil. giorgadze@mglaw.ge and Nicola Mariani at Nicola.mariani@mglaw.ge

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JULY 30 - AUGUST 1, 2019

Georgia Says Breakaway Sokhumi Airport Cannot Launch Int'l Flights BY THEA MORRISON


he Georgian Civil Aviation Agency (GCAA) reports that international air traffic will not be launched at breakaway Sokhumi Airport in occupied Abkhazia, without Georgia's permission. The agency made the statement in response to information released in Russian media that a Russian investor is carrying out works in the airport of breakaway Sokhumi, airport, which will be completed at the end of August. “No airline will be able to operate in the international airspace at Sokhumi Airport until Georgia says so, and supervision over the safety of flights will not be provided by the Georgian side,” the agency says. GCAA says any air operation at Sokhumi Airport without the prior approval of the GCAA is prohibited. “Any air company starting flight operations to Sokhumi will be in breach of International Civil Aviation Rules, as well as the Georgian Law on Occupied Territories, which will create grave complications for the air company in operating further in international and Georgian destinations,” the agency stated. The statement also reads that Sokhumi Airport has been restricted by Georgian Authorities since 1993, adding the mentioned airport is not certified by the Georgian Civil Aviation Agency. “Furthermore, the International Civil

Aviation Organization (ICAO) supports Georgia’s territorial integrity and recognizes Abkhazia as an integral part of Georgia,” the agency says. The GCAA went on to explain that Sokhumi Airport has not been assigned an ICAO Airport four-letter location indicator code by the International Civil Aviation Organization. “It is prohibited to use aerodromes on Georgian territory for civil aviation purposes unless the latter holds a valid Aerodrome Operator Certificate, issued by the Civil Aviation Agency of Georgia. Issuance, prolongation, limitation and restriction of the validity of Aerodrome Operator Certificates, as well as continuous surveillance over the activities of aerodrome operators, is carried out by the Georgian Civil Aviation Agency,” the statement added. RIA Novosti news agency announced that "a Russian investor is now carrying out project works at the Abkhazian airport, which will be complete by the end of next month." In addition to this, occupied Abkhazian media said the de facto cabinet of Abkhazia has adopted a document about the status of Sokhumi Airport and the use of Abkhazia's airspace. The package of documents envisages "granting a joint airfield base status to Sokhumi Airport, which will allow the civil and state airspace to be used in the airdrome.” “There will be civil aviation as well as state aviation - military aviation, emergency situations and sanitary aviation," said the de facto Prime Minister of occu-

Image source: wikimapia

pied Abkhazia, Valery Bganba. The same information says Sokhumi Airport was awarded international code URAS. The documents indicate that the opening of Sokhumi International Airport will facilitate the development of air traf-

fic, tourism and economy in occupied Abkhazia for regular international air transportation and international flights. The Sokhumi Airport, built in the 1960s, was located in Babushera settlement, 18 kilometers from the city, which was

closed in 1993 after the war in Abkhazia. An agreement between breakaway Sokhumi and Moscow was signed in 2014 which envisaged cooperation for the reconstruction of Sokhumi Airport, with no further news until now.

Reading Changes Thoughts, Thoughts Change Actions – on Sabkultura EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW BY NINI DAKHUNDARIDZE


ABA is famous in Georgia for uniting two parts of the literary world, the Saba Literary Prize and Saba ebook platform. Recently, Saba presented Sabkultura – a new educational platform made specifically for the new generation. Sabkultura aims to give literature a new life, bringing it to youth in a way that is currently popular in Georgia. GEORGIA TODAY spoke to with Irine Javakhadze, Director of SABA, to find out more.

WHAT IS THE MEANING OF “SABKULTURA”? Sabkultura is yet another new, open plat-

form for readers and book lovers; a platform where discussing literature and sharing ideas about it will be made easy. It is exactly this project under the scope of which the Saba application – SABA Reader - was updated. In this sense, the updated version is a new product. SABA was founded in 2012 with the support of TBC Bank and aside from a library of electronic books, SABA makes for the most authoritative literary prize. We also organize a lot of different socialeducational projects. Sabkultura is yet another step being taken to support literature.

TELL US ABOUT THE SABKULTURA APP. The updated app for SABA has a lot of additional functions added to maximize reader comfort. Users will be available

to find more that 6,000 e-books, including audio books, podcasts, lectures and radio programs. Signing up and signing into the app has been made easier, and users can now choose the font, color and background. Plus, driving and sleep modes were added, amongst other things.

WHAT IS SABKULTURA’S TARGET SEGMENT? Sabkultura holds no age barriers or prejudices. It is made for readers of all ages – everyone who loves to read. That said, we think that first, Sabkultura will attract youth since our first move was to update the SABA Reader.


ACTIVITIES MERELY ELECTRONICALLY OR WILL THEY ALSO TAKE A REAL-LIFE FORM? This platform has planned future activities that will take both forms.

WE HEARD THAT UNDER THE SCOPE OF SABKULTURA, E-BOOKS WILL BECOME MORE “AFFORDABLE” FOR READERS. This has to do with the new subscription service – no matter the price of the book, by paying a minimal monthly payment, the user has full access to the SABA library. Free trial is also offered for 14 days.

WILL THE NEW PLATFORM GIVE BIGGER INCENTIVE TO AUTHORS TO GET INVOLVED? WHAT ARE YOUR FUTURE PLANS? Naturally, Sabkultura does not only mean an updated application. It also means discussions, lectures, different activities concerning the book and the writer – all this will be done to help the reader circle grow. We believe that each minute spent reading changes thoughts, thoughts change actions, and the actions change the environment!



Minister of Economy Visits Thermal Power Plants in Gardabani

Photo: Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development



eorgia is building a new Combined Cycle Thermal Power Plant to increase the country’s power generation and move one step closer towards energy independence. In October 2016, the foundation was laid for the 230 MW Gardabani Thermal Power Plant 2 in Georgia’s Kvemo Kartli region. The town of Gardabani is located approximately 45 kilometers southeast of Tbilisi. Construction of the plant is scheduled to be completed in 2020, led by Gardabani TPP 2, a subsidiary company of the Georgian Oil and Gas Corporation. The construction works are being completed by Chinese company China Tianchen Engineering Corporation. The power plant will be able to launch from zero via an autonomous/independent diesel generator, which allows the plant to start up even during a system black-out, resulting in more reliability and a higher standard of safety. The fact that the plant is a combined cycle increases energy-efficiency with a productivity factor exceeding 50%. The station will be equipped with a modern electric generator with both gas and steam turbines and generators. A sister thermal power plant, Gardabani 1, has been operating since 2015. It is also a 230 MW station and is one of the largest energy producers in the country, generating more than 10% of Georgia’s

total energy. Approximately 20% of all of Georgia’s energy needs are met by thermal power, yet the latest Galt & Taggart Electricity Market Watch, from October 2018, reported that thermal power generation in Georgia had reduced by 17.2% yearon-year. This past week, Minister of Economy and Sustainable Development Natia Turnava visited Gardabani to meet the managers and staff of the two thermal power plants. She confirmed that construction is on schedule and the station will be operational by early 2020. Turnava was accompanied by Director General of the Georgian Oil and Gas Corporation, Giorgi Bakhtadze, and David Tvalabeishvili, Chairman of the Management Board of JSC, Georgian State Electrosystem. Turnava said that the government, and her ministry, is taking significant steps to support the country's energy security. She noted that, as hydropower plants are based on Georgia’s own resources, they will improve energy security and reliability for the country. “This will be an additional capacity that will strengthen our energy independence. The station is being built according to the construction schedule with the latest technologies and we will soon have this wonderful facility up and running,” Turnava added. In a 2018 op-ed for GEORGIA TODAY, Bachana Pipia, professor at the Georgian Technical University, outlined the pros and cons of thermal energy production, noting that thermal power plants run using a selection of imported raw materials, which will indirectly increase reliance on other countries.

Richard Yu: "Improvement of our Index in Fortune 500 List Is another Important Success in 2019" HUAWEI LEAPS 11 SPOTS ON 2019 FORTUNE 500 LIST BY MARIAM MERABISHVILI


he company HUAWEI continues its long history of success and has improved this year's Fortune 500 list by 11 points compared to the previous year and over 2017 by 68 points. The Fortune 500 list ranks companies according to their revenue and profit, focusing on the size of the companies compared with other lists. The Fortune 500 rankings have become an important indicator that renowned companies use to measure their own strengths, size and international competitiveness, a parameter of global economy that transcends beyond borders, nationality and cultural differences. HUAWEI has earned a place in the Fortune 500 list justly since its annual revenue has been increasing by 22% year-on-year, while their profit by 27.5%. However, HUAWEI's goals go beyond profit and it cares about improving other important parameters. “Our continued elevation in the Fortune 500 list rankings is yet another notable marker of success

for the company in 2019,” said Richard Yu, CEO of Huawei Consumer Business Group. “Our dedication to delivering the latest technologies to our customers, with a sharp focus on innovation through commitment to investing in R&D has enabled us to continue to enjoy record success.” Earlier this year, Huawei ranked 47th on BrandZ’s annual Top 100 Most Valuable Global Brands. The company achieved these results through its innovations, such as the HUAWEI P30's latest camera system and also those unprecedented technological innovations that are found in the models of HUAWEI, Mate X and Mate 20 X (5G). HUAWEI products and services are available in more than 170 countries and are used by a third of the world's population. There are 16 research and development centers operating worldwide in the USA, Germany, Sweden, Russia, India and China. HUAWEI Consumer BG is one of HUAWEI's three business units, mainly focusing on Smartphones, personal computers, tablets and cloud services. HUAWEI Global Network is based on 20 years’ experience in the telecommunications business and serves to provide innovative technologies to customers around the world.





JULY 30 - AUGUST 1, 2019

America Needs a New Economic Plan for Eurasia OP-ED BY EMIL AVDALIANI


ne of the major reasons behind the US success in the Cold War was its military superiority. However, since no direct military confrontation with the Soviets took place, American economic power, arguably, had a quieter but much larger impact on Washington's ability to counter Moscow. One thing is an economic preponderance, yet another is the correct application of it to prop up your vital interests around the globe. An economic plan similar to the Marshall Plan would benefit much the arc of states – Georgia, Ukraine and Moldova - around Russia. The US politicians of the past had a more concrete view of the threats the country faced following World War II. One might argue that the Soviets represented a more acute and immediate threat to Western Europe, and the US itself, than nowadays China and Russia together. However, as many modern economic and military trends show China's ascendancy is of a more fundamental (long-lasting) nature where the country's economic, technological and military might exceed the Soviet capabilities. The US leaders of the 20th century also had a clear ideology. It has been always difficult to convince the American public that its forces should get involved in far flung Eurasian lands. To sell the American military involvement abroad it was important to cover this in lofty civilizational ideas which refuse geopolitical stratagems and promote democratic values and universal freedom. This is not to negate that Americans only thought in lofty terms. The US phenomenon was that never before in world history (perhaps except for the golden age of the Roman Empire) were so many geopolitical interests corresponding to the country's civilizational mission around the globe. For Amer-

Image source: history.com

icans, peace around the globe equated to the spread of democracy so much so that one scholar at the end of the Cold War stated that the end of history is happening because American ideals won globally. To achieve this victory, the American leaders of the Cold War (which in itself was spectacular fortune to have an unending row of such excellent

leaders) understood that the countries prone to Soviet influence can be stopped not only by direct American military aid, but through economic measures too. Economic help meant the development of a country. The American leaders also understood that since the appeal of the Soviets was little more than military, the US ability to woo various states is

contingent upon financial largesse pumped into state institutions and the development of economies. The American leaders of the past often acted on principle and out of geopolitical interests. The Korean War (1950-1953) is one of those examples when the US acted to show that any encroachment on a sovereign state's territory would be punished. One could imagine how a new comprehensive economic plan would strengthen the arc of states around China or Russia. To contain both militarily requires large resources and it is likely that the US would not be able to do that in the long run. However, an economically propped up Georgia, Moldova, Ukraine would be no match for Russian resources, while in regards to China's arc of neighboring states, a mixture of military and economic measures would be more relevant. A parallel can be drawn with the famous Marshall Plan which aimed to resurrect post World War II Europe economically. The major argument here was that the Soviet economic system would not be able match American potential. An economy that was invulnerable to the Soviet stratagems. It is important to understand that a major advantage of modern Russia in regards to small neighboring states is those same countries’ internal (primarily economic) weakness. This has generally been one of the major reasons why a duchy around Moscow rose to prominence in cold northern Eurasia and managed to incorporate/invade large surrounding territories. Economic aid to propel Ukraine, Georgia and Moldova to internal stability would mean minimization of Russian influence. But the decision to pull this off rests upon the US political decision-makers, who need to have a comprehensive approach towards Eurasia. Post WWII US history serves as a good example to imitate: policies based on principle at times might serve as bigger incentives to keep peace than pure geopolitical models.

Morocco to Celebrate 20th Anniversary of Enthronement of King Mohammed VI


he Kingdom of Morocco on 30 July, will celebrate the 20th anniversary of the accession of His Majesty King Mohammed VI to the Alawit Throne. This celebration is a renewed opportunity to illustrate the strong symbiosis between the Moroccans and the Alawite throne; demonstrating the renewal of the Act of Allegiance between the Throne and the people. Furthermore, the Throne Day represents a moment of great importance in the Nation’s life to highlight the valuable gains made during the last years and aspiration to more achievements to build a modern and prosperous country under the ruling of His Majesty King Mohammed VI, a glorious symbol of the country’s unity. Since the enthronement of His Majesty King Mohammed VI on July 30, 1999, and thanks to numerous courageous and bold initiatives amid Morocco's facing major changes, numerous economic and social projects have accomplished important achievements and seen the country's engagement in a process of profound political reforms according to an inclusive approach placing the dignity and the fulfilment of the Moroccan citizen in the heart of the state's concerns. These reforms have been carried mainly out in the political, economic, social, religious, justice and human rights fields, notably the creation of the Instance of Equity and Reconciliation in the field of transitional justice, the reform of the justice system and the reinforcement of its independence, the consolidation of human rights and the adoption of a new Constitution in 2011 that constituted an important advance in the political and social life and has permitted the consecration of the values of democracy, citizenship and human rights. Great advances in road infrastructure, highway, railway, port and airport were achieved, which promoted economic exchanges, reduced regional disparities and contributed to the creation of workplaces. As one of the four most ecological countries in the world, the Moroccan leadership in the environmental field has been materialized by the Kingdom's commitment to producing 52% of its electricity from green energies by 2030. In this

perspective, Morocco has put in place a major energy plan, composed of several renewable energy production projects, such as the solar power plant "NOOR", the largest solar project in the world, and the wind farm of the city of “Tarfaya” in the south of Morocco, which is the largest in Africa. The Kingdom of Morocco has successfully organized and chaired the 22nd Conference of the Parties of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change “COP22”, in 2016. At the regional and international levels, Morocco has been able over the years to build strong diplomatic relations with African brother states. These relations which are based on an unshakable historical foundation, have permitted the establishment of secular links between Morocco and African countries covering the social, commercial, cultural, intellectual and spiritual dimensions. The overall strategy of economic co-development has been initiated by Morocco, which intends to put its action in the long term with a view to sustainable development for the benefit of the African peoples and for the economic emergence of the continent. Morocco's efforts in favor of Africa's development were crowned by its return to the African Union in January 2017. This triumphant return reflects a Moroccan vision in which South-South cooperation is the watchword.




JULY 30 - AUGUST 1, 2019

Austrian Development Agency and CENN Launch Green Economy School in Georgia



ENN, a non-governmental organization working to protect the environment by fostering sustainable development throughout the South Caucasus, has launched a student initiative “Green Economy School”. The program is initiated within the frames of the project “Promoting Sustainable Forest Management for Climate Resilient Rural Development in Georgia,” which is implemented with the financial support of Austrian Development Agency, with funds of Austrian Development Cooperation. The initiative is aimed at linking university resources with current state and international economic programs. 20 students from 6 universities of Georgia, selected through a competition, are taking part in the mentioned program. They will undergo trainings and will be sent to the regions of Georgia to prepare family, private, municipal, or national models of use of forest resources. A number of the resulting business plans will be financed within the framework of the program and will be implemented with the direct involvement of the students. The opportunities for financing

will also be discussed within the frames of an initiative aimed at promoting the development of small businesses and local economy. In cooperation with the Ministry of Environment Protection and Agriculture of Georgia, CENN held the festive opening ceremony of the Green Economy School on July 23 at the Bulachauri Green Center. The event was attended by the supporters of the green initiative, representatives of Georgian universities and the state agencies involved in the program. At the school program opening ceremony, a memorandum of collaboration was signed between CENN, its partner universities and supporter agencies of the Green Economy School, who unite to achieve sustainable development and strategic rural development goals. The signatories of the memorandum include: Environmental Information and Education Center, National Forestry Agency, Enterprise Georgia, Agricultural and Rural Development Agency of Georgia, Agency of Protected Areas of Georgia, as well as partner universities: Batumi Shota Rustaveli State University, State Teaching University of Zugdidi, Caucasus University, Black Sea University and Ilia State University. Within the frames of the partnership,

the sides will implement mutually beneficial goals for the development of an environment-friendly economy and for the growth of employment among youth. “Within the frames of this collaboration, CENN will cooperate with the state agencies and universities for green growth, rural development and sustainable use of forest resources,” said Nana Janashia, the Executive Director of CENN. Gela Khanishvili, the First Deputy Minister of Environment Protection and Agriculture, addressed the audience at the opening ceremony, pointing out the importance of the development of an eco-friendly economy and the fact that the young generation will be involved in this process. “Today’s event is especially important as the Green Economy School is being launched. Actually, the process of implementation of the resolutions adopted by government starts together with students, the new generation, which should guarantee the better future of our country. The green economy is the future of our country. Through this initiative, we will have new opportunities to start successful businesses in kind collaboration with nature. It is for the benefit of the public that we need a recognized approach and action from every participant. The Green Economy School and those young people selected through the competition will be the first message showing there is a legislative environment for environment protection, but society is also able to get involved in this process and use the benefits of a green economy,” he stated. As Nino Tsilosani, a Member of the Parliament of Georgia, noted, the state actively supports and encourages the initiative of CENN and is ready for further cooperation. “Just like other CENN projects, this initiative is also very innovative and necessary for our times. ‘Green economy’ is a new, modern direction which is just being launched now in Georgia. Our country needs to farther develop its innovative components if we want to strengthen our economy. “This project is interesting as it gives

young people the opportunity to be employed and receive a lot of new skills and knowledge in the field of green economy. This is also yet another opportunity for tourism development, as well as for diversifying our natural resources through their sustainable use. I would like to thank CENN for such an exciting project. The Parliament of Georgia welcomes and encourages this initiative and is ready for further cooperation to achieve green economy goals,” she elaborated. According to Rezo Getiashvili, CENN Program Coordinator, rural development and increase employment of youth are the main goals of the project. “In total, 11 organizations are participating in this initiative together with CENN, including the Agency of Protected Areas, which has quite a positive experience in economic development and employing the local population. The National Forestry Agency also plays a significant role in it, as we believe that rural development can’t be achieved only through agriculture, especially here in Georgia, where the local villages are more dependent on the use of natural resources and forests than the cultivation of land. “In for the Green Economy School, we will introduce various startups, concepts and ideas for business development to students. The projects will be implemented in four regions of Georgia: Ajara, Samegrelo-Zemo Svaneti, MtskhetaMtianeti and Kakheti. The students will visit the locations themselves to find beneficiaries for their projects,” Getiashvili said. “We cooperated with Analyze and Consulting group (ACT), which conducted research within the frames of our project, the Green Economy School, to find out more about the local traditions in the above-mentioned regions of Georgia and select ideas for startups. For instance, we

found a person who produces rosehip beer, which is also a good idea for a startup. This is a local tradition, not an innovation. And we believe that exactly the development of local traditions is the best way forward, because it is always difficult to start from scratch. When you already have a certain basis, it is easier to improve and develop it. “Yet another example is Gipitauri, a kind of vodka made with fruits. Traditionally, it was made with wild fruits picked in the forest. The same trees and fruits still grow in the forests, but people no longer use them for distilling vodka. The innovation lies in the fact that until now, no-one has ever tried to bottle Gipitauri. However, it would be quite an exciting product and everyone would buy it with pleasure,” the Program Coordinator noted. According to Getiashvili, in September, 10 business plans will be ready for implementation. The authors of the best four business plans, which will be selected through a competition, will be offered a new and longer phase of cooperation with CENN. Initially, CENN will cooperate with all 20 students for approximately two months. “This is yet another opportunity for students to find employment,” Getiashvili noted. “This project will bring significant theoretical and practical knowledge to the youth, so that they can contribute to rural development, which is an important part of the economic development of our country. We believe that the idea of the Green Economy School will be successful and its directions will become more and more diverse in the future. Additionally, we intend to increase the amount of the students participating in the project, considering the positive feedback our initiative has received among them.”

Shaping the Future by Changing Today




Exhibition: Keti Davlianidze’s Abkhazia edy of what they have lost. “I want to help people visualize that which we cannot see but should never forget, that which, at the same time, is an integral part of our being,” Davlianidze says. Keti Davlianidze, oil painter, graphic artist, production designer, was born in Tbilisi on August 30, 1976. In 1993-1998, she studied easel graphics at the Tbilisi Academy of Fine Arts, concurrently attending classes at Karaman Kutateladze’s studio, and later, in 1998, at Sergo Kobuladze’s studio. In the process of studying the artistic traditions of contemporary Western oil painting, while still seeking her own language of expression, Keti Davlianidze’s passion for abstract expressionism proved to be decisive. To this day, her compositions boast enormous expressiveness. Stylistic diversity agrees with the artist’s inquisitive character. Her oil paintings and graphic pieces echo one message - the transience of time and the fragility of human beings in the modern world. The artist is unique in her personal model of the universe, created with a distinctive style derived from the conditionality of images and artistic distortion, and with symbolism of items and graphic techniques of representation. Keti Davlianidze’s works are preserved at the Georgian Museum of Fine Arts and various private collections in Spain (Barcelona), Germany (Berlin, Dusseldorf), and the US (Washington, New York, Atlanta), Russia (Moscow). The exposition at the Georgian Museum of Fine Arts will display the following oil paintings: Bichvinta, Sokhumi Boulevard, Gagripshi, A View of Sokhumi and will be open from August 7 to August 15, 2019.



ugust is just around the corner. That generally means two things, one – traffic in western Georgia is going to get really heavy, and two, more than any other time of year, Georgia is going to be remembering the August War of 2008. While the on-going protest wave and recent activities of both the Georgian and Russian sides keep the memory fresh, artists have taken it upon themselves to do their part. Keti Davlianidze, for one, will be presenting her new exhibition ‘Keti Davlianidze’s Abkhazia’ at the Georgian Museum of Fine Arts from August 7 to August 15. The Abkhazia-themed exposition with an anti-occupation emphasis is symbolically dedicated to the 11th anniversary of the August 2008 war. Given that the artist has personal links to Abkhazia, her background and home, the artworks on display will bear contagious empathy. “Re-living landscapes and emotions through color is my way of reclaiming my share of Abkhazia,” the artist says. Aside from paintings, the exhibition will be made into a whole with other artistic effects. The audio/video installation incorporated into the exhibition seeks to awaken emotions and overcome indifference and apathy. Davlianidze’s oil paintings will “walk” in a procession down Melikishvili Avenue personally to “visit” viewers at Rustaveli 7. The video installation visualizes the encounter between passersby and the works, the former’s reactions and emotions. This piece aims to help visitors overcome self-protective apathy and face the trag-


Basilashvili Beats Russian Rival, Wins Hamburg Final for Second Time BY ANA DUMBADZE


eorgian world number 16 Nikoloz Basilashvili became the first player to defend the Hamburg Open title since Roger Federer in 2005 with a three-set win over Russian Andrey Rublev. Georgian tennis star Nikoloz Basilashvili has defeated Russian Andrei Rublev and become champion of the Hamburg tournament for the second time. Basilashvili, 27, hit 26 forehand winners in a 7-5 4-6 6-3 victory. In the first set, Basilashvili defeated his Russian opponent 7: 5. In the second set, he was defeated 4: 6. In the third set the Georgian tennis player defeated his opponent 6: 3 and became winner of the tournament. Hamburg has been a very lucky tournament for Basilashvili - he won the first ATP title of his career at the event a year ago. Nikoloz Basilashvili, born 23 February 1992, is a Georgian professional tennis player. In July 2018, he made it into the main draw of the German Open in Hamburg as a qualifier and went on to win the tournament, defeating Leonardo Mayer in the final and becoming the first Georgian player ever to win an ATP tournament. In October 2018, Basilashvili won his second ATP title at the China Open by defeating world No. 4 Juan Martín del Potro in the final. He achieved a career-high ATP singles ranking of world No. 16 on 27 May 2019.

Photo: Nikoloz Basilashvili/Facebook



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Profile for Georgia Today

Issue #1172 Business  

July 30 - August 1, 2019

Issue #1172 Business  

July 30 - August 1, 2019