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Issue no: 1216/213

• DEC. 31 - JAN. 9, 2019/2020 • PUBLISHED TWICE WEEKLY

PRICE: GEL 2.50

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

Agri Review December 2019 – The Sector at a Glance ISET PAGE 4

20 Tips to Succeed in 2020!

FOCUS

BUSINESS PAGE 5

Four Large-scale International Exhibitions to be Held in Frankfurt

ON NEW YEAR CHEER

The now-famous Georgian doctor has been freed

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The Christmas & New Year's Eve Festivities Awaiting You in Tbilisi BY ANA DUMBADZE

Georgia: 5 Months of Sanctions Sees 100,000 Russians Less, But 215,000 More Other Tourists BUSINESS PAGE 7

Major Geopolitical Trends for 2020 BUSINESS PAGE 8

Economy Ministry: Electricity Import to Decrease, Export to Increase in 2020

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ew Year in Georgia is one of the most important celebrations and everyone waits impatiently for it. For the local population, just as it is in the rest of the world, New Year is a symbol of new hope, wishes, and goals. People in Georgia celebrate the New Year by sitting down to a feast with their family or attending a special event. Every part of the country celebrates the new beginning in their own

BUSINESS PAGE 9

Why I Strike for the Climate BUSINESS PAGE 10 Photo Courtesy: Tbilisi City Hall

traditional way. In Tbilisi, Georgia's beautiful capital, various festive events are scheduled by City Hall, which this year promises a more magical and unforgettable New Year than ever before. A two-week program of concerts, theater shows, film screenings and workshops for young visitors is on at two locations in the Georgian capital to bring festive spirit to all. Launched on December 25 with the unveiling of the city's central Christmas tree in the 'Christmas Town,' the official City Hall program involves dozens of participants, from musical artists and theater troupes to craftspeople and food vendors. Continued on page 2

Magnolia Awards 2019

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NEWS

@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: Marimo was founded by Mariam Chagelishvili, driven by a fromchildhood love of creating. It specializes in organizing events, including weddings, with beautiful, outstanding décor and design and is fast-growing in popularity. Marimo has a number of plans for the future, giving brides moments of unforgettable excitement and the freedom and variety of choice. Kaleisi is a Georgian brand of silver jewelry, creating high-quality accessories for ladies and gentlemen. The brand entered the market in 2018, the founders being childhood friends Tata Kapanadze and Mariam Khukhunaishvili. Offering unique production in style, packaging, price and character, it is already popular among jewelry lovers. Tata and Mariam plan to offer their clients a comfortable web-order service from 2020. The upcoming website will enable customers to take a look at the brand’s old and new collections and choose items of their liking. GukArt is a Georgian brand oriented on personal health and comfort. The company produces handmade everyday-items with natural materials, such as clay. Founder Guranda Kemoklidze says: “I like to give customers items of necessity in a beautiful, new form.” At present, GukArt is only selling hand-painted air humectants but in future, GukArt plans to offer a greater variety of products of other material, such as wool. 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

GEORGIA TODAY

DECEMBER 31 - JANUARY 9, 2019/2020

The Christmas & New Year's Eve Festivities Awaiting You in Tbilisi Continued from page 1 The events are being hosted in the newly renovated historical Orbeliani Square as well as the now-customary spot of the First Republic Square, where Christmas Town has been set up with decorations and a fairground to run from 25 December to 13 January. Head to the First Republic Square at 11 PM on December 31 for a gala concert where the people's favorite TV show Dead Ringers will be shown open air. On the evening of New Year's Day, the world-renowned musical project Max the Sax will perform before the audience at 9 PM in the same square. The final event of the New Year will be on January 13, at 8 PM, to celebrate the Orthodox "Old" New Year with top Georgian singers Stephane, Nino Katamadze, Lela Tsurtsumia, Nato Metonidze and Sopho Nizharadze.

PROGRAM Orbeliani Square (25 December - 13 January) In Orbeliani Square, you will be greeted with the magically illuminated Atoneli Street, with a Chichilaki forest and lit-up planet, Santa Claus' house and an ice rink. During the day, many entertaining programs will be offered for children, as will food vendors, a public karaoke spot and musical performances by DJs. First Republic Square (25 December - 13 January) Santa Claus and his elves welcome you in the magical town where diverse performances are ready to entertain you. Meet juggling clowns and magicians, a chemistry show, various workshops for children, a wind orchestra and drummers, fairy-tale readings, children's movies and more. (12 PM - 8 PM)

On January 5 and 10, the Little Prince will fly over Tbilisi. Air shows will start at 8 PM. During the day, many activities will take place for children: concerts, fairytale character performances and Christmas Tree decorations crafting workshops. For the New Year, Tbilisi Christmas Market will unite the projects 'Taste in the Streets of Tbilisi' and 'Tbilisian Market'. Every night, in the First Republic Square, Georgian singing stars, musical bands, and DJs will give performances for you. 29 December 20:00-21:00 - Georgian singing stars 21:00-23:00 - DJ Nika Japaridze (Nika J) 30 December 20:00-21:00 - Georgian singing stars 21:00-23:00 - DJ Shotiko Tsverava (Sumo) 31 December 23:00 - New Year Gala concert / musical show Dead Ringers 1 January 21:00-22:00 - MAX THE SAX 22:00-00:00 - DJ Nika Janelidze (Skalitzer) 2 January 20:00-21:00 - Davit Iluridze band 21:00-23:00 - DJ Misho Gochitashvili 3 January 20:00-21:00 - New One band 21:00-23:00 - DJ Sandro Jorbenadze (DJ SendNudes) 4 January 19:40-20:00-SabaSapareli(StreetMusician) 20:00-21:00 - Nodariko Khutsishvili band 21:00-23:00 - DJ Kote Japaridze 5 January 20:00-20:45 - The Little Prince show

20:45 -21:45 - Goofy Land 6 January 20:00-21:00 - The Quintessence – Christmas concert 21:00-23:00 - Lasha Margiani (Hatsvali) 7 January 20:00-21:00 - Georgian singing stars and bands 21:00-23:00 - DJ Nika Kvachadze 8 January 20:00-21:00 - Luka Dgebuadze trio 21:00-23:00 - Ia Tomashi and Saba Abramidze 9 January 20:00-21:00 - Davit Evgenidze and the band 21:00-23:00 - DJ Beka Lortkipanidze (Baqi Lordkipanidze) 10 January 20:00-20:45 - The Little Prince show 20:45-21:45 - Rezo and the Children 11 January 20:00-21:00 - Newton band 21:00-23:00 - DJ Erekle Tabukashvili (Tobacco Twin) 12 January 20:00-21:00 - Georgian Folk concert 21:00-22:00 - Blues Factory Levan Javakhishvili 22:00-00:00 - DJ Toke Nikolaishvili (Toke) 13 January 20:00-21:00 - Georgian singing stars and bands 21:00-23:00 - DJ Oto Parulava "You are going to have a New Year full of history. Happy New Year!" reads the website of Tbilisi City Hall.


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Dr. Gaprindashvili Freed BY NINI DAKHUNDARIDZE

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octor Gaprindashvili was illegally detained on November 9 in the region of Akhalgori. On December 20, the Court of the ‘Leningori region’ charged the Georgian doctor with illegally crossing the so-called border and sentenced him to one year and nine months in prison. To everyone’s surprise, the doctor was then released on December 28. Sputnik-Ossetia reported that Dr. Gaprindashvili was pardoned by the defacto President of occupied South Ossetia, Anatoly Bibilov. The information about the doctor’s release was first reported by the State Security Service. As the news spread throughout Georgian society, Irakli Antadze, Deputy Director of the Analytical Department of the State Security Service, further assured the public that Dr. Gaprindashvili’s health was in good condition. Around noon on a sunny Saturday, the famous Doctor was already in Shida Kartli Police Department. His family members were waiting outside, shocked and overwhelmed by the good news: Doctor Gaprindashvili would be celebrating the New Year at home. The members of the reunited happy family shared their excitement and gratitude with the public. Vazha Gaprindashvili himself found it hard to put his emotions into words: “This is totally unexpected. I never thought I’d be released today. Just yesterday I was told that on the 31st [of December] an appeal hearing would be taking place, about which, to be honest, I had my doubts,” he said the day of his release. “I want to thank everyone worried about me, be it the government, the parliament, the police or whoever. Special thanks to my beautiful wife and brilliant children, my dear friends and everyone who stood by me, thank you very much. From what I can see, we should be this united always, serving our coun-

try of Georgia.” Doctor Vazha Gaprindashvili held his first press briefing in Tbilisi on December 28, together with his wife Tamila Lapanashvili. He began by once again thanking everyone for their support, noting that “all Georgia contributed” to his release. He said that the reason for his detention and sentencing in occupied Tskhinvali was not crossing the line of occupation but rather his insistence on the fact that he had not left the Georgian territory. “From the first day of my detention, I kept telling the Russian border guards as well as representatives of Tskhinvali bodies that I had not left the territory of Georgia and that I was currently on Russian occupied Georgian land,” he told journalists. Gaprindashvili also thanked the Ossetian people, noting that when refused to take meals prepared by the Tskhinvali prison administration, he was sent food by locals. “I would like thank the Ossetian population and to apologise to those who were inconvenienced because of me,” he noted. His wife also talked to journalists,

emphasizing that she appreciated everyone’s contribution to the doctor’s release. “I would like to thank our state and state agencies, security service, Ministry for Reconciliation and Civic Equality, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, our international partners, our friends abroad, our civil society, all of you. Also, our notable singers, scientists, writers, etc. Many people were involved in the process of Vazha’s release within the borders of Georgia or abroad,” she stressed, adding that the Gaprindashvili family will discuss further details with media in the future. Doctor Gaprindashvili’s release brought as much joy as his detention had brought Georgian and international society sorrow and regret. Everyone from the Georgian President to the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Latvia publicly responded to the freeing of the Georgian doctor. “We have received great news for the eve of the New Year and we are very excited! Congratulations to everyone on Vazha Gaprindashvili’s release, congratulations to his family and friends and all of Georgia! The hope for the

future has become stronger!” President of Georgia Salome Zurabishvili wrote on her social media page. The Minister of Foreign Affairs of Georgia, Davit Zalkaliani, highlighted the work of diplomacy and the international community in his public announcement. "I would like to once again thank the international community, our partner countries, and international organizations, who have shown unprecedented attention and strength to get the illegally detained physician released. “We hope that through such tireless efforts, diplomacy and support of the international community, we will peacefully solve the humanitarian problems facing the conflict-affected population," said Zalkaliani said. Not a politician or a diplomat but an important figure in Georgian Society, Giorgi Kekelidze, the Director of the National Library and the coordinator of the recently-established team created to communicate to the public on Dr. Gaprindashvili’s case, shared his positive emotions the doctor’s release, writing on his Facebook page that the ‘car honking protest’ that was planned for December 29, has changed form.

“My friends, tomorrow’s freedom car honking protest has been replaced by great happiness: on December 29, at 7 PM there will be a big box waiting for you in the National Library. You will be able to place there the ‘thank you letters’ addressed to the man who honored us. We’ll be delivering them on New Year’s Eve. You can repeat the gesture in every city! Doctor Vazha is free!” International society was also quick to respond to the release of the heroic doctor. OSCE Secretary General Thomas Greminger welcomed the fact on his Twitter page with the words: “Welcome the release of Dr. Gaprindashvili. Further detentions should be avoided and freedom of movement guaranteed for all people, at all times.” “I welcome and applaud the news of the release of Georgian doctor Vazha #Gaprindashvili,” the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Latvia, Edgars Rinkevics, wrote on his official Twitter page. The US Embassy to Georgia also published a statement on the release of the illegally-detained Georgian doctor. “We welcome the news that Dr. Vazha Gaprindashvili has been released by the de facto authorities in South Ossetia. We join all Georgians and the international community in welcoming him home to spend the holidays with his family. We again call on the de facto authorities to open crossing points along the administrative boundary line and to allow freedom of movement for the local population and humanitarian access. The United States maintains its unwavering commitment to Georgia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity,“ read the US Embassy’s post. Doctor Gaprindashvili spent 49 days in prison in Tskhinvali. The occupational forces charged him for ‘illegally crossing the “border,”’ ignoring the fact that he was merely helping a patient in need. It is a relief he will be home to celebrate the New Year with his family. It’s a relief not to have to write ‘abducted’ before his name anymore.

UNDP Georgia Participates in the 60 Seconds Challenge BY BEKA ALEXISHVILI

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ouisa Vinton, the Resident Representative of the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) in Georgia, participated in the 60 Seconds Challenge, seing her list all the UNDP accomplishments of 2019. Though Mrs. Vinton mentioned at the commencement of the video that 60 seconds is a very short timeframe to list annual achievements, she still managed to include the most important ones yet. “We launched a 74-million-dollar program to prevent floods and other climatedriven disasters all across Georgia. I got to meet Beglar the hippopotamus – who is our mascot in that effort. We worked with the Public Service Hall and other public facilities to ensure full access for persons with disabilities. We worked with the Parliament to ensure that it has the proper rules of order to exercise its new oversight functions. We supported reforms to ensure that Georgia has an impartial and professional civil service. We worked with civil society organizations to improve the welfare of thousands of people living in conflict-affected areas. We published a landmark human rights report that summarizes Georgia’s achievements but also its challenges to date. We stood up for human rights and defended the rights of the LGBTIQ community.

Occupied Tskhinvali Closes Crossing Point for New Year Holidays We proved that Georgian women are already standout leaders in science, technology and engineering. We trained 1400 people in new vocations so that they have opportunities outside agriculture. We helped the government define its new seven-year strategy for agriculture and rural development. We improved the financing for twelve national parks and other protected areas. We helped the government develop a

new mountain strategy that will assist 300,000 high mountain dwellers. And we went to those mountains in Ambrolauri, where we organized an enormous Sustainable Development Goals festival to show how determined we are that no one is left behind in Georgia’s development.” Louisa Vinton reported in her video address. What would you have to say for your 2019 '60 Seconds Challenge'?

BY ANA DUMBADZE

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he de-facto government of the occupied Tskhinvali region (South Ossetia) decided to close the Karzmani crossing point connecting the occupied region with the rest of Georgia from 8 PM December 30

until 6 AM January 3, for, as it says, “security reasons.” Tskhinvali closed two other crossing points earlier in September, citing "escalation of tension at certain sections of the border with Georgia" as the reason. Georgian and foreign officials have been calling on the de facto Tskhinvali authorities to reopen all of the crossing points as soon as possible to avoid a humanitarian crisis on the ground.


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Agri Review December 2019 – The Sector at a Glance (+30.2%), vegetables (+16.2%), milk, cheese, and eggs (+15.4%) and fish (+14.5%)

Figure 1. Budget allocations for MEPA and its subsidiary agencies

IN THE SPOTLIGHT: FRUIT AND GRAPES

Source: Ministry of Finance. The share of the budget for agriculture has been calculated by the authors

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n December 10, the parliament of Georgia approved the state budget for 2020. The budget includes allocations of around 14.4 billion GEL, out of which, the Ministry of Environmental Protection and Agriculture (MEPA) will receive 353 mln. GEL (2.4% of the total budget allocation). MEPA will direct approximately 293 mln. GEL (2.0% of the total budget allocation) towards agricultural development and 60 mln. GEL (0.4%) will be spent on environmental protection. Compared to 2019, the budget for agricultural development will increase by around 4%. More state funds will be allocated to the Scientific-Research Center (SRCA), the Agriculture and Rural Development Agency (ARDA) and Georgian Amelioration, while the budget will slightly decrease for the National Food Agency (NFA), the Agriculture Development Program (MEPA administration), and the National Wine Agency. Although the redistribution of funds has changed slightly, as in previous years, the biggest share of MEPA’s funds will further support ARDA (143 mln. GEL), Georgian Amelioration (76 mln. GEL), and the NFA (41 mln. GEL). ARDA will continue financing about ten programs, including a preferential agro credit project with the highest budget of 74 mln. GEL. It should be noted that the Agricul-

tural Cooperative Development Agency (ACDA) is now also under ARDA’s umbrella. MEPA will allocate approximately 2.4 mln. GEL for establishing a new agency focusing on land issues. Specifically, the national agency for sustainable land management and land use monitoring, with 70 employees, will be in charge of developing an agricultural land policy, collecting data on agricultural land use, and establishing a unified database for the land balance in Georgia.

During September-November 2019, the price of fruit and grapes was particularly noticeable. In November 2019, the yearover-year prices for this category increased by 30.2% compared to November 2018. Such a sharp increase in fruit prices may be the result of a shortage in supply. The depreciation of the Georgian lari improved the competitiveness of domestic fruit in foreign markets, therefore, both the quantity and value of exported fruit and grapes (in USD) increased on an annual basis. From September-November 2019, the quantity of exported fruit and grapes increased by 32%, while the corresponding increase in value was 89% (MoF, 2019). (Figure 2)

in 2019, while agricultural imports declined by 9.3%, from 1,221 mln. USD in 2018 to 1,107 mln. USD in 2019. The decrease in agricultural imports can be partially attributed to the depreciation of the Georgian lari against the currencies of the major trading partners, as well as the USD and EUR. The Georgian Lari depreciated against the Turkish lira by 4%, Russian ruble – 17%, US dollar – 11% and EUR – 8%. While a weak national currency usually positively affects exports, agricultural exports did not increase during this period.

POLICY WATCH The Government of Georgia approved the Rural and Agricultural Development Strategy 2021-2027 The Rural and Agricultural Development Strategy 2021-2027 was based on the analysis of existing strategies, in consideration of the results of programs/

Figure 3. Quantity and value of imported fruit

DOMESTIC PRICES On a monthly basis, the country’s price levels increased during SeptemberNovember 2019. The Consumer Price Index (CPI) in November 2019 was 0.9% higher than in October 2019. While in October 2019, the corresponding price increase was 0.8% from September 2019. During this period, the biggest monthover-month change in CPI was observed in September (1.7%). During the same period, prices for food and non-alcoholic beverages, measured by the Food Price Index (FPI), also exhibited an upward trend. In November 2019, food prices increased by 1.2% compared to October 2019, while the corresponding month-over-month price change in October was 1.6% and 3.3% in September 2019. From an annual perspective, the CPI continued to increase from September-

Figure 2. Quantity and value of exported fruit

November 2019. In November 2019, the CPI rose by 7.0% compared to November 2018 and marked its highest level within the indicated period. In November 2019, the year-over-year prices of food and non-alcoholic beverages increased dramatically, by 13.4%; contributing 4.02 percentage points to the change in the total CPI. The main drivers were price fluctuations in the following sub-groups: fruit and grapes

On the other hand, trade statistics reveal that the import value of fruit and grapes increased by 7% in the September-November 2019 period, whereas the corresponding change in the value of imported fruit, expressed in USD, decreased by 27%. (Figure 3). As to international prices, in SeptemberNovember 2019, international prices were higher than last year: in November 2019, the Food Price Index, measured by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), increased drastically by 9.5%, compared to the corresponding month of last year. The main drivers were the price increases for vegetable oil (20.2%), meat (17.2%), and dairy (9.5%). Such a sharp hike in the price of vegetable oil was mainly due to slowdowns in the major producing countries that led to a shortage in supply. As for meat, the prices increased due to tight export availabilities against a persistent strong import demand, especially from China.

TRADE HIGHLIGHTS Year-over-year, total Georgian exports increased between January-November, by 11.7% (from 3,027 mln. USD in 2018 to 3,381 mln. USD in 2019). While total exports increased, agricultural exports decreased by 7.5% for the same period. Considering imports, both total imports and agricultural imports decreased on a yearly basis. Total imports decreased by 2.3%, from 8,316 mln. USD in 2018 to 8,123 mln. USD

reforms implemented, as well as EU experiences. The strategy includes the priorities of the Government of Georgia, as well as sectoral or multisectoral directions and approaches targeted at agricultural and rural development. (A brief analysis of this strategy can be viewed in our previous Agri Review publication: http://iset-pi.ge/images/AGRIndex/ Agri_Review/Agri_Review_October_2019_ENG_Full.pdf) For more information follow the link: h t t p s : / /m e p a . g ov. g e / E n / Ne ws / Details/11792 USAID supports Georgia in certification of seedlings Under the agricultural support program, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) will assist the Ministry of Environmental Protection and Agriculture in improving the certification procedures for seedlings. At the workshop, the representatives of the relevant agencies of the Ministry of Environmental Protection and Agriculture discussed the steps taken by the Georgian Government to certify seedlings and improve legislation. The USAID program which aims at supporting the harmonization of the legislative base and the retraining of specialists, also includes financial support for nurseries. For more information follow the link: https:// mepa.gov.ge/En/News/Details/11798


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20 Tips to Succeed in 2020!

BY GEORGE SHARASHIDZE, EDITORIN-CHIEF, ENTREPRENEUR GEORGIA

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ew Year's Eve seems to be the best time to rethink the past and to plan for the future. But instead of waiting for Santa to bring you a better life, I encourage you to rely on yourself and to work hard non-stop to achieve your goals. Equip yourself with my ‘20 Tips to Succeed in 2020!’ All of them are compiled from my personal experience of nearly two decades doing business and solving problems, strengthened with quotes from worldclass figures: from Emperor Marcus Aurelius and Winston Churchill, to Napoleon Hill and Admiral William McRaven. Enjoy! And I will be more than happy to receive your feedback at editor@entrepreneur.ge.

1. SPEND MORE TIME ON YOURSELF! Remember, you will be able to care for your loved ones better only if you yourself are happy and healthy. Let 2020 be the year for your healing and revival!

2. TURN YOUR DREAMS INTO GOALS!

action towards clear and realistic goals; the year of turning your past dreams into the exciting goals of tomorrow, achievable through daily and consistent action!

3. DON'T SHARE YOUR DREAMS WITH "SMALL" PEOPLE! Share them only with those who are honestly excited about your idea, who support and encourage you. Remember Mark Twain's words: “Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great.” In 2020, make friendships with only the “really great” ones!

4. BELIEVE IN YOUR OWN POWER! Don't think you can't! Let 2020 be the year of unlocking your unique skills. Work hard towards achieving your goals. Get ready for daring steps. In 2020, shout loudly - “I'm an entrepreneur! I can change the world for the better!”

5. BE RESPONSIBLE FOR EVERYTHING IN YOUR LIFE! In 2020, don’t waste time blaming others. Remember, you, the sole creator of your greatness, are responsible for every aspect of your life!

Let 2020 be the year of unstoppable

6. DON'T GET ANGRY WITH PEOPLE!

Your goal is not to defeat others: the only person you need to conquer in life is yourself!

Not even with those who treat you unjustly, those who cheat you, those who fail to keep their promises and those who insult you. You will meet such people in 2020, too. Remember, the only right reaction is to focus on your own development. Then you will realize that instead of harming you, these people actually help you become better. Learn to appreciate their unfair moves against you!

7. DON’T GIVE UP! In 2020, quite likely, you will fail just like

many others have before you. But don’t be afraid of failure: keep moving forward. I recall many motivational quotes on failure, but for inspiration in 2020, turn to this Japanese wisdom: "Fall seven times, get up eight"!

8. GET BETTER! You can't do anything better than this in 2020. Get better with yourself, your family and friends, colleagues and partners. Remember, it’s not important who you are, it’s important who you are going to become in future. Find that inner power in yourself and take steps to change your world for the better!

9. DISCIPLINE IS KEY! In 2020, master the art of discipline. Get up early and get more done. Listen to the Roman philosopher Marcus Aurelius: "At dawn, when you have trouble getting out of bed, tell yourself: ‘I have to go to work - as a human being’”!

10. “IF YOU CANNOT DO GREAT THINGS, DO SMALL THINGS IN A GREAT WAY” Napoleon Hill once said these words and this wisdom could become your New Year Resolution in 2020. Don’t waste your time waiting for the ‘big things’ but instead work daily on small tasks, start with anything you have access to. Start! Here and now!

11. MAKE YOUR BED EVERY MORNING! Start your day with a task completed, as Admiral William McRaven did. Remember his advice: “If you want to change the world, start off by making your bed”!

12. DON’T RELY ON LUCK! Don’t waste your time waiting to get lucky. In 2020, work harder than ever to achieve your goals; be diligent and dedicated to your job. Remember the words of golf legend Arnold Palmer: “The more I practice, the luckier I get.” You, too, should practice more and success will

come to you just as it comes to other “lucky ones”!

13. THINK AND ACT LIKE A CHAMPION! Don't be satisfied with your current achievements and work constantly to improve on your results, just like sports legends do. In 2020, see your career as a sport: continuously strive for better, for higher, for greater. Push yourself for new records - in sports, in business, in life!

14. FOLLOW THE WIN-WIN FORMULA! In 2020, seek mutually beneficial relationships where everyone is a winner and no-one loses out. Don’t see an enemy in anyone. Your goal is not to defeat others: the only person you need to conquer in life is yourself!

15. SEE OPPORTUNITIES IN PROBLEMS! In 2020, act like a real entrepreneur: believe that the key to solving problems is always in your hands. Don't wait for others to show the initiative. Be brave enough to tackle the issues around you. Be creative, motivated and goal oriented towards resolving those problems. Make 2020 the year of turning problems into new business opportunities!

Fall seven times, get up eight! fear of failure stop you on your path to success!

18. PERSISTENCE AND STRONG CHARACTER WILL HELP YOU SUCCEED IN 2020! Believe in your power to overcome any challenge. Remember Churchill's success formula: “Success is the ability to go from failure to failure without losing your enthusiasm!”

19. THE KEY TO SUCCESS IS TO HAVE PASSION! Feel the power coming from focusing on what excites you the most. In 2020, fully dedicate yourself to your favorite job. Everything you do in business or life you should do with deep love and belief! Keep your promises and bring your ideas to fruition to benefit the masses!

16. LEARN FROM MISTAKES!

20. DON’T DELAY!

Remember Henry Ford: “The only real mistake is the one from which we learn nothing.” Let 2020 be the year of learning from mistakes and constantly refining future action plans based on trialand-error experiences!

For 2020, I can't advise you anything more relevant than this: Don’t delay! Once again, take to heart the words of that philosopher-emperor of the Roman Empire, Marcus Aurelius: “Remember how long you’ve been putting this off, how many extensions the gods have given you which you didn’t use. At some point, you have to recognize what world it is that you belong to; what power rules it and from what source you spring; that there is a limit to the time assigned to you, and if you don’t use it to free yourself, it will be gone and will never return.”

17. OVERCOME THE FAILURE COMPLEX! Don't give up on new, innovative ideas. Get out of your comfort zone and embrace new challenges. Remember that failure is an integral part of success. If you give up on failure, how are you going to become successful? In 2020, don’t let the


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Four Large-scale International Exhibitions to be Held in Frankfurt

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rom 24-28 January 2020, Messe Frankfurt is hosting four of the largest international exhibitions in Frankfurt: Floradecora 2020, Paperworld 2020, Christmasworld 2020 and Creativeworld 2020, within which spectators will have the opportunity to get acquainted with the 2020 - 2021 Christmas, creative, decorative and floristic trends. Exhibitions will allow the spectators to attend various workshops and shows.

CHRISTMASWORLD - LEADING INTERNATIONAL TRADE FAIR FOR SEASONAL AND FESTIVE DECORATIONS Christmasworld is the world’s biggest trend and order platform for the international seasonal and festive decoration sector – and therefore the perfect B2B trade fair for a great start to the new business season. Christmasworld in Frankfurt am Main brings together manufacturers and retailers, as well as major commercial buyers from all over the world. The leading international trade fair for seasonal and festive decorations focuses on the busiest and most emotional time of the year. Simultaneously, it reveals the potential offered by seasonal decorations as supplementary driving forces for sales.

CREATIVEWORLD - INTERNATIONAL TRADE FAIR FOR HOBBY, ARTS AND CRAFTS SUPPLIES Creativeworld is the world’s biggest and most important trade fair for the DIY sector. Key players and newcomers to the sector will meet in Halls 4.1 and 4.2 of Frankfurt Fair and Exhibition Centre to present their innovations in the fields of hobbies, arts and crafts, graphic artists’ and artists’ requisites, handiwork, textile design and decorative handicrafts. With its unrivalled blend of business, trends and workshops, Creativeworld exerts a magnetic power of attraction every year. On the one hand, it is the

order fair for the sector. On the other hand, it offers trade visitors a wide-ranging selection of fascinating workshops and product demonstrations. Particularly important is the role of Creativeworld as a trend forge where national and international manufacturers present their latest innovations. No

other fair offers as much inspiration and so many fresh ideas.

PAPERWORLD - INTERNATIONAL TRADE FAIR FOR STATIONERY, OFFICE SUPPLIES AND WRITING INSTRUMENTS All the trends and industry innovations come together in one place at Paperworld. For major brand manufacturers or international newcomers, Paperworld, with its unique product diversity, is the most important industry meeting point and source of inspiration for the wholesale and retail trade as well as for corporate buyers. At Paperworld, everything related to stationery, office supplies and writing instruments is divided into the two areas Office and Stationery: Office covers commercial office supplies, whereas Stationery concerns paper and stationery products for private use. What awaits you at Paperworld Complete market overview with the world's largest range of products in Office and Stationery Latest industry trends with a preview of the coming season Valuable impulses in exclusive specialist presentations and trendsetting special exhibitions Inspiring exchanges with manufacturers, industry experts and specialists from all over the world Creative ideas for extending your range of products with the Creativeworld and Christmasworld

FLORADECORA – FRESH FLOWERS AND DECORATIVE PLANTS Fresh flowers, plants and ready-made flower arrange-

christmasworld.messefrankfurt.com

ments are becoming significantly more important in the retail trade as a complement to seasonal and festive decoration. The product group Floradecora picks up on this trend in the hall 8.0. There is a major trend these days for fresh, convenience items. Above all, what people want are easy-care and long-lasting products, which give them pleasure; they are keen to bring more fresh greenery into their homes or to give it as a gift to others. The easier things are to deal with, the better. And that is what the suppliers at the product group Floradecora specialize in. In hall 8.0, you will find fresh flowers and ornamental plant. The range of products at Floradecora includes: Cut flowers Potted and ornamental plants Garden plants Floral arrangements with and without seasonal decorations Ready-made floral and plant arrangements Hollowware and florists’ requisites Retail-trade concepts/software solutions Don't miss the chance to attend four exhibitions at a time that represent important platforms for current trends and innovations. For more information, please contact: Zaira Soloeva, Senior Project Manager at German Business Association (DWV): +99532 220 57 67 zaira.soloeva@dwv.ge Photo source: Messe Frankfurt (www.messefrankfurt.com)


BUSINESS

GEORGIA TODAY

DECEMBER 31 - JANUARY 9, 2019/2020

7

Georgia: 5 Months of Sanctions Sees 100,000 Russians Less, But 215,000 More Other Tourists BY TEA MARIAMIDZE

I

t has been 5 months and 22 days since July 8, 2019, when Russia suspended direct flights with Georgia. According to the statistics from the Georgian National Tourism Administration (GNTA), a record number of international visitors, 3,961,438, visited the country during this period (July-November), which is 215,306 or 5.7% visitors more compared to the same period of the previous year. Due to the air traffic restrictions imposed by Russian President Vladimir Putin after large-scale anti-Russian rallies in Georgia in June, the number of Russian visitors to Georgia decreased by 99,483 compared to the previous year. However, the decrease in Russian tourists was balanced by an increased tourist flow from other countries. The growth was particularly pronounced from Ukraine, Israel, and Saudi Arabia. The top 10 countries, whose citizens visited Georgia the most this year, is as follows: 1. Azerbaijan: 781,311 visitors, an increase of 10% compared to the previous year 2. Russia: 714,668 visitors, down 12% 3. Armenia: 699,840 visitors, up 8% 4. Turkey: 576,180 visitors, up 12% 5. Georgia (non-resident): 223,561 visitors, up 4% 6. Israel: 114,478 visitors, up 29% 7. Ukraine: 114,466 visitors, up 20% 8. Iran: 71,501 visitors, down by 46% from the previous year; 9. Kazakhstan: 62,103 visitors, up 72% 10. Saudi Arabia: 56,156 visitors, a 40% increase compared to the previous year. What’s more, the number of tourists coming to Georgia increased from Poland,

Image source: culturetrip.com

Germany, Belarus, China, and the USA. In January-November 2019, visits of international travelers coming to Georgia reached a historic high of 8,690,352, which is 7.2% more compared to the same period of 2018, the GNTA says. The agency added that in the first 11 months of 2019, of the total number of visits by international travelers, 7,191,042 visits (6.6% increase) were carried out by international visitors designated as people who are over the age of 15 and

stay for less than one year. In the first 11 months of 2019, of the international visits, tourist-type visits accounted for 4,768,432, which is a 6.3% increase. Only last month, visits of international travelers coming to Georgia reached 670,122 which is an increase of 12% compared to the same period of last year. The National Bank of Georgia reports that in the period January-August 2019, Georgia received $2.58 billion in tourism

revenue, up 0.45% compared to the same period of 2018. During the embargo period, the third quarter of 2019, Georgia received $1.126 billion in tourism revenue, which is $83.8 million less than in 2018. Mid-December, the President of the National Bank of Georgia Koba Gvenetadze stated that the decision of the Russian President to ban direct flights to Georgia in June 2019 cost the Georgian economy $300 million and that this move,

and the spread of other formal or informal trade sanctions, raised expectations of an exchange rate devaluation. “We estimate that the country received $300 million less in tourism revenue due to airline transactions. This was followed by the political tensions that contributed to the further devaluation of the national currency,” he added. During 2019, Georgia received $3 billion revenue from international tourism, according to the GNTA.

4 nights

2 Pax

720$


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BUSINESS

GEORGIA TODAY

DECEMBER 31 - JANUARY 9, 2019/2020

Major Geopolitical Trends for 2020 OP-ED BY EMIL AVDALIANI

T

he year 2020 will be different from 2019 in many ways. To be more precise, larger economic, military and political developments might seem unalterable, but there are various small scale processes in 2020 which would signal the start of long-term changes. We will start with Georgia. As in the past, the country will continue finding itself between its EU aspirations and a geopolitically hostile Russia. A reinvigorated EU with powerful institutes, renewed enlargement agenda, etc. will strengthen Tbilisi’s outlook. The EU is likely to provide larger financial support to Tbilisi for carrying out sectorial reforms. In 2020, the EU is also likely to continue pressuring Russia by keeping the existing economic sanctions. At the same time, there will be increased efforts by Brussels and Moscow to improve bilateral relations, but it will be difficult to pull off. NATO could be another tool to influence Moscow’s behavior in the region. The alliance troops will increase their rotation along Russian borders, while in Georgia NATO will increase its work with the country’s military forces. That said, NATO membership for Georgia will still remain a far-off perspective. Yet another important factor in Geor-

gia’s foreign policy will be China. There will be efforts by Tbilisi and Beijing in 2020 to build deeper economic relations perhaps through investments and trade. All trends show that China will continue seeing Georgia, with its Black Sea ports of Batumi and Poti, as one of the links in its massive ‘Belt and Road initiative’ (BRI). However, it will still be far off for China becoming a security partner in the South Caucasus region. Georgia will have important parliamentary elections. Whatever results there will be, it is unlikely that the country’s foreign policy will change. However, the elections will have deep-rooted influence on the internal development of the state. On a global level, Russia will continue facing pressure from the US and the EU. It is unlikely that the sanctions imposed on Russia by the US will be lifted. Though there will be calls to have better relations with Moscow, real chances to improve US-Russia relations will remain minimal. Too many differences have been piled up across Eurasia in Syria, Ukraine, Africa, Europe, etc. that will complicate Moscow-Washington relations. In fact, there are indications that the US will increase its military and economic pressure on Russia by helping Ukraine and Georgia. The US government has already evolved in its position on the provision of lethal arms to Kyiv and Tbilisi. That said, it is true that through minor provision of lethal weapons, the military balance is far from being

Image source: businessgraduatesassociation.com

overturned as Moscow, on the contrary will enhance its military position in eastern Ukraine and Georgia’s Abkhazia and Tskhinvali regions. A large compromise on Ukraine is also unlikely to be reached as Moscow is unwilling to abandon its control over the border section in eastern Ukraine. The US will have crucial presidential elections, which will be important to watch as Trump has good chances to win the second term. In case this happens, we might see a deeper structural

changes taking place across the globe which started in 2016. Thus the US’ global posture will continue to evolve and it will primarily touch upon security situation in Eurasia. In the Middle East, the US will remain preoccupied with Russian military and diplomatic successes. As Moscow reached high levels of cooperation with Turkey and Iran in 2018-2019, the trend is likely to continue in 2020 as the three countries’ geopolitical imperatives coalesce with one another. This triangle of Rus-

sia, Turkey and Iran is not void of disagreements, but in 2020 it could limit the projection of US power across the Middle East. Moreover, as they experience increased US pressure, cooperation between Tehran, Moscow and Ankara will be further solidified. Overall, this year will be yet another one with high-level competition among major powers, while smaller countries with breakaway conflicts will feel firsthand the ongoing military and diplomatic competition between Russia and the US.

GIZ Legal Program: Report on the Effectiveness of State-Owned Enterprises BY NINI DAKHUNDARIDZE

O

n December 25, the GIZ Legal Program in Georgia hosted the presentation of a thematic research report on the effectiveness of state-owned enterprises. Presented by the inquiry committee of GIZ Georgia,

the research summed up the work done in the field, and its suggestions for future improvement. Representatives of the World Bank, the Institute for Development of Freedom of Information (IDFI), the State Audit Office, and private individuals, expressed their opinions on the topic during the presentation. “The committee inquiry is considered one of the new tools for the implemen-

tation of parliamentary supervision and is carried out by the active participation of various community groups on relevant important issues,” the GIZ Legal Program reports. The committee inquiry on the effectiveness of state enterprise management was carried out on the initiative of the Parliamentary Committee on Sector Economy and Economic Policy of Georgia, with the support of the GIZ Legal

Program. Both the Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development of Georgia and the Ministry of Finance of Georgia were involved in the process. Within the frames of the inquiry, numerous workshops took place with participants from the different ministries, public law entities, in addition to various large state-owned enterprises and the Partnership Fund. The final report of the committee

inquiry provided the recommendations of the inquiry group and stakeholders as well as the opinions of the invited experts. The recommendations focused on three key issues: Establishment of the Coordination Council / Working Group; Development of the state Policy Document; Implementation of internationally recognized corporate governance standards. The thematic inquiry group is to ensure appropriate monitoring of the implementation of the recommendations by the Government of Georgia. The Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH has been working in Georgia since 1992. GIZ's country office in Tbilisi primarily manages regional programs that are being implemented in Georgia and the two neighboring countries Armenia and Azerbaijan. By the end of the year 2018, 93 national and 24 international employees and nine integrated specialists of GIZ were working in the country. On behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), GIZ works in Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan in the following priority areas: Sustainable economic development; Democracy, civil society, and public administration; Environmental policy, conservation and sustainable use of natural resources. By partnering up with the three neighboring countries, GIZ additionally improves the regional reality, allowing the states to learn from one another. In this way it further contributes to crisis prevention between Armenia and Azerbaijan.


BUSINESS

GEORGIA TODAY

DECEMBER 31 - JANUARY 9, 2019/2020

Economy Ministry: Electricity Import to Decrease, Export to Increase in 2020

Image source: confrontations.org

BY TEA MARIAMIDZE

I

n 2020, the Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development of Georgia expects to import 1 billion 253.9 million kWh of electricity, which is 18.8% less than the current year’s forecast. The above is stated in the 2020 forecast balance sheet recently approved by the ministry. Exports of electricity, according to the same document, will reach 577.8 million kWh in 2020, which is 137% more than the forecast for the current year. The Ministry hopes for such a balance because it expects a growth in the power generated by the Hydro Power Plants (HPPs) in Georgia. According to the forecast, the volume of electricity generated by the HPPs in 2020 will increase by about 11.2%. Minister of Economy and Sustainable Development Natia Turnava stated that in 2019, six new hydroelectric power plants with a total installed capacity of 58 MW were completed and put into operation, with a total investment of up to $80 million. “As of next year, it is planned to put into operation 14 new HPPs and one thermal power plant with a total installed capacity of up to 500 MW. Most importantly, historical projects will be launched: the Shuakhevi HPP will be completed and put into operation. Also, construction of the Namakhvani HPP will start and Nenskra HPP will move to the final construction stage too,” the Minister said, noting that in 2020, it is planned to start the construction of a total of 13 new facilities, including eight HPPs. The Namakhvani HPP is the largest project in the country, with a capacity of 460 MW

and investments of up to $800 million. “It is a very complex project and I would like to point out that most importantly, public discussions are taking place in a very active and calm environment. I am glad that we have gradually been able to reverse the trend and make some serious progress,” she said. Turnava also noted that the Khadori 3 in Pankisi, Akhmeta Municipality, Kakheti, is a different case and the construction of the project will not be resumed until there is a higher level of consensus from the local population. The Minister underlined that with respect to all projects, more attention is being paid to the social requirements of the population, environmental impact assessment, as well as investor responsibility. “2018-2019 was a year of accumulating this experience. I would say that progress in this sector is the result of energy reforms,” she stated. To note, Electricity System Commercial Operator (ESCO) data reads that in January-November of this year, total imports of electricity amounted to 1 billion 416 million kWh, which is 10.5% more than the same period last year: 1 billion 281.1 million kWh. During the last 11 months, the largest volume of electricity, 512 million kWh, came from Russia, exceeding imports by 151% in the same period last year. Georgia also purchased 203.8 million kWh of electricity from Azerbaijan this year. As of 2019, there are 93 power plants in Georgia with the total installed capacity of 4207.17 MW. Of 93 power plants, 87 are hydro power plants with a total installed capacity of 3260.07 MW, five are thermal power plant (927.40 MW capacity) and one wind power plant with an installed capacity of 20.70 MW.

Georgia to Receive 92.7% of Gas from Azerbaijan, 6.6% from Russia in 2020

BY ANA DUMBADZE

G

eorgian Minister of Economy and Sustainable Development Natia Turnava approved the 2020 gas balance. According to the document, the projected volume of gas supplies to Georgia will amount to 2.57 billion cubic meters next year. Georgia will receive 2.39 billion cubic meters, 92.7% of the country's required gas, from Azerbaijan, including 1.51 billion cubic meters from SOCAR and 873.8 million cubic meters from the Shah Deniz field.

According to forecasts, deliveries from Russia will amount to 169.9 million cubic meters of gas (6.6% of the required volume), while the projected volume of local production will be 17.9 million cubic meters (0.7%). In consumption, the 2020 forecast for "social gas" amounts to 1.6 billion cubic meters, of which one billion cubic meters will be for the population, and 600 million cubic meters for thermal power plants. The consumption forecast for the commercial sector is 911 million cubic meters, and gas losses are expected to be 35 million cubic meters. Compared with the gas balance for 2019, a reduction in gas supply and consumption is projected for Georgia in 2020.

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BUSINESS

GEORGIA TODAY

DECEMBER 31 - JANUARY 9, 2019/2020

Why I Strike for the Climate

Left: Greta Thunberg sits outside the Swedish parliament building in order to raises awareness for climate change on August 28, 2018 in Stockholm, Sweden. Right: People protest during a Climate Strike march in San Francisco, California, September 20, 2019. MICHAEL CAMPANELLA/Getty Images and REUTERS/Kate Munsch

BLOG BY GIORGI PTSKIALADZE, MEMBER OF THE GEORGIAN YOUNG GREENS

I

t’s been over a year now that 16-year-old Greta Thunberg took time off school to demonstrate outside the Swedish parliament, holding up a sign calling for stronger climate action. Her sitting alone for a few weeks finally resulted in inspiring youth to follow her example and then together organize a school climate strike movement under the name ‘Fridays for the Future.’ Their message is easy to understand: “What is there to study for if mine and the world’s existence are in danger?” The slogan is used by thousands of students who strike every Friday, [since August 2018 when Greta started the movement]. March 15 marked the first date of a global strike, which was joined by over 2 million young people. 20-27 September is when the world, led by youth, came together as one again, also seeing the International Labor Organization on board with the strikes. The demand again was not complicated: it is time for action! This is where I finish talking about Greta and the Western movement for climate change, because, yes, at first glance, this movement is Western. It found its roots in one of the most developed countries, Sweden, and the majority of the youth who strike are from Europe. But still, despite all this, plenty of young people from the global South and Georgia have become a part of the movement. Why? First of all, of course, the simplest answer is that the climate crisis knows and has no borders. Borders are no barricades for transnational corporations: they can cross any border easily and start up their business anywhere, whatever the continent. This ‘business’ means putting the country’s full resources (human as much as natural) to work- exploitation. I’d also like to note, that it is exactly these transnational corporations who are the main ones at fault for the climate crisis: they overproduce and propagate consumerism so they can sell more and more. We can sum up their work using a well-known quote: “water companies produce plastic bottles, not water.” Within them, 100 oil-extracting companies deserve the ‘special mentions’ category. These companies are responsible for over 71% of gas pollution. This

pollution plays the main role in climate change. At the same time, we see “green lifestyle” becoming more of a trend, a lifestyle includes limiting the use of plastic, becoming vegan, etc. These trends, of course, are very good and the more of us that choose that lifestyle, the better, but there lies a big problem. It is brought to us in such a way as to make us think that we can individually fix the damage we have caused this planet. It’s a problem because simply put, it’s just a lie. It is especially untrue in the case of “developing countries,” like Georgia and the global South, because in these “resident individuals of poor countries have little to no control over climate change.” Getting back to the corporations, in 1972 at the UN General Assembly, the socialist President of Chile, Salvador Allende, said during his famous speech: “We are faced by a confrontation between the large transnational corporations and the states. The corporations are interfering in the fundamental political, economic and military decisions of the states. The corporations are global organizations that do not depend on any state and whose activities are not controlled by, nor are they accountable to, any parliament or any other institution representative of the collective interest. In short, the global political structure is being undermined. The dealers don't have a country. The place they may be does not constitute any kind of link; the only thing they are interested in is where they can make a profit.” A year after he made that speech, President Allende, who was elected rather democratically, was turned out by a military coup. Socialist Allende was replaced by fascist military dictator Augusto Pinochet. The former is associated with many thousands of incidents of human torture, imprisonment, and murder. What’s more, during his rule, campaigns for privatization, deregulation, and neo-liberalism took place. Allende’s nationalized industries and those belonging to the state, banks and other resources were sold. The abovementioned was not the first and certainly not the last to serve as a sacrifice for transnational corporations’ interests. I have already mentioned neoliberalism. This is the term that you will hear plenty of times from us, the young greens, and from the left-wingers of Georgia, and not only when describing political or economic systems. To sum it up really quickly, I’ll take a few words from David Harvey: “Neoliberalism, above all, is a

political theory about economic practices which tells us that human well-being can be accomplished by individual entrepreneurial freedom within the institutional frames that strengthen the free market and free trading system to ensure strong rights for private property. The state’s role is to create necessary institutionary frames for these practices and to protect them.” The leader of the Conservative Party from 1975 to 1990, Margaret Thatcher, became the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom in 1979. The republican Ronald Reagan was elected in 1981. Ever since that period, neoliberalism has started to slowly transform into a hegemonic ideology. Dominated by the USA, global financial institutes, the World Bank and International Exchange Fund, turned neoliberalism into a global politicaleconomic system. They started implementing this newly founded system in the so-called developing countries, naming deregulation, privatization and market liberalization as the only right economic practice. This is exactly the system that grew strong roots in independent Georgia. During the last 30 years neoliberalism has become the ruling political-economic ideology. This is especially true when talking about Georgia from 2003 to present, as it was the year when the United National Movement started governing the country. Saakashvili’s government followed the steps and directions of becoming a neoliberal state: deregulation, privatization, a strong police system, fetishizing private property, anti-social

politics, etc. The abovementioned political direction was more evident than ever when Bendukidze served as the Minister of Economy – “everything is for sale except conscience,” he used to say. He aimed to close down his ministry [the Ministry of Economy] and cancel all the economic regulations imposed by the government. Not to ramble on much longer, you might ask here, how all these things connect- neo-liberalism, Chile, Thatcher, the United National Movement, and the climate crisis… However, the climate crisis has a very specific guilty party and that is the abovementioned politicaleconomic system: capitalism. Capitalism sees everything as a matter of 'buy-sell' and condemns the government having a say in the economy and civilians protecting the environment as “an offense to the right to freedom.” We owe the current order of the world to this ideology and here is the ‘current order:’Western corporations stand above the institution of the state, the former having more power and consequently, numerous countries have become their colonies. The same ideology is responsible for imposing regulations or the removal of government control of the environment, which, of course, causes lots of ecological problems. To follow up with the example of Georgia, these neoliberal and antidemocratic variations demanded tons of sacrifice – devastating the country’s potential to develop environment and resources sustainably. The complete deregulation of environmental protection has taken place. Ecological expertise of mining operations, a field endangering the environment, has been completely left aside. Finally, in 2011 the natural resources-related functions of the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources Protection of Georgia were passed to the Ministry of Energy and the different functions of protecting the environment were disseminated to different parts of government agencies. Environmental protection as a field has been completely lost; a fact then topped off with numerous inadequate decisions. So, when speaking about environmental problems in Georgia and around the globe, we have to keep in mind that behind those problems is one very specific reason, and that is the politicaleconomic structure. To sum up quickly and get back to the environmental strike, it has to be said that too many eco-activists make a big mistake when they only talk about ecology, Co2, and other merely technical/ scientific issues. This results in ‘depoliticization’ of climate change and that is fundamentally wrong, as the root of the problem is political and unless we change it, there will be no real progress. We are not under the illusion that a “better climate” can exist in the current political-economic system. This is because the existing economic models are deeply dependent on human and natural resource exploitation, and this transnational and capitalist system eliminates the possibility for a “better climate”. Unless the order changes, the existence of planet Earth and humanity

Georgian citizens protest climate change outside Tbilisi City Hall in September 2019

has a big question mark over it. There is one more crucial aspect that has to be taken into account. The climate crisis won’t affect everyone equally: it has a class system and political-geographical layers. We, the “developing” countries which are placed on the peripheral parts of the world and which are poor- economically and politically dependent on the “better-off” countries, will be the ones to first feel the tragedies of climate change when it reaches its peak. Not the “developed” countries, where the environmental movement is at its highest. Correspondingly, we, the Young Greens and other left-winger greens, believe that the West, also known as the global north, has to take the responsibility for suspending the climate change. The latter is impossible unless the order of the world changes, the fortune is redistributed, the economy is decentralized and so, the hegemony of global north ends. The idea is supported by Wolfgang Sachs in his writings of sustainable development. This is why it’s crucial to fight for climate justice even in the South where we do not have the authority to stop it. But we do have the power to demand that our government consider the collective interest of its civilians and resist local or international corporations that stand against that will. As Sachs put it, building a good global neighborhood demands interior reforms which have cosmopolitical interests at heart. Unfortunately, the exact opposite of the above is taking place in Georgia. In our country, we are witnessing how the government has been the main supporter of corporations, turning its back on its community for decades now. Our government follows the economic policy written out by the world finance institutes, which makes the people of Georgia poorer and destroys nature. In global terms, Georgia does not pollute the environment but locally, the country has numerous socio-ecological problems. The current liberal ‘attracting investors’ politics invites transnational companies to use Georgia’s territories for manufacture, allowing them to build environmentally polluting factories here. Undoubtedly, the latter will have fatal consequences locally and regionally. The fight does not begin on an empty page, because it has been going on for a while regarding the Svaneti, Pankisi and other hydroelectric stations. We need to expand, connect these little resistances of ours, strengthen them and carry on. The real fight is for the betterment of social well-being, protecting people’s common interests against further enrichment of the economic elite. This fight is local as much as it is global, that is why only coming together as one and solidarity can take us to a new world with a new order. I strike, because the climate crisis and domination of the economic elite have no borders; because it is time to build a world fit for all and not for individuals. And last but not least, I strike because we have no other option: We need to finish capitalism before it finishes us.


BUSINESS

GEORGIA TODAY

DECEMBER 31 - JANUARY 9, 2019/2020

11

Magnolia Awards 2019 BY NINI DAKHUNDARIDZE

T

he year 2019 is coming to an end, meaning that the achievements of the year must be celebrated. For the occasion, Batumi hosted the Magnolia Awards 2019. The awards ceremony that took place on December 27 revealed the best service providers in the field of tourism in the region of Adjara. Hilton Batumi was named the Best Brand Hotel of the Sector and for Tourists, while the Best NonBrand Hotel Award went to Admirali. “Tonight we have won the ‘Best Brand Hotel Magnolia Award 2019’ given by the Department of Tourism and Resorts of Adjara,” Hilton Batumi posted on social media. “This one’s for the amazing work our team members do day by day! Thank you to all our guests, friends and partners who voted for us.” The Best Hostel of 2019 in the region of Adjara was Back2me, and Retro was awarded the title of Best Restaurant. The Magnolia Awards had the nomination of the Most Visited Location in the Region which went to Batumi Boulevard. In sum, the Awarding ceremony of Magnolia Awards revealed winners in 13 nominations. The full list of nominations and their winners is as follows: Best Georgian Non-Brand Hostel: Admirali Best Brand Hotel: Hilton Batumi Best Hostel: Back2me Best Restaurant: Retro The Most Visited Location: Batumi Boulevard The Most Visited Attraction: Dolphinarium Best Family Hotel in the Village: Zebo Best Tourism Agency: Adjara Tour Best Guide: Salome Gorgiladze Most Often Visited Museum: Gonio Fortress-Museum Most Visited Touristic Route: Batumi City Tour Best Wine Cellar: Vazha Davitadze’s

Winery and Manari The Most Interesting Event: Village Tourism Festival Gandagana 2019 The Adjara Tourism Department has been running the Magnolia awards ceremony since 2015 with the aim to encourage the sector and to improve service provision in the region of Adjara. The Adjara Tourism Department also awarded certificates to representatives of the private and public sectors for their

playing a special role in the improvement and popularization of Adjara tourism. The certificates went to 39 companies, organizations, locations, and campaigns, among them the Georgian Chess Federation and the Spend Your Summer in Georgia Campaign. The Magnolia 2019 ceremony began with a summary of the year, the projects that the Department had carried out throughout the year and the progress it

Tskneti Government Residence On Sale for GEL 55.7 Million BY ANA DUMBADZE

W

I

n 2019, the gross external debt of Georgia amounted to $17.8 billion, declared the National Bank of Georgia, in the third quarter reducing by $433.6 million. External debt of the public sector amounted to $7.4 billion, which is 42.6%

existing buildings. The investment that the buyer should make in the project is at least GEL 20 million. Implementation of the project should create new jobs and at the same time promote the economic development of the neighboring area. On November 29, the Ministry of Economy and the National Agency of State Property presented the list of 100 state-owned buildings the government is offering local and international busi-

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Editor-In-Chief: Katie Ruth Davies

stands out, being an Oscar in the field of tourism.” The awards event, hosted by the Dramatic Theater of Batumi, was attended by the representatives of both the private and public sectors. All in all, 2019 was a successful year for Georgian tourism. During the 11 months of the year, 8,690.352 international tourists visited the country, up 7.2% on last year’s statistics.

NBG: Gross External Debt of Georgia in 2019 Amounted to $17.8 Billion BY BEKA ALEXISHVILI

ithin the framework of the project '100 Investment Offers for Business,' the National Agency of State Property Management of the Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development of Georgia has auctioned the Tskneti Government Residence buildings. The Tskneti Government Residence (13 buildings) is located over 89,978 sq.m. land, the initial value of which was estimated by the Levan Samkharauli National Forensics Bureau at 55,711,500 GEL. Under the investment terms, the buyer will be obliged to build a hotel and/or residential complex on the whole or part of the land within 36 months of signing the contract. The buyer will be free to dismantle or reconstruct the

GEORGIA TODAY

has achieved. “Our department creates the policies of tourism, but without your participation, it would be impossible to make the industry work, thank you,” said the Chairperson of the Adjara Tourism Department, Tinatin Zoidze. “This year was exceptional for Adjara, and among the many awards the region received in 2019, the prestigious International Travel Awards for the city of Batumi

of the gross domestic product (GDP), while external liabilities of the National Bank of Georgia amounted to $404.6 million, the same bank states. External debt of the banking sector amounted to $4.2 billion, which is 24.4% of GDP. At the start of the fourth economic quarter, intercompany lending came to $3.3 billion which amounted to 18.8% of gross domestic product.

nesses for privatization. Among other important objects, the Tskneti Government Residence is also included in the government's privatization list. The 100 investment offers also include objects in Sighnaghi, with an estimated value of 281,763 GEL (13,000 sq m); in Bakhmaro, with an estimated value of 2,537.400 GEL (12 588 sq.m.), and in Tbilisi at Gotua Street 14, with an estimated value of 6,595.721 GEL (6 796 sq.m.).

Journalists: Tony Hanmer, Zaza Jgarkava, Maka Bibilashvili, Vazha Tavberidze, Nugzar B. Ruhadze, Beka Alexishvili, Tea Mariamidze, Ana Dumbadze, Nini Dakhundaridze Elene Dzebizashvili Photographer: Irakli Dolidze

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Profile for Georgia Today

Issue #1216 Business  

December 31 - January 9, 2019

Issue #1216 Business  

December 31 - January 9, 2019

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