Issue 1, 2019. February-March

   

FROM DAVOS WITH LOVE: FOREIGN INVESTORS INTERESTED IN GEORGIA

Prime Minister Mamuka Bakhtadze leaves Davos with pledges of interest from several prominent international companies.


The 2019 World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland underscored increased interest in Georgia, according to Georgian Prime Minister Mamuka Bakhtadze.

Agility Global Integrated Logistics, a global leader in integrated logistics, appears to already be interested. the company is "very bullish" on the potential to "cooperate" with the Georgian government on future projects, according to CEO Tarek Sultan Al Essa.

Stena Rederi, a Swedish shipping company, also expressed interest in Georgia following a meeting with Bakhtadze. The company's CEO, Carl Hagman, said there is "a lot of interesting potential to develop in the Black Sea." "I come from a shipping company and we have been discussing how we create networks of transportation on the Black Sea. Georgia is geographically very well-suited. I think Georgia has excellent governance and the PM's enthusiasm about his country is shared by me," he was quoted as saying. PM Bakhtadze had other meetings with significant investors from several countries while in Davos, including several who spoke of concrete plans to invest in Georgia, according to the prime minister's official website, www.gov.ge. "We used this platform and held very important negotiations with companies that plan to make foreign direct investments (FDI) in Georgia. Interest has been expressed towards all sectors, starting from consumption goods and ending with energy," Bakhtadze said. He especially highlighted meetings with high tech companies. "Unfortunately, we have not seen in abundance high tech investments in recent years, and it is particularly important for me to get investments exactly from companies operating in the sector of high technologies," he said.

Economic Hub

Bakhtadze said the most important message from the Georgian government was that the country is ready to be an economic hub for the region. "Georgia will essentially transform into an economic hub of our region, which means that we will be able to create more jobs and ultimately combat poverty in the country," he said. "If you look at a map, Georgia is the natural candidate to become a regional hub. The strategy of my government is to make Georgia a regional hub for business, trade, finance, logistics, tourism and education," the prime minister told Deutsche Welle. "We would like to facilitate the growing volume of trade between Asia and Europe. This is the reason why we are investing so much in our infrastructure, and I am very happy in Davos that we see there are more and more companies willing to invest in Georgia and participate in these very important programs and projects," Bakhtadze said.

From Chocolate to Healthcare

Swiss chocolate producer Camille Bloch SA announced plans to invest in Georgia, according to a statement released by the company's CEO, Daniel Bloch. Bloch met with Bakhtadze on the sidelines at Davos.

The company reportedly plans to purchase land to grow hazelnuts which will be used in its signature Ragusa chocolates. VPS Healthcare, which has over 125 medical centers across the Middle East, Europe and India, also plans to study investment opportunities in Georgia, according to gov.ge.

"We have agreed that our delegation will soon visit Georgia to study relevant opportunities. Georgia has great potential as a tourist destination. Georgia's ease of doing business is excellent, so we will further study these opportunities. Our delegation will visit Georgia within a month," the Chairman of VPS Healthcare, Dr. Shamsheer Vayalil was quoted as saying following his meeting with Bakhtadze.

Chinese Interest

Chinese Minsheng Investment Group President Lu Benxian also spoke about potential cooperation with Georgia following his meeting with Bakhtadze at Davos.

"Over the last few years, Georgia has been rapidly developing and a favorable policy for investments has been introduced. Our goal is to try to use this opportunity. We want to discuss the possibility of investing in Georgia," Benxian was quoted as saying.

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