WB to continue rendering technical assistance to Georgian gov't (Exclusive)
Baku, Azerbaijan, Aug.13 By Tamilla Mammadova – Trend: World Bank investments in municipal infrastructure and service delivery of Georgia have fostered inclusive growth and given people opportunities to participate in the economy; for example, the rehabilitation of Telavi and its main highlight - Erekle Castle (Batonistsikhe) are attracting millions of tourists to the Kakheti region, World Bank (WB) told Trend. The Bank noted that the similar effects are being felt in Imereti, Mtskheta-Mtianeti, and Samtskhe-Javakheti regions where investments helped to improve the quality of local infrastructure, promote cultural heritage preservation and sustainable tourism that created job opportunities for many people. Investments in the construction of the East-West-Highway and secondary roads increased Georgia’s connectivity, reduced travel times for users and enabled farmers to get their produce to the markets faster. According to the Bank, another highlight is the impact they have made in promoting innovation in Georgia. By providing financial support and a variety of value-added services, Georgia’s Innovation & Technology Agency (GITA) has been the foundation in building technology centers, and an ecosystem for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to accelerate growth and commercialize new technology. Launched in 2014, with support from the World Bank, GITA started as an agency seeking to establish itself as the cornerstone of Georgia’s National Innovation Ecosystem and has piloted several programs with the goal to grow innovation within the technology sector as well as traditional sectors, noted the Bank. The Bank added, that today, GITA is a leading source of early stage financing and mentoring for innovative firms, through its existing programs. These include GITA’s business incubator grants of GEL 5,000 (received by 52 individuals and 19 teams to date), the highly competitive mini grants, received by 17 out 150 applicants, for a total of GEL 750,000, and micro grants, received by over 170 individuals for a total of GEL 522,000. "The World Bank Group has been a long-term partner in the energy sector in Georgia to improve the country’s energy supply and reliability. In the last four years, we have completed the construction of transmission lines connecting additional 180 MW clean hydropower generation to the grid and improved the reliability of power supply to the Adjara region," the bank said. "What we are equally proud of is our engagement in providing technical assistance to enable the government make informed decisions about the fiscal costs and tariff impacts of current and future Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs). We will continue to support the government’s efforts in such a critical sector to the development of the country", noted the Bank.