According to Anna Bjerde, Vice President of the World Bank, interest in participation is great towards the development of a new strategy initiated by the Government of Georgia. Such a statement she made after the meeting with the Prime Minister of Georgia.
“We exchanged views with the Prime Minister on the future. We very much look forward to working on a new development strategy for the country. We really look forward to engaging in the reforms that the Government would like to pursue. I should mention that for us in the Europe and Central Asia (ECA) region, Georgia has always been a strong reformer and we look forward to Georgia returning to its reform agenda notwithstanding the COVID short-term crisis. And we very much look forward to supporting areas that we see very important: digitalization (Georgia has made a great progress towards this end, as we are already supporting this goal with a project, which is very close to my heart - Log-in Georgia - which aims to boost the internet access in rural areas, as well as in urban areas. We consider high-speed broadband internet access to be very important, but we also believe that digitalization will broadly need to be amplified.
It is a pleasure to be back in Georgia. I was here last in 2015 and of course many things have changed since. Of course, we are thinking very much in this light of the past year - 2020 - a very difficult year for the whole world, including Georgia. I"d like to start by commending Georgia for the strong response to the pandemic early on. Many measures were taken to prepare for the pandemic from the health sector point of view, but also economically, because the support was given to households and families, as it was very helpful as a cushion for some of the impact. This crisis started as a health crisis, but quickly manifested into an economic crisis. The World Bank was really happy to be asked to come in early to support the country. Georgia was actually one of the first countries that asked for support - for an emergency facility - and we have just recently provided some additional resources to also help with the vaccination roll-out. I"d like to commend the Government for taking - what we call - a multipronged approach towards vaccines. We have found that the most successful vaccination roll-out strategies are those that have multiple vaccines, not relying on one channel or one avenue. Because the market is too tight and it is very important to look at the acquisition of vaccines from many different avenues. We look forward to helping in their deployment and roll-out. Country has a target of 60% vaccination by the end of this calendar year and we think it will be a very good level of coverage and we really hope that all people of Georgia will take advantage of these vaccines. In addition to medical and vaccine support, the World Bank has also supported the Government for micro, small and medium enterprises. This is an area where we see a lot of demand in the region from our clients, including Georgia. We are happy to provide that support. This segment of the economy is important to retain and create new jobs.
Georgia has an ambitious program and plan both in terms of SOE reform, as well as for the development of competitiveness and dynamic economy. She believes that the World Bank is keenly interested in environment and sustainable development, thereby noting that the response program implemented in Georgia was utterly commendable. IFI has been happily supporting the country and eager to do so in future as well”, - said Anna Bjerde.