Ambassador of the UAE on Relations, Development & Progress

Exclusive Interview

In recent years, Georgia has made major steps forward developing and enhancing relations with other countries around the globe. The launch of the Embassy of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in Tbilisi in 2018 is further proof of it.

GEORGIA TODAY grabbed a chance to meet with the first Ambassador of the UAE in Georgia, H.E. Essa Albasha Alnoaimi, and find out about the current collaboration between Georgia and the UAE, as well as future plans.

“Georgia is a country always looking to develop,” the Ambassador told us. “It has managed to succeed on a global scale and to strongly establish itself on the international arena in various spheres.”

The Ambassador positively evaluated the current collaboration between Georgia and the UAE and explained the reasons why.

“Even though the Embassy of the UAE was launched in Georgia just a year ago, the two states have led the cooperation in many sectors successfully and have achieved a number of fruitful outcomes. A major role in this process is definitely played by the governments of the countries, which are always involved in the processes, preparing various agreements, implementing flexible taxation systems and reciprocally encouraging each other to allocate investments in the right directions. There is a practice of high level visit exchange between the two countries; The visit of former President of Georgia H.H Giorgi Margvelashvili to the UAE in April 2018 gave a powerful impulse to the bilateral relationships followed by signing of the memorandum of the establishment of a joint political commission of UAE and Georgia during the meeting between the Prime Minister of Georgia H.H Mamuka Bakhtadze and the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of the UAE H.H Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan at UN General Assembly meeting in New York in September 2018. H.H Sheikh Al Nahyan also paid an official visit in Tbilisi back in 2017. As of recent an official delegation headed by the Minister of Climate Change and Environment H.H Dr. Thani bin Ahmed Al-Zeyoudi attended the inauguration ceremony of newly elected president of Georgia H.H Salome Zourabichvili. Additional to that many agreements and MOUs has been signed between both country in order to enhance friendly relationship based on the mutual interest.

Ambassador Essa Albasha Alnoaimi then shared his views regarding the further enhancement of friendly relations between Georgia and the UAE and the significance of 2019 for both countries.

“2019 is especially important for the development of bilateral cooperation between the UAE and Georgia, which is preparing for one of the most crucial and grandiose events in the region: ‘Expo 2020’,” stated the Ambassador.

Expo 2020 is one of the world’s biggest fairs, which is set to open on October 20, 2020 in Dubai and last for 173 days. Totally unique, the fair will offer an amazing ‘journey’ through 190 countries, including Georgia, with no borders, allowing guests to be able to discover and enjoy narratives from every corner of the globe.

“Expo 2020 with the motto “Connecting Minds, Creating the Future“ is the best platform to bring multiple countries together in one huge area, giving each of them a wonderful opportunity to display themselves and their products to the rest of the world in the very best way for six months, to attract more investors and to establish themselves on the international markets. I would also like to emphasize the fact that the upcoming event is not going to be focused on the commercial sector but will be fully dedicated to the cultural sphere. In this case, Georgia has incredibly high chances and potential to achieve success, as this is a country with an ancient history and outstanding culture. At the fair, it will be able to mesmerize visitors with traditional dances, arts and dishes of the stunning, colorful cuisine and, of course, mineral waters of local production in addition to industrial and agricultural products.

Georgia is successful in the tourism industry, and the Diplomat also focused on this fact.

“Georgia has put a lot into the development of its tourism industry in recent years and has seen positive results come from it. It hosted more than 8 million tourists last year, which is an unimaginably high figure for such a small country. Expo 2020 will contribute to augmenting this number and increasing the desire of travelers to visit Georgia, as the fair is expected to see approximately 30 million visitors.”

We asked the Ambassador to tell us more about the economic cooperation between the UAE and Georgia.

“Enhancing the economic collaboration is paramount for the UAE, as well as for Georgia. The UAE represents a country which has already allocated investments amounting to more than $1 Billion in Georgia, which was certainly catalyzed by the brotherly relations of the two governments and their mutual aspirations for progress. The implemented investments include the launch of multiple hotel and shopping center chains, as well as the support of the retail business and real estate. There is a room of tremendous investment possibilities in other segments, such as export of the mineral water, as there is the incredible multiplicity of water resources in Georgia.”

The Diplomat also shared his views regarding the strategic location of Georgia and the UAE.

“Both the UAE and Georgia benefit from a strategic location which is one of the best factors for development. The UAE, which has developed infrastructure of Airports and Sea ports with high security measures, is located in the crossline of Asia and Africa and is few hours distance from the South of Europe. As for Georgia, due its location, it is the channel through Europe and Asia and its sea ports serve the whole Caucasus region. These factors make the country attractive for investors and tourists.

The UAE is the second strongest economy in the region and one of the leading economies in the world, which is the result of knowledge and innovation. Therefore, it is considered one of the main touristic and shopping centers of the world.

There is big tourist movement between Georgia and the UAE. 15,000 Emirati visitors are hosted by Georgia annually, while there is a tourist inflow of 6,000 from Georgia to the UAE in the same period of time. Therefore, the expansion of the transport network is one of the important aspects on our agenda, with negotiations well underway between the two governments. As the fact, Georgia has the most frequent air connection with the UAE, comparing to countries in the region. More precisely, there are 25 flights from Tbilisi and Batumi to the UAE International Airports per week. This number is increasing seasonally up to 40 flights weekly.”

The Ambassador of the UAE spoke with great enthusiasm about Georgia’s humanitarian resources and projects in the education sector.

“It would be unfair to undermine the human resources in Georgia, a dominant catalyst for the country’s prosperity and triumph. I strongly believe that the citizens of Georgia are very skillful and have a vast number of capabilities. It is vital not to lose such a unique chance and to invest more in boosting human capital countrywide. It is important to improve the qualifications of Georgians in different spheres, which as a result will contribute to the sustainable development of the country in general, and its economy in particular.

“The UAE cares a lot about the education sector. There are the brunches of the world’s oldest universities such as Sorbonne University, American and Australian Universities. As the fact, these universities are among top rated universities in the world.

Moreover, government is supporting the development of medical service. There are many medical recreations resorts in the UAE, for instance, Cleveland Clinic in Abu Dhabi and Dubai Healthcare City. Our government is in close partnership with UNICEF and allocates major investments to enable all minors and adolescents to have access to education.

The foreign aid of the UAE government has reached $32 Billion during 2013-2017. The main purpose of the foreign aim was to support millions of refugees from different continents who were the victims of the war or natural catastrophe. Moreover, the UAE government on the regular basis corporates with UNDP and FAO”

H.E. Essa Albasha Alnoaimi concluded the interview with us by focusing on the high principles of the UAE.

“It is important to underline that the UAE follows the concept of tolerance and respect for each individual, regardless of their ethnicity or religious beliefs. 2019 is ‘The Year of Tolerance’ in the UAE. In addition, I am proud to say that on February 4, 2019, His Holiness Pope Francis and Grand Imam Al-Azhar Ahmed Mohammed Al-Tayeb launched the Human Fraternity Document, dedicated to the establishment of unity, peace and harmony among different nations. Georgia shares our values. That is why I am strongly convinced that our countries will manage to continue friendly and balanced collaboration and achieve success in the future.”

By Ketevan Kvaratskheliya

15 April 2019 17:36