Georgia in Davos, Part 1: A Summary

The Prime Minister of Georgia, Giorgi Gakharia, is participating in the World Economic Forum held in Davos, Switzerland, from January 21 to 24. The Georgian delegation, led by Gakharia, consists of Finance Minister Ivane Machavariani, the Prime Minister's Advisor on International Affairs Irakli Chikovani, and Economic Advisor Beka Liluashvili.

The Georgian delegation's working visit includes meetings with heads of international financial institutions and the world's largest companies, including Siemens Energy, Camille Bloch, Coca-cola, and OneWeb.

GEORGIA TODAY took a look at some of the highlights to date.


PM Gakharia attended the presentation of young Georgian startuppers in Davos, congratulating them on their success and emphasizing the importance of entrepreneurial spirit for Georgia.

Within the Davos World Economic Forum, Georgian start-up 'Vault Wines' presented the Wine Authentication and Winemaking Assets Management program, which won the incubator contest of leading Swiss Venture Capital company CVVC in 2019, selected from among 1000 competitors.

The CV Labs incubation contest has the most desirable grant for start-ups in Europe, offering winners up to $125.000 in funding.

Developed by over 70 highly-qualified experts over more than 10 weeks, the Vault Wines’ program focuses on the wine e-commerce business and block chain-based management of wine authentication and winemaking assets. The Georgian startup already has Swiss and Austrian contractors providing it with authentic holograms and QR codes.

Editor-in-Chief of Entrepreneur Georgia, George Sharashidze, attended the event and prepared an interview with the successful startuppers. He also met Olaf Hannemann, Co-Founder, CIO, of Crypto Valley Venture Capital, an investor in 'Vault Wines', at the Davos Crypto Valley Week 'Cool Kids on the Blockchain.'

“It was a very special and important day in Davos today,” Sharashidze noted. “Not only for the Georgian startup, Vault Wines, which was in the top 10 among 800 applicants and was selected by the largest Swiss foundation Crypto Valley Venture Capital for creation of blockchain-based innovative technology, but for the entire Georgian startup ecosystem. It is an example that Georgian startups can also break boundaries, get investment and solve global problems”.

“It is to be welcomed that the Georgian Prime Minister Giorgi Gakharia personally attended their presentation held before investors, which I would like to see become a signal of the strengthening of the Georgian state's support to the startup ecosystem. Soon, 'Entrepreneur' will be offering an exclusive interview with the young Georgian entrepreneurs,” the Editor of Entrepreneur Georgia noted.


PM Gakharia held a meeting with the First Vice President of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), Jürgen Rigterink, who highlighted Georgia’s success.

“Georgia is the most successful among the countries undergoing a second wave of economic reforms. We welcome the reforms and their consistency,” he said.

The Georgian PM, on his side, noted that the EBRD is a strong supporter of Georgia's development agenda and the government appreciates the fruitful cooperation.

The sides additionally noted that Georgia is one of the largest beneficiaries of the EBRD's investments and its diversified portfolio.

The meeting highlighted the importance of ensuring the inclusiveness of the economy and increasing access to finance for the private sector.

“I am very proud that 2019 was the best year for us in terms of investment results in Georgia,” Rigterink noted. “We have invested almost $300 million over the years, and we have a total credit portfolio of nearly one billion. Thus, we are in a unique position and 70% of our investments are in the private sector. Cooperation with Georgia is obviously very good. We like the reforms and their continuous progress”.

The Prime Minister of Georgia met with the Vice President of the Coca-Cola company, Michael Goltzman, who told the press that “Coca-Cola is interested in expanding production in the region and continues to invest in Georgia”.

Goltzman officially invited the Head of Government of Georgia to the opening ceremony of the company's new production line in Georgia.

“The investment environment in Georgia is a major motivator for setting up an additional production line and expanding business in the country. We are ready to continue our cooperation with the Government of Georgia in the development of a circular economy. The Coca-Cola system considers that its business in Georgia is very important. We are proud of the more than 200 people we have employed. We will continue to invest in Georgia. During our meeting with the Prime Minister, we talked about business expansion and the increase of investments, as well as new initiatives for sustainable development," the Coca-Cola Vice President noted.

The Georgian delegation’s meeting with OneWeb also took place on the first day of the conference. OneWeb, formerly known as WorldVu Satellites, is a global communications company founded by Greg Wyler. The leading company in the industry, it has noted its interested in partnership with Georgia, with the aim of covering the whole Caucasus region from the country.

The parties discussed the possibilities of partnership during the first phase of OneWeb’s project, which aims to establish special stations in different countries to ensure fast and affordable connection to the internet for all.

The company expressed their readiness to collaborate with the Georgian government more actively.

OneWeb has already partnered up with private sector representatives in Georgia, Silknet, one of the largest telecom operators in the country, seeing the chairman of Silknet’s supervisory board, George Ramishvili, and OneWeb’s CEO, Adrian Steckel, sign a partnership agreement to cover Georgia and the Caucasus region.

OneWeb’s distribution partnership with Silknet will provide local telecom operators with widespread high-speed broadband internet coverage in Georgia which will include remote and inaccessible areas.

Adrian Steckel, CEO of OneWeb, said he is pleased to be collaborating with Georgia.

“In a world where businesses need to be constantly connected to the Cloud, but not everywhere has suitable geographies or can afford expensive fibre connectivity, OneWeb’s transformative communications network will make it possible to access high-speed internet anywhere on Earth. I am very pleased to be taking the first and important step to partner with Silknet. OneWeb will help to bridge the digital divide in Georgia and across the Caucasus region,” he said.


PM Gakharia also met foreign state officials from Latvia, Croatia, Slovenia, Armenia and Azerbaijan during the first days of the 2020 World Economic Forum.

During his meeting with President of Latvia, Egils Levits, the sides spoke of relations between the two countries and future opportunities for cooperation.

The Georgian PM also met with Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic, where he discussed cooperation between their two countries in the process of European integration, as well as economic relations.

Gakharia met Slovenian Prime Minister Marjan Sarec and thanked him for his support for Georgia's sovereignty and territorial integrity, before going on to talk about their economic relations and expressing willingness to further develop trade relations and strengthen Georgian-Slovenian business contacts.

On the second day of the forum, the Prime Minister met with President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev. Discussions there focused on the strategic partnership between Georgia and Azerbaijan and transport and energy projects of regional importance jointly implemented by the two countries, as well as issues on the agenda of bilateral relations.

The Prime Minister and Azerbaijani President agreed that intensive communication will continue between them in future.

The same day, the Georgian PM met with Italian business executive and the CEO and General Manager of Enel Group, Francesco Starace.

The Head of Government provided Starace with detailed information on Georgia's favorable investment environment and the opportunities offered to investors, including in the energy sector.

At the meeting, the sides emphasized the potential for the creation of new hydro, wind and solar power plants in Georgia and the need to develop additional generation sources in parallel with economic growth.

As a result of the meeting, it was decided that global leader, multi-national energy company ENEL will send a group to Georgia to examine the energy sector investment opportunities in the country.

The 2020 World Economic Forum was launched on January 21. Within the framework of the annual meeting, the world's leaders, business executives, and academics are discussing problems, achievements and future plans in the world of economy. The main topic of the 2020 World Economic Forum (WEF) is climate change. This year marks the 50th anniversary of the World Economic Forum, and around 600 public speakers are expected at the four-day event.


As part of his working visit to Davos, Georgian Prime Minister Giorgi Gakharia participated in a panel discussion along with the representatives of the European Commission, the main topic of which was the opportunities that Europe and the EU create for the Eastern Partnersip (EaP) countries.

While delivering his speech, the Head of the Georgian government noted that Georgia's European and Euro-Atlantic aspiration is a fact and the choice was made by the population of the country.

He highlighted the tangible results of the last five years in Georgia's relationship with the EU, including a deep and comprehensive free trade area free trade agreement with the EU, and visa-free travel.

However, he added that there are challenges in the fields of security and economy.

In his speech, the Prime Minister spoke about the importance of security in the Black Sea region and cooperation in this regard. Gakharia also noted that Georgia needs more cooperation with the European Union.

He added that EU and NATO membership is the only guarantee for Georgia's security.

He then highlighted the daily challenges Georgian citizens face regarding the occupation.

“20% of our country is occupied by Russia. This is a daily challenge for our citizens. It is well known that the Georgian government took a commitment to resolve the conflict peacefully. We promised this to our friends. In this circumstance, deepening strategic partnerships with our friends – the United States and the European Union – is the only way to survive in a region full of these challenges,” he said.

23 January 2020 16:02