Georgian PM Delivers Speech at Davos Economic Forum 2017 Session

DAVOS, Switzerland – Georgian Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili took part today in the Silk Road Effect Session of the World Economic Forum 2017 in Davos, Switzerland.

The forum is underway from January 17 to January 20 and has gathered political leaders, economists and Heads of almost 1000 large companies and organizations to discuss global, regional and economic agendas for 2017.

The top issue of the session was the impact of political and infrastructural investments associated with the New Silk Road project on economic growth and harmonization between Europe and Asia.

The Prime Minister emphasized the importance of Georgia's engagement in the New Silk Road’s One Belt-One Road initiative, which has received special attention from the President of China.

"It is a network of different alternatives, and each of them is important for creating economic growth and a healthy economy across Eurasia. This is about competition and cooperation at the same time,” Kvirikashvili said of the initiative.

He pointed out that Georgia has already signed cooperation agreements with its partner states, adding that the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway project is nearing completion, and will soon be an essential link in the New Silk Road network.

The Anaklia Deep Sea Port project was also discussed.

“We are launching the construction of one of the largest ports on the Black Sea,” he said. “We already have a winning consortium, a Georgian-American consortium, and they are looking for port operators in the region.”

The PM also spoke about cooperation and free trade negotiations with China.

“We will sign the free trade agreement in the nearest future. In a nutshell, the Silk Road is about borderless cooperation,” he added.

After the session, Georgia’s Kvirikashvili met Anders Runevad, the executive director of global energy company Vestas Wind Systems.

Climate change and energy security issues were the main topic of their discussion, with hydro-electric and other renewable energy opportunities taking center stage.

The Georgian delegation also had a meeting with Robert Dudley, CEO of British Petroleum (BP), one of the world's energy giants.

The South Caucasus Pipeline expansion, a part of the second phase of the Shah Deniz project,  played a central role in that discussion. The project involves expanding pipeline capacity to allow a further 16 billion cubic meters of gas per year. The gas transported through the South Caucasus Pipeline is destined for Europe. 

By Thea Morrison

19 January 2017 20:25