A group of international partners, including the EU, the IMF, the World Bank, and other prominent financial institutions, have published an open letter pledging financial relief package for Georgia to help with economic assistance and recovery amid the coronavirus pandemic and “associated economic crisis.”
Among the cosignatories of the letter released on April 9 are Selim Cakir, Resident Representative for Georgia of the International Monetary Fund; Diégo Colas, Ambassador of the French Republic to Georgia; Maciej Czura, Head of Regional Representation for the South Caucasus of the European Investment Bank; Catarina Bjorlin Hansen, Regional Director for the Caucasus region of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development; Ambassador Carl Hartzell, Head of the Delegation of the European Union to Georgia; Hubert Knirsch, Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany to Georgia; Sebastian Molineus, Regional Director for the South Caucasus of the World Bank; Shane Rosenthal, Country Director for Georgia of the Asian Development Bank; and Supee Teravaninthorn, Director General of the Investment Operations Department at the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank.
“As an open economy that relies on tourism, trade, and remittances, Georgia is particularly vulnerable to this pandemic,” reads the joint letter. The cosignatories commend efforts made by Georgian authorities, public and private sector stakeholders, and the Georgian people to tackle the global calamity “in an extraordinarily resilient and cooperative manners.” Authors of the letter noted that support schemes have been put in place for business and vulnerable groups, and that fiscal prudence and piling-up of reserves in recent years have rendered the Georgian economy “better prepared” to address the economic fallout of the crisis. “Combined with a legacy of structural reform achievements, a strong response without jeopardizing the country’s future is now possible,” mentions the group.
However, given the “unprecedented nature” of the crisis, Georgia’s international partners recognize a pressing need to “properly equip” the health sector to overcome the upcoming challenges, and to support vulnerable businesses and household to “withstand the shock,” while investing in vital infrastructure, “bridging the gap in country’s finances, and preparing for recovery towards economic resilience.”
Concluding the letter, cosignatories note that “many other development partners are similarly preparing support packages for the people of Georgia.”
Several of the cosignatories have already pledged of delivered support to Georgia to handle coronavirus crisis. On April 8, the European Commission allocated funds worth up to EUR 183 million to help Georgia meet “the most immediate needs” amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The European Commission earmarked existing fiscal funds worth EUR 962 million to help Eastern Partnership countries, including Georgia, mitigate the socio-economic impact of the public health crisis.
On April 6, The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), a London-based international financial institution, announced about stepping up cooperation with Georgia as the country continues to tackle negative economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic. The EBRD committed funds worth EUR 1 billion through the emergency Solidarity Package to assist its clients across 38 economies, including in Georgia.
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