On her first official visit to Georgia, Anna Bjerde, World Bank Vice President for Europe and Central Asia, acknowledged Georgia’s strong record of reforms and emphasized support for maintaining reform momentum while pursuing a green, resilient and inclusive recovery from the pandemic.
During meetings with the Prime Minister of Georgia, Irakli Garibashvili, and other key government officials, Ms. Bjerde reaffirmed that the World Bank will continue to work closely with government and development partners to drive forward the country’s climate and green growth agenda.
Climate change and green growth were also discussed during Ms. Bjerde’s meetings with representatives of Georgia’s civil society, academia and the private sector, as well as counterparts from international financial institutions and partner development organizations.
“Minimizing pollution, improving air quality, and preserving Georgia’s natural resources are issues we all care about. The effects of climate change in Georgia, like elsewhere, will disproportionately impact the poor, many of whom directly depend on the land for their survival and livelihood,” said Anna Bjerde. “To address these challenges, Georgia can build on its impressive track record of reforms and reposition itself along a Green, Resilient and Inclusive development path. As a steadfast partner, the World Bank will support Georgia in its efforts to achieve a green transition.”
In her meetings with government counterparts, Ms. Bjerde reiterated the World Bank’s readiness to aid Georgia’s important journey of economic reforms, aimed at enhancing competitiveness, building human capital, strengthening institutions and critical infrastructure, boosting innovation and digital transformation, and ensuring resilience and green growth.
Throughout her visit, Ms. Bjerde highlighted the World Bank’s critical role in Georgia’s COVID-19 response, as one of the first international financial institutions to extend support to the country at the onset of the pandemic. The World Bank rapidly mobilized a robust financial support package for Georgia, to help the Government mitigate the health and social impacts of COVID-19, and through the recent Additional Financing it has also pledged support for the Government’s Vaccination Plan.
The World Bank has also provided assistance to over 6,000 micro, small and medium-sized enterprises that were hit hardest by the pandemic, and has extended direct budget support to help the government reinforce macroeconomic stability and bolster social protection and other measures designed to help the citizens of Georgia.
Amidst a pandemic that has reinforced the critical importance of digital technologies and connectivity, the World Bank introduced the Log-In Georgia Project designed to support Georgia’s National Broadband Development Strategy for 2020-25. The project will connect up to 500,000 people in over 1,000 villages in mountainous and remote regions of Georgia to high-speed, affordable broadband internet. This vital project will promote digital financial services, e-commerce, e-government services, remote learning, telemedicine, and will support the overall digital transition of the country.
Ms. Bjerde, a Swedish national, became the World Bank Vice President for Europe and Central Asia on May 1st, 2020. In this position, Anna leads the Bank’s strategic, analytical, operational and knowledge work in the region.