Georgia – Land of Golden Fleece

Georgia is considered to be one of the oldest homelands of metal processing in the world. From the Copper-Bronze Age, when man acquired metal, it became the origin of the jewelry, especially the noble metals (gold and silver).

Examples of works by early Georgian goldsmiths were discovered during archaeological excavations, dating back to the 8th-6th centuries BCE, found on the territory of the ancient kingdom of Colkheti, known as Colchis. Burial mounds of ancient nobles on the sites of Vani and Sairkhe explain why Colkheti was referred to as Golden Fleece land, along with Mikena, Sardi, and Babylon in Greco-Roman sources.

Nowadays, Georgia is still rich in gold and this fact is reflected in high volume of export. During the last 7 years, Georgia has exported gold of USD 639, 923 500 64 and in 2017 price of exported gold was USD 64,656 600. This product is the 10th in the top export list of Georgia.

There are the couple of ores in the country, where gold can be mined: Madneuili, small town Kazreti and Ieli village Svaneti.  Rich Metals Group (RMG) is the one of the largest enterprises in Georgia and Caucasus region, engaged in mining activities in Bolnisi region, Georgia. JSC RMG Copper and LTD RMG Gold produce the copper concentrate and gold Dore alloys (half-fabricates) by mining and processing copper and gold containing ores. Currently, about 3000 employees work at the company, 90% of whom are local residents. 

Chart illustrates rates of exported gold (unwrought, semi-manufactured, in powder form) from Georgia, between 2010 and 2017. Units are presented in thousand US dollars.

The rate of export fluctuated, where the highest rates are shown in 2010 (about 117,647). In this period, gold export rates fell dramatically, up to 39,334. In 2015, rates improved slightly and reached almost 81,083. Unfortunately, in 2017 gold export decreased up to 700,771.

Overall gold import rate reached the peak in 2012 at a level 2,285, which fell dramatically in 2013(2.6) and remained stable until 2017 (24.1).


Construction sector of Georgia is growing rapidly

Construction & Building is the global business of creating physical infrastructure such as residential buildings, highways, bridges, factories, airports and power plants. Normally the job is managed by the construction manager, supervised by the project manager, design engineer or project architect.

While these people work in offices, every construction project requires a large number of laborers, carpenters, and other skilled tradesmen to complete the physical task of construction.

In Georgia, in the first quarter of 2017 there were 58416 employees in construction business, followed by second and third quarter 67351 and 71394. From the 2011 to 2017 years there isn’t much difference in employment in construction business. Tbilisi is the leader city in a construction employment than other cities. In 2016, 59.6% of employed people were in Tbilisi. There were 814 employed persons, representing 1.1% of all employed people in Georgia.

But there is too much difference in compensation figures of employees. From 2008 index of reimbursement has permanently went up. For example, in 2008, 2009 and 2010 the average reimbursement was GEL 634, but in the first and second quarter of 2017 it was GEL 1,951 – 2,011.

According to the National Statistics office of Georgia Business construction turnover past few years isn’t stabilized. It has raised rapidly. In 2013, 2014 and 2015 turnover was 3,244, 3,807, and 5,287 million GEL.


Overall, investment rates have fluctuated during the time depicted on the graph. It raised in 2014 and in contrast, lowest rates of investment were in 2009 and 2011.

Its important to mention that in 2017, 10 495 construction permits have been issued throughout Georgia.

As for the completed constructions in 2017, 2,2 million square meters of space has been completed. The number of completed constructions increased by 1.3% in 2017.

In the first three quarters of 2017, construction sector investment was USD 241 million. And in 2017 the figure was 86% more than in 2016.


Georgian Hazelnuts future and its global market share

Protein rich hazelnuts are sweet tree nuts that grow in temperate zones and its mainly cultivated in Turkey, which produces about 60% of the world’s total production. Hazelnuts are used in products like, hazelnut oil, chocolate bars, spreads and coffee.

Georgia is considered as one of the largest suppliers of hazelnuts in the European market. In 2009-2012 Georgia was fifth among the exporting countries with the exception of the hazelnut export to the EU. Although Georgia is considered one of the biggest suppliers of nuts in the European countries, it does not take part in determining the price of the market.

According to FAO’s 2016 report, Georgia is the fourth in the world’s hazelnuts production share.

  1. Turkey – 59.9 %
  2. Italy – 12.2 %
  3. USA – 4.4 %
  4. Georgia – 4.3 %
  5. Azerbaijan – 3.4 %

Samegrelo-Zemo Svaneti, Guria and Imereti are the largest producers of nuts at the country level. These regions produce more than 80% of the hazelnuts in Georgia.

However, this statistic may soon change. Last year in Samegrelo, farmers weren’t able to harvest even half of what they got in 2016 and the prognoses are disappointing.

According to the National Statistics Office of Georgia, the income received from the hazelnut in three months amounted to $ 17 million, while last year it was $ 32 million. The price of hazelnut in Georgia is low and varies from 3 to 5 GEL. In the world market, its price is 6 dollars.

The National Food Agency issued a statement that the damage inflicted by the pesticide amounted to GEL 63 million. That’s why the government started a special program against Stink bug this year.

In June 2017 , hazelnut plantations were given a chemical treatment against the pests. In total, an area spanning 351 villages in the regions of Samegrelo, Guria and Adjara, 53,000 hectares of land was treated, including local plots of land of residents and corn fields. Local residents were given 230,000 liters of treatment and 21,000 traps for the insects.

“The first step is to improve the quality. The main reason for export reduction is the low quality and productivity.” Said Alexander Motserelia, Chairman of the “Nut Production and Exporters Association”.

Horizontal bar chart shows statistics of exported nuts from Georgia, between 2009 and 2017 (Jan-Nov). Export value is shown in millions of USD.

Overall, export rates have fluctuated during the time depicted on the graph. It peaked in 2014 and the lowest rates of exported nuts from Georgia were in 2009 and 2010.


Georgian tea – with its old history & new investment opportunities

Tea is the oldest Chinese culture, known in 1753 by a well-known Swedish botanist Carl Lynne, first described as a scientific name (Thea). Tea is one of the best soft and most common flavors in the world and has many medicinal properties.

The Georgian tea has a 170 years of history, starting in 19th century, when the first bushes appeared in Guria. In 1864, Mikhail Eristavi first presented a sample of Georgian tea at the Russian International Exhibition in Saint Petersburg, which laid the foundation for Georgian tea worldwide.

Later in 1920s, Georgian tea-growing was recognized as a special area of economic activity. The Tea and Subtropical Cultures Research Institute was founded in Anaseuli, West Georgia, where new varieties of the tea were cultivated, focusing on tender shoots and special aromas. In 20th century, Georgia drastically increased the volume of the tea production and it was a main supplier of the Soviet Union for decades.

Nowadays, Georgia is exporting its tea to the world. According to the official information, tea plantations are still around 19 K ha, out of which 2.4 K are exploited and the rest are covered with thorn birds.

“A couple of years ago, Georgian Tea Program was launched by Georgian Government which aimed to restore tea plantations. Approximately, one thousand hectares have been rehabilitated under the program. The state help for Georgian tea and support for agricultural cooperatives will be continued, tea leaf processing technologies will be further improved and developed that will later strengthen its positions in the international tea markets and increase its export”, said Levan Davitashvili, the Minister of Agriculture of Georgia.

The main exporting country of Georgian tea is Mongolia, where 435 tons (286 900) Georgian tea has passed till 2015.

The chart gives information about Georgia tea export statistics. It is clear from the chart that 2011 and 2012 was the best years for Georgia for last 7 years.

The value of USD 15.4 million tea was Exported and USD 45.2 million was imported from 2010 to 2016.

In addition, Georgia is starting to export 2 kinds of tea species to China, which was imported from China to Georgia many years ago. The reason is that this types of tea bushes no longer exist in China. However, China is also planning to cultivate tea plantations in Georgia, as they are strongly contented with quality of Georgian tea.


Georgian Mandarin export insights

Georgian mandarin is cultivated in Western regions of Georgia, in Adjara, Guria, Samegrelo and Apkhazia.

Russia and Ukraine are leading Georgian mandarin export countries, followed by Armenia, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Poland, Qatar and Belarus. In 2017 Georgia has exported 21 000 tons of standard mandarin to these countries. In addition, 7 700 tons of non-standard mandarins have already been processed in Georgia.

In 2016 The Ministry of Agriculture of Adjara payed 10 tetri in subsistence farms in 1 kg of non-standard mandarin, which remained in 2017 also.

Additionally, the export of citrus has significantly reduced in Russia from the de facto republic of Abkhazia. The reason was the harmful insect Asian Stink Bug and the damage has deteriorated the quantity and quality of the crop. In 2016, while Apkhazia exported about 60-68 tons daily to Russia, unfortunately this figure decreased to 25 tons in 2017.

Adjara situation was different. Avtandil Meskhidze, Agriculture Minister of Adjara said that Asian stink bug made minimal damage to mandarin in this region.

The 4 million GEL is envisaged in the 2017 state budget to fight against the Asian Stink Bug spread across Georgia. According to the Deputy Minister of Agriculture, Giorgi Khanishvili, the Ministry of Agriculture of Georgia plans to attract major funds through donor organizations.

110 thousand hectares of area, homestead plots and large arrays were treated in the municipalities of Samegrelo, Guria, Imereti and Adjara regions, where the invasive pest is widely spread, treatment activities were implemented through using special equipment, machinery, tractor aggregates and aviation under the frame of the state program – to fight against the Asian stink bug.

Construction of Anaklia Deep Sea Port Has Been Launched

The Port of Anaklia is located on the shortest route from China to Europe, a route that has become a major focal point of Chinese investments in infrastructure. Cargos will travel fast between Chinese and European Markets by Port of Anaklia.

586 million USD will be invested in the first phase of construction and The total volume of investments is USD 2.5 billion. The Consortium was founded by TBC Holding and the famous American development company Conti International LLC, which implemented projects in infrastructure and capital construction.

The first step of construction will be finished in 2020 December. And they are planning to receive first cargo in 2 years from starting construction. At the end of the construction they are aiming to handle 100 million tons of cargo per year.

In 24th December, Prime Minister of Georgia, Giorgi Kvirikashvili with other members of cabinet went to Anaklia to join works.

“This is the place where Europe meets Asia, Georgia is being represented as a country of international cooperation, stability and peace. I want to once again congratulate you, the entirety of Georgia and all our friends, because this place today lays the foundation of a new Georgia”, Prime Minister of Georgia, Giorgi Kvirikashvili said.

In addition to the Anaklia Port, JSC Anaklia City (principle shareholders are TBC Holding and Conti International) is developing a Special Economic Zone on about 2,000 hectares. The new Special Economic Zone will complement the Port’s activity and transform the Anaklia project into development of a brand new city-scale economic driver for Georgia, regional business and trade hub on a crossroad of Europe and Asia.

Deep Sea Port Technical/Engineering Information

52-Year Concession

Growth to 100MM Ton

Phase 1: 7MM Ton Capacity Port – Construction complete within 3 years of groundbreaking

Creation of a port capable of accommodating Post-Panamax Size Ships


ADC has completed a concept design for Anaklia Port and Free Industrial Zone. The design will bypass competing ports in the region with superior connections to existing rail and road infrastructure, state-of-the-art equipment and communications infrastructure, berthing for 10,000 TEU vessels, flexibility for multiple cargo and vessel types, and eco-friendly practices. Capital expenditures for each phase of the Port have been estimated according to the Conceptual Design.


Major port design aspects are the following:

Optimized land footprint (less than 40% of total 1,000 hectares).

Flexibility for multiple cargo and vessel types (Panamax, Handymax, Aframax).

Maximized facility throughput (intermodal, modern STS cranes, automation).

Minimized waterfront (dry bulk and liquid piers on breakwater).

Eco-friendly sustainable practices.

Read more information about the port:




Over the last decade electricity consumption in Georgia has grown largely in line with real GDP growth rate and reached 10.4 TWh in 2015. If This trend continues, in 10 years Georgia will have significant generation deficit. Between 2004 and 2010 as a result of renewal and rehabilitation of existing HPPs generation also grew significantly.

Since 2012 twelve new HHPs have been commissioned, but as consumption continues to rise not only in Georgia, but in neighboring countries as well, there is great opportunity to develop new power plants to keep up with this ever increasing demand. According to estimates, only 25% of Georgia’s energy potential is exploited. Meaning that there is huge untapped potential, mostly from hydro resources, but also from wind, solar, geothermal and biomass sources as well.

In 2015, Georgia’s electricity generation reached 10.8 TWh, of which hydropower accounted for 78% (8.5 tWh). Because of seasonality of electricity generation, Georgia had to import 0.7 TWh during winter months, but still managed to export 0.7 TWh to its neighbors during summer.

Currently, 17 hydropower plants are under construction, seven of them, with total installed capacity of around 300 MW, started in 2015. By the end of 2015, a 230 MW gas-fired combined cycle Thermal Power Plant was commissioned and construction of first Wind Power Plant in Georgia has started. In 2016, construction works on 14 new HPP’s will commence. Georgian Energy sector is developing rapidly and with all the competitive advantages that country offers, it’s not too hard to see why.

Starting from 2004 generation increased significantly, resulting in Georgia becoming net exporter of electricity between from 2007 and 2011.  With the completion of the HPPs currently under construction, exports are expected to grow in the summer period, however during winter Georgia continues to use expensive electricity form TPP’s and import. Without additional Power Plants Georgia’s generation capacity will not be sufficient to meet domestic demand during winter and in the long term, as per capita electricity consumption continues to grow, estimated deficit by 2025 is more than 5 TWh.

Starting from 2008 Georgia has liberalized and deregulated energy market. Renewable projects are based on Build-Own-Operate (BOO) principle.  There are no tariffs set for newly built HPPs, investor is free to choose market and negotiate price. No fee is required for the connection to transmission grid. No license is required for export and new HPPs have priority access to the capacity on the new interconnection to Turkey. Generation and export activities are exempted from VAT tax.

With abundance of high mountains and fast-flowing rivers, Georgia has competitive advantage over neighbors in terms of generation cost. Most attractive export market is Turkey who ranks first in Europe and second in the world after China in terms of electricity demand increase. Turkey experiences electricity shortage during summer months, while Georgia has generation surplus. Over the last decade, Turkey’s electricity consumption in 2014 was 257.22 TWh, with generation deficit of 5.2 TWh. The Turkish Electricity Transmission Company (TEIAS) forecasts that Turkish electricity consumption will grow by 5.5% on average annually. Almost 80% of electricity was generated by gas and coal-fired power plants. So, even with lower oil and gas prices, it’s expected that electricity prices in Turkey will remain high.

Georgia has well developed transmission grid infrastructure. Whole territory of Georgia is covered with over 3,000 km high, medium and low voltage lines and about 100 substations. In 2013, a new 400 KV line with HVDC back-to-back substation connecting Georgia with Turkey was commissioned, adding to already significant transmission capacity with all neighboring countries. By the end of 2015, cross border transmission capacity will reach 5,000 MW.

In 2015, Network Development Plan was approved by the government, which will ensure continuous improvement of grid and seamless integration new generation capacities.


Georgia has more than 20 000 rivers and almost 300 of them provide excellent opportunity for hydropower generation.  Georgia is one of the top countries in terms of water resources per capita and it’s logical that today 78% of total electricity is generated from Hydro Power Plants (8.5 TWh). Despite this, there still is vast untapped potential, as only 25% of economically feasible Hydro potential is being exploited today. Georgia could produce additional 25 TWh electricity annually with hydro resources alone. There are over 60 potential HPP projects identified by the Ministry of Energy, the list is public and can be seen on the website of Ministry of Energy.

All new hydro power plants are totally deregulated, license for export are not required and have priority access to new transmission line to Turkey. Investor is free to choose the market and negotiate the price. HPPs with installed capacity of 13MW or less don’t require generation license and HPPs that have installed capacity of 2 MW or less don’t need environmental impact permit either. They can sell generated electricity to direct consumers without third party.

Identified projects are only small drop of water in the ocean of Georgia’s Hydro Potential. Any investor is welcome to reveal new opportunities by themselves and start developing power plants.


TPPs are source of guaranteed electricity supply. Usually, TPPs are in standby mode, ready to supply the system when needed, typically in winter period. Last year TPPs accounted for 21.9% of total generation, meaning they are vital to Georgia’s electrical stability. Because of this, even when in standby mode TPPs receive payment to cover maintenance and fixed costs. Tariffs are set by regulator.

By the end of 2015, new 230 MW combined cycle TPP, first of its kind in Georgia, was commissioned. Project was developed by Georgian Partnership Fund and will was built by Turkish company Çalik Enerji.

Currently, Georgian Energy Development Fund is working on another 250 MW CCGT project. Power plant will be 250 MW and will be commissioned in 2019, with another 250 MW is being considered for the future.


Georgia offers very attractive opportunity for investments in wind power plants, with estimated potential of 4 TWh. Wind power offers great addition to hydro power generations, as wind generation is higher during winter, when hydro generation is lower. According to scientists, the share of the wind power stations in the world power engineering will be 10% by the year 2025.

In 2007 the MOU was signed between the Government of Georgia and the Georgian American company “Karidani” on the construction of 24 MW wind plant in the suburbs of Tbilisi Sea. The cost of the project is around 24 million dollars.

Currently, pilot 20 MW project, Kartli 1, is under construction. Developed by Georgian Energy Development Fund, this projects is one of the most efficient wind plants in the world and became first government project in the region which received EBRD project funding without additional guaranties from the state. Project capacity can be expanded up to 150 MW in the future. Two more wind projects are under development with many more under consideration.

By the natural energetic potential, the territory of Georgia is divided into four zones:
1. A high speed zone – mountainous regions of Southern Georgia, Kakhaberi Vake and the central region of Kolkheti Valley. The working duration period is more than 5000 hours per year.
2. A partly high speed and low speed zone – the Mtkvari gorge from Mtskheta to Rustavi, Southern part of Javakheti, Black Sea line from Poti to Kakhaber Vake. The working duration is 4500-5000 hours per year.
3. A low speed mountain range effective exploitation zone – Gagra mountain range, Kolkheti Valley and Eastern Georgian lowlands.
4. A low speed mountain range limited exploitation zone – Iori Zegani and Sioni water reservoir.
The rest of the mountain ranges on the territory of Georgia can not be used for exploitation by wind power stations.
The researches conducted on the territory of Georgia showed some suitable areas for the construction of wind power stations.



Due to the geographical location of Georgia, the emanation of the Sun is rather high. In most regions of the country there are 250-280 sunny days in a year, which is approximately 1,900-2,200 hours per year. The annual radiation of the Sun varies depending on regions from 1,250-1,800 KWh/m2, while the average sun radiation equals 4.2 KWh/m2. The total annual solar energy potential in Georgia is   estimated to be 108 MW, which is equivalent to 34,000 tons of standard fuel.



According to modern hydro-geological studies, the Georgian geothermal water reserves reach 250 mln mper year. At present there are more than 250 natural and artificial water channels where the average temperature of geothermal waters ranges from 30 to 110 C, while the total debit is 160,000 m3 per day and night. These water channels are grouped into 44 deposits. Within the territory of 3,500 km there are bore-hole wells with the water temperature of 85 C and more. Up to 80% of the geothermal deposits are in Western Georgia. In the Zugdidi-Tsaishi geothermal area, there are now 9 productive, 7 reinjections and 3 observation bore-hole wells which are considered to be exploitable.



Thanks to an advantageous geographical location and a climate favorable to forest and agricultural development, Georgia is endowed with major potential for biomass power plants, especially for producing heat and hot water. Biomass could be of the most important sources of power supply in rural areas, given that forests cover 40% of the country’s total territory.



Source: Ministry of Energy of Georgia

               National Investment Agency of Georgia


EU & the Georgian Government review 4 years of EU support to agriculture

An estimated 250,000 rural Georgians benefited from current support, EU announces third phase of assistance worth 230 million GEL

13, December 2017, Tbilisi – At the conference “Improving Rural Lives” held in Tbilisi, Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili, Ambassador of the European Union Janos Herman, and Minister of Agriculture Levan Davitashvili summarized the results of the first phase of the EU’s European Neighborhood Programme for Agriculture and Rural Development (ENPARD) in Georgia which ran from 2014 to 2017. An estimated 250,000 Georgians in rural areas directly benefited from the programme.

The EU also used the event to announce a further 230 million GEL (77.5 million EUR) for a third phase of ENPARD to run from 2018-2021.

At the event, the official keynote speeches were followed by a session with the participation of EU beneficiaries. The representatives of EU funded agricultural and rural development projects shared their experiences and success stories, as well as discussed the challenges and future perspectives. In addition, presentation of external evaluation report on different components of ENPARD Phase I was delivered by ENPARD external evaluation team.

In the framework of the event, ENPARD cooperatives gallery and the photo-exhibition of the EU-funded rural development initiatives were organized, so the guests could observe the programme’s results.

The event was attended over 150 representatives of the Government, EU partners and ENPARD implementing international and local organizations, diplomatic corps and the media.

BUSINESS GEORGIA was a media partner of the event.


The EU supports agriculture and rural development in Georgia through its ENPARD Programme. Implemented since 2013 with a total budget of EU 179.5 million (over GEL 500 million), the main goal of ENPARD is to reduce rural poverty in Georgia. The first phase of ENPARD in Georgia focused on developing the potential of agriculture. The second phase of ENPARD is centered on creating economic opportunities for rural population that go beyond agricultural activities. The third phases will continue strengthening the agriculture sector, and also focus food safety and quality standards and further development of the rural development model.

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On November 15, after three years of technical talks, during the 7th Regional Economic Cooperation Conference on Afghanistan (RECCA-VII) in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan was signed the agreement, making Georgia part of Lapis Lazuli Corridor.

Georgian Vice Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Mikheil Janelidze signed a document which will enable Georgia to be part of a one more transport corridor between Europe and Asia.

The Lapis-Lazuli Transit, Trade & Transport Route (also known as the “Lapis Lazuli Corridor”) aims to enhance regional economic cooperation and connectivity between the countries of Afghanistan, Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey.

The corridor begins from Aqina in northern Faryab province and Torghundi in western Herat (both in Afghanistan), and continues to the port (on the Caspian Sea) of Turkmenbashi in Afghanistan; after passing the Caspian Sea, the route continues on to Baku, capital of Azerbaijan, and then connects onward to Tblisi, capital of Georgia, as well as the Georgian ports of Poti and Batumi; in the end, the corridor will connect to the cities of Kars and Istanbul (Turkey) at the entrance of Europe.

The name “Lapis Lazuli” is derived from the historic route that Afghanistan’s lapis lazuli and other semiprecious stones were exported along, over 2,000 years ago, to the Caucasus, Russia, the Balkans, Europe, and North Africa.

Current projects will improve infrastructure and procedures across the five countries and they are estimated to exceed $2 billion, according to RECCA VII.

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Enguri River Dam soon to be a new tourism landmark of Georgia

In 5 years, Georgia will offer to the local and international visitors the Enguri River dam, which is planned to become a unique tourist zone, making it a Georgian tourism landmark.

In 2015 the Enguri Hydro Power Plant’s arched dam, located in Georgia’s northwestern town Jvari, is being added to the country’s list of most distinguished cultural heritage sites. It has officially granted the status of National Monument.

The Enguri arched dam is the world’s second highest concrete arch dam, reaching 271.5 meters high and 728 meters wide, which is jointly operated by Georgia and breakaway Abkhazia as it lies on the Enguri River that separates the two areas.

The construction of the Enguri dam began in 1961 and completed in 1977, which was actually initiated before World War I by Georgian public figure Niko Nikoladze.

Including a specially created mix of concrete building material the building was the largest arched hydroelectric dam in the world till the construction began of a larger dam project in China in 2012.

The Enguri Power Plant is built on an area of nearly 1,000 km2, from Jvari town to the Black Sea. The electricity generated by the dam goes into grids in Abkhazia and it also provides nearly half of Georgia’s hydro energy.

The Ministry of Energy, Ministry of Culture and Engurhesi Ltd are jointly supporting the implementation of this project. The total investment cost of the construction is around 50 million GEL.

The tourist zone will cover 157 hectares and it will include a scientific center, open concert space and components for extreme sport. It will be a first industrial monument in Georgia, where a museum and media center will be built, with plans in place to install high lookout spots so that visitors can see a panoramic view of the surrounding area.

Tourists can soon venture deep into the dam via 280 meters’ elevator, to discover some parts that were previously open only for workers. According to the calculations, the tourist zone will host about 400,000 tourists yearly.





Source: agenda.ge / thouse.ge