27 February 2021 - Diaspora Economic Forum brought together over 200 diaspora representative, Individual Businesses, State Agencies, International Organizations, Business Cluster Management Organizations, Local and International Financial Institutions and Industry Leaders. The forum was organized with the EU support, by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Administration of the President of Georgia, State Commission on Migration Issues (SCMI) and International Organization for Migration (IOM), UN Migration Agency, Mission to Georgia.
The forum began with the official opening session where the participants were welcomed by Salome Zourabichvili, David Zalkaliani, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Georgia, Beka Odisharia, The Chair of the Diaspora and Caucasus Issues Committee, Parliament of Georgia, Catalin Gherman, Deputy Head of Cooperation of the European Union Delegation to Georgia, Renate Held, IOM Regional Director, Vienna, Austria and Sabine Machl, UN Resident Coordinator in Georgia.
Diaspora Economic Forum provided an opportunity for the Georgian diaspora to participate and receive comprehensive information on opportunities for doing business and investing in Georgia, means of accessing financing, available business development support programmes and services offered by State and non-state actors. “Todays’ forum is an important message to Georgian diaspora and international partners. It stresses the great potential of Georgian diaspora and its role in the economic advancement of our country and strengthening ties with international community. Further, it is an opportunity to strengthen dialogue with our nationals and introduce to them all the new services, which the state has to offer to those who are interested in investing and doing business in Georgia” said Mr. Zalkaliani.
In her opening remarks Ms. Zourabichvili stated that “now more than ever, solidarity is necessary to overcome the present situation. It also changed our priorities, at least temporarily. But we must learn to turn this crisis into an opportunity. If we work in unity, Georgia will benefit from the reconfiguration of globalization that will come out of the pandemic.”
The event was a steppingstone in stimulating the communication and cooperation among Georgians living abroad by engaging them in local Micro, Small and Medium Enterprise development projects and promoting Business2Business (B2B) networking.
“I hope today’s event is the beginning of a renewed, structured, relationship between Georgia and its citizens living abroad. Given the interest displayed by Georgian diaspora and the positive response from the government, there is reason to believe that Georgia can increase the contribution of the diaspora to Georgia’s development. The European Union stands ready to support Georgia in this endeavor” said Catalin Gherman, Deputy Head of Cooperation of the European Union Delegation to Georgia.
The Forum consisted of 4 panel discussions, the first two panel discussions were focused on business support programmes in non-agricultural businesses and business support programmes in agriculture and rural development and were organized within the frames of the EU-funded project “Sustaining Border Management and Migration Governance in Georgia (SBMMG)”
The third panel discussion on investment opportunities in Georgia and the fourth discussion on access to finance and those products that International and Georgian Financial Institutions can offer to support the small and medium enterprise development in Georgia was organized under the EU-funded project “EU Innovative Action for Private Sector Competitiveness in Georgia”, joint initiative of the European Union and four UN Agencies – United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) and International Organization for Migration (IOM).
The forum was recorded and streamed online to ensure wide public engagement and subsequently made fully available to the public via the Diaspora Web Portal WWW.GDA.GE
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