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Belt and Road Initiative gains momentum in Georgia

By Marine Jibladze | | Updated: 2017-05-19 11:08

The Belt and Road Initiative was put forth more than three years ago starting with initial introductions and preparations. Since 2015,it has started to become more and more popular in Georgia.

The Belt and Road (B&R) Initiative is a farsighted initiative with global implications, by which the two ends of Eurasia are connected. Georgia is located at the crossroads of Europe and Asia as a kind of connecting bridge between them. It is located in South Caucasus, which is very important due to its strategic location.

In 2016, China became the third largest trading partner and the biggest investor to Georgia and has signed a Free Trade Agreement, which opens a new page for the future cooperation of Georgia both on a regional and global scale.

China is important not only for Georgia, but also for the whole world.

China represents the largest emerging economic power, holds a position in the UN Security Council and shares responsibility towards global issues with other established powers. Besides, China’s international reputation means countries trust China, because it doesn’t usually pursue aggressive international policing.

I think the Belt & Road initiative will improve the quality of people’s lives, if the governments of different countries use this opportunity.

For example, in Georgia, according to Source of Government of Georgia, 2013, there are three directions of Georgia’s National Development Strategy: private sector competitiveness, human capital development, and access to finance. The most recent Public Attitudes Poll revealed that national sentiment points to five national issues: jobs and unemployment, poverty, territorial integrity, rising prices and inflation, and pensions.

For Georgia, the B&R initiative can be seen as a potential solution to many issues such as job creation, building infrastructure, attracting investment to boost the economy. China should also be interested in Georgia, because it represents one of the most efficient land connections between China and Europe.

I think international security is very important and can be one of the guarantors in many countries. As many countries are interested in the B&R initiative, it will turn into the natural guarantee, when each side understands that peace is necessary.

China and Georgia have a well-established relationship, which is bound to find a new life under the Belt and Road Initiative.

Georgia’s position in the region is known as the most westernized country both politically and economically and for its strategic geographical position, which could be transformed into many economic opportunities for both Georgia and China.

I also think that development of cultural relations is very important. Teach people more about each other and begin to trust each other by holding conferences and publishing more books and articles about the B&R Initiative.

The author is the Director of Confucius Institute at Free University of Tbilisi, The President of Association of Georgian Sinologists.

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