The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has approved a $15 million loan (in euro equivalent) to finance the preparation and design of a program that will help improve infrastructure and services in Georgia’s cities, which is part of the bank’s strategy to improve the livability of cities in its developing member countries.
Georgia has experienced unbalanced economic growth in recent years, with many citizens moving from regional cities to the capital Tbilisi in search of job opportunities and a better quality of life. Tbilisi contributes around 70% of the nation’s gross domestic product and accounts for more than half of the country’s urban population.
The loan will enable the Government of Georgia to begin feasibility studies, design civil works, and conduct other preparatory work ahead of the implementation of ADB’s Georgia Livable Cities Investment Program, which is expected to start at the end of 2020. The program aims to improve infrastructure, mobility, and livability in Georgia’s urban environments, particularly for the elderly, people with disabilities, women, and children.
The program also aims to improve the perception of Georgia as a destination for tourism by investing in four regional tourism clusters. These include the Telavi, Gurjaani, and Akhmeta municipalities in eastern Georgia; investing in eco- and adventure tourism in the two urban clusters of Zugdidi and Mestia–Ushguli, respectively; and urban redevelopment in the capital city. Last year, the Caucasus nation welcomed around 3.5 million tourist visitors and is expected to receive more than 6 million annually by 2028.
“Improving the livability of cities and infrastructure in Georgia is important for inclusive economic growth and will also help the country realize its unique potential as a destination for tourism in the region,” said ADB Senior Urban Development Specialist for Central and West Asia Ms. Ramola Naik Singru. “This loan will help the government undertake vital preparations as it works towards improving the accessibility and conservation of Georgia’s rich cultural and historical heritage, developing the country’s small and medium-sized enterprises, and improving the quality of life for its citizens.”
ADB has supported Georgia since 2007 and is one of the country’s largest multilateral development partners. Sovereign and nonsovereign loans to Georgia to date total about $2.8 billion.
ADB is committed to achieving a prosperous, inclusive, resilient, and sustainable Asia and the Pacific, while sustaining its efforts to eradicate extreme poverty. In 2018, it made commitments of new loans and grants amounting to $21.6 billion. Established in 1966, it is owned by 68 members—49 from the region.
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