Georgia Economic Prosperity Initiative
JAA contributed to the successful achievement of the major project targets – in investment, mobilization of domestic finance, exports and job creation. In the first two years of the project, EPI helped to attract more than $100m in foreign and domestic investment. JAA also helped to facilitate almost $200m in domestic finance, 11,000 new jobs, and $280m of new exports.
At the outset of EPI, J.E. Austin Associates was responsible for the analysis and selection of manufacturing and service value chains, and guided the sector selection process for the agricultural value chains. JAA was then responsible for leading the implementation of the manufacturing and services value chains being assisted by EPI.
During project start-up, JAA conducted an assessment of Georgia’s economic sectors. The assessment looked at international and domestic market trends and growth potential, skills and capacities, market constraints, resources and inputs, and potential SME linkages. From this assessment, the project and USAID chose to focus on tourism, apparel, construction materials, ICT, logistics and transport, paper packaging, and business support services. In agriculture, EPI focused on mandarins, hazelnuts and greenhouse vegetables.
In the value chain selection phase, JAA then identified and assessed potential value chains for project intervention within these sectors. JAA assessed each value chain in terms of its 1) competitiveness potential; 2) impact on the economy and beneficiaries; 3) quality of leadership (within the value chain); and 4) synergies with other value chains, cross-cutting themes, and 5) other aspects of importance to EPI’s objectives. This comprehensive value chain analysis formed the basis of the project’s sector prioritization and work planning.
JAA managed value chain improvement activities in the manufacturing and service (M&S) sectors, and advised on competitiveness strategy. Through JAA’s leadership, EPI achieved notable successes in working with each of the value chains.
JAA helped business service providers (BSPs) work with SMEs across multiple value chains in the agricultural sector to increase productivity. JAA and BSPs worked with businesses and associations in the transport and logistics, paper packaging, and ICT sectors to identify and realize opportunities to build Georgia’s agricultural competitiveness, helping to expand agricultural markets, improve post-harvest operations and quality, and meet import market requirements.
JAA assisted eight Georgian packaging plants to develop and implement actions to meet domestic and international customer needs, including ensuring consistent quality and compliance with international standards. Packaging is now being sold for products sold on both the domestic and export markets. To match packaging and producer requirements, JAA organized dialogue between mandarin growers, exporters, Ministry of Agriculture and box plants to promote usage of corrugated packaging in agriculture, and to enable packaging manufacturers to understand exporter requirements, while at the same time enabling exporters to recognize Georgian packaging capabilities. A similar activity was organized with greenhouse and cold storage operators. JAA also organized a series of meetings with the largest food retail chains of Ukraine, to enable exporters of Georgian mandarins and herbs to understand the requirements to move to higher priced market segments in this biggest traditional market for export of Georgian produce.
In the Transport and Logistics sub-sector. JAA helped overcome data collection and analysis issues that hindered the Government of Georgia’s plan to make the country a center of regional international transit. In the start-up phase, the project facilitated basic data collection and competitive analysis of the Caucasus Transit Corridor (CTC), directly contributing to 170% increase in revenue for transport and logistics companies by strengthening their capacity and connecting them to international markets. This analysis formed the basis of activities to create a trade facilitation system and develop a national air transportation strategy. EPI also helped to promote the multimodal Tbilisi Logistics Center (TLC) investment project, resulting in McDonald’s signing a memorandum of understanding to establish a warehouse and office at the center. The project conducted full feasibility studies on creating agricultural and food product logistics centers in Tbilisi and Batumi, and these initiatives are in the incipient stages of attracting investment.
In MICE tourism, EPI conducted workshops for destination management companies, travel agencies, hotels, event management companies, and government bodies to provide them with advice on MICE tourism business development best practices.