May 31, 2012 - 11:58 AMT
PanARMENIAN.Net - More than 300 international experts gathered in Tbilisi, Georgia, for the Annual Meeting of the European Fund for Southeast Europe (EFSE), which aims to foster economic development and prosperity in the Southeast Europe region.
Operating in Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, FYR Macedonia, Georgia, Kosovo, Moldova, Montenegro, Romania, Serbia, Turkey and Ukraine, the EFSE provides supplemental and sustainable development finance, primarily to micro and small enterprises and low-income private households, via qualified partner lending institutions, namely commercial banks, microfinance institutions and non-bank financial institutions located in the target region.
Since inception of the Fund in 2005 until December 31, 2011, the cumulative amount of investments in partner lending institutions totaled EUR 1.13 billion, supporting 74 commercial banks and microfinance institutions.
Prior to the main event, journalists made a tour to the Bank of Georgia, which hosted a presentation on the bank's activity by Ms. Thea Jokhadze, the Head of Debt Capital Markets. Among other topics, Ms. Jokhadze mentioned the favorable business environment in the country, saying that many entrepreneurs from neighboring Armenia and Azerbaijan come to establish business in Georgia instead of doing so in their own states. Asked by a PanARMENIAN.Net reporter what kind of business Armenians prefer to start in Georgia, she said: “As far as I am aware, they tend to concentrate in trading and tourism sectors.”
Ms. Jokhadze also emphasized that despite the existing problems with Russia, major Russian companies such as Beeline, Lukoil, VTB Bank are successfully operating in the Georgian market.
The Meeting kicked off on May 31, with welcoming addresses by Georgian Prime Minister Nika Gilauri, German Minister for Economic Cooperation and Development Dirk Niebel, Chairperson of the EFSE Board of Directors Monika Beck and Governor of the national Bank of Georgia Giorgi Kadagidze.
The Armenian delegation at the event includes representatives of Byblos Bank, Converse Bank, VTB Bank and a number of other financial institutions.