|Georgia looks to attract Qatari investors|
|November 05, 2009|
Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili said he hopes to secure investment pledges from Qatar in agriculture, hydropower, infrastructure and tourism.
“Georgia is traditionally linked with the Middle East and they value our liberal reforms,” Saakashvili told reporters on his plane before landing in Qatar on Wednesday to meet with potential investors.
The $12.8 billion Georgian economy suffered about $1 billion in damage when its army was routed by Russia in the August 2008 war over the region of South Ossetia. Growth may resume this quarter. Foreign investment this year probably will not exceed $1 billion, compared with the $2 billion initially forecast by the government, Finance Minister Kakha Baindurashvili said on Oct. 6.
The International Monetary Fund said in May that Georgia’s economic performance this year largely depends on donor money. It won pledges of $4.55 billion in international aid in the wake of the conflict, including a two-year $1 billion offer from the U.S.
Saakashvili said he has won a pledge from the United Arab Emirates to invest as much as $1 billion into Georgia “within the next two to three years” and has received “huge interest” from Qatar before his arrival in the Gulf state.
Rakeen, a developer owned by the Gulf emirate of Ras al-Khaimah, paid $65 million for 49 percent of the Poti port in December. It is also set to build an airport in Poti, which lies on the Black Sea and hosts the country’s only special economic zone to attract investors.
Saakashvili said in October that Poti will become “a major hub in the region” as it lies midway between the Mideast and Europe.
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