European Investment Bank opens first office in Tbilisi

Georgia's PM promised the EIB Vice-President full support in opening the representative office in Tbilisi., 30 Apr 2015 - 17:52, Tbilisi,Georgia

The European Union's leading financial institution, the European Investment Bank (EIB), has opened a South Caucasus regional representative office in Georgia’s capital Tbilisi.

Georgian and EIB officials attended a special ceremony today to mark the official opening of the new office – the first of its kind in Tbilisi and the region.

The EIB noted it would implement and coordinate its regional projects from its Tbilisi branch. The office would also be used to enhance its support for the public and private sectors and strengthen relations with promoters and partner banks in the region.

The EIB regional office’s opening ceremony was held at Radisson Blu Iveria Hotel and attended by Georgia’s Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili, EIB Vice President Wilhelm Molterer, head of the European Union Delegation to Georgia Janos Herman, as well as representatives from diplomatic corps accredited to Georgia, the banking sector and international financial institutions.

The EIB Tbilisi office will cater for businesses in Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan.

EIB’s Molterer said a presence on the ground will ensure market proximity and an increased operational delivery capability for the Bank, as well as closer institutional ties with national authorities.

"We saw a European prospective and business potential in Georgia. We saw Georgia implement the Association Agreement (AA) regulations. That’s why we decided to open an office in Tbilisi,” said Molterer.

"We want to support Georgia in many directions including in the infrastructure and agricultural sectors. EIB can provide not only financial assistance but share its experience as well.”

"The AA allows us to support the country. We evaluate the principles; make the steps forward and try to use everything as a positive instrument for making European progress more obvious in the country. This is in the Georgian citizens’ best interest. Use our Bank office’s service. We are in your country to support you and meet your demand, not immediately but after a certain period,” he added.

Georgia’s Finance Minister Nodar Khaduri said it was "very important” to Georgia and its capital Tbilisi to have such an important office in the country.

"Tbilisi is gaining back the functions of a regional hub, including in the financial sector,” he said.

Today the EIB loaned €40 million to Bank of Georgia, the country’s largest bank, to finance investment projects promoted by SMEs and mid cap companies.

The EIB loan will support the implementation of projects important for the development of Georgia’s private sector as well as undertakings in the areas of social and economic infrastructure, climate change mitigation and adaptation. The loan is also expected to contribute to job creation and maintenance.

Earlier, the Bank allocated €380 million to finance several investment projects and support the state sector in Georgia, and a further €110 million in the private sector. The EIB financial aid supported projects to develop the country’s energy, water and road infrastructure and SMEs.

Garibashvili said every project financed by EIB had created additional jobs, which accordingly supported Georgia’s economic growth and improved the people’s living conditions.

The announcement about opening an EIB representative office came back in October 2014 after Georgia’s Finance Minister Nodar Khaduri met Molterer in Washington. At this time the EIB said it would implement and coordinate its regional projects from Georgia.

The EIB offered €217 to Armenia and €25 million to Azerbaijan, where the first operation was signed last year.