World Bank Regional Director highlights Georgia’s potential to become trade, production “centre”

Charles J. Cormier, the Regional Director for Infrastructure for Europe and Central Asia at the World Bank. Photo: Nino Alavidze/, 26 Oct 2023 - 18:50, Tbilisi,Georgia

Charles J. Cormier, the Regional Director for Infrastructure for Europe and Central Asia at the World Bank, on Tuesday said Georgia had the potential to become a centre not only for trade but also for production of goods.

Cormier, in Georgia for the Silk Road Forum hosted in capital Tbilisi, told in an interview the event was “timely”.

I think the Forum is extremely timely to get countries together to talk about what are the major infrastructure investments that are needed to connect the countries, and to start to address some of the fundamental issues that they need to work together with. I really also like the title of the event - Connecting Today for Resilience Tomorrow - that is exactly spot on”, he said. 

The World Bank representative said the Forum was also important for discussing the “way out” of the various crises around the world.

The world has faced several crises at the same time. We had a Covid crisis that had created problems in the logistics chain. We had an energy crisis last year with the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the shortage of gas in Europe and diversification of energy markets”, he said.

Photo: Nino Alavidze/

The visiting official pointed out Georgia could use its strategic geographical location and its potential to become a dimensional hub.  

I think Georgia is strategically placed - obviously, geographically strategically placed - but it's taken its leadership role quite significantly. Europe is trying to find energy markets outside of Russia, Georgia had already stepped up and had the idea that it could finance or look at the possibility of financing an undersea cable to connect Georgia, but also the South Caucasus, to Romania, which would create essentially a new electricity import potential for Europe. 

So Georgia stepped up and is working with the World Bank and others, their partners, to see the feasibility of it. It is essentially Georgia that's pushed the agenda, and now people are working on it together, several countries are working on it together”, he pointed out.

Cormier also said connectivity was a “tool” that Georgia could use to trade “effectively”, with the country also having “great energy potential” and able to develop access to new markets. 

Photo: Tbilisi Silk Road Forum

That is why the project connecting the South Caucasus with Europe [referring to the Black Sea submarine electricity cable project] through Georgia and Romania is so important”, he said.

The Regional Director of the international institution noted digitisation as another main agenda of the Forum, which he said had “huge” transformational potential for the region. 

In terms of human capital, access to digitisation will create additional jobs and develop innovation”, he noted.

Up to 2,000 delegates from 63 countries are attending the Silk Road Forum to discuss global economic challenges, ways to solve them, and aspects and perspectives of cooperation for connectivity. 

The event will continue on Friday with panel discussions of Georgia's investment opportunities and B2B meetings.

Founded by Georgia’s Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili, the first edition of the Forum was hosted in Tbilisi in 2015.