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Sida's work in Georgia

Georgia is one of the poorest countries in Europe. Sida's reform cooperation helps to strengthen democracy and respect for human rights, gender equality, and contributes to climate-sustainable development and the country's rapprochement with the EU.

Sida’s support in Georgia

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Progress has been made

The economy is growing

Small and medium-sized enterprises are helping the economy to thrive despite the crises, and the business environment is ranked highest in the region.1

Gender-based violence reduced

Changing norms, legislation, an active civil society and more effective institutions are having an impact. More cases of gender-based violence are being reported, investigated and convicted.

Environmental responsibility is being strengthened

Public awareness of environmental and climate issues in Georgia is increasing. Civil society work is contributing to an increased debate on the issues and the business community is showing increased interest in sustainability issues.

Challenges remain

The judiciary is not independent

Despite progress in the rule of law, parts of the judiciary remain aloof and have a long way to go to achieve independence. Of the country’s institutions, the judiciary has the lowest credibility.2

High unemployment

Unemployment remains high and many are forced into low-paid and insecure informal jobs. Among young people aged 20-24, unemployment is over 40 %.3

Pollution problems

Georgia still has very limited capacity and infrastructure to deal with air, water and soil pollution.

Reform cooperation in Georgia

Georgia became an independent state in 1991 when the Soviet Union dissolved. The country’s economy collapsed and regional conflicts erupted. After a turbulent political period, the country began to implement comprehensive reforms that reduced poverty and corruption, but in recent years the pace has slowed. The effects of the protracted Covid pandemic and the war in Ukraine are worsening the livelihoods of the most disadvantaged and many are falling back into poverty.

The protracted conflicts with the breakaway regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia remain unresolved.

Sweden is actively working to reach the poorest and EU rapprochement has strong popular support among Georgians. The Swedish support contributes to a more democratic development and an economic development that benefits many. The support also focuses on human rights, the rule of law, gender equality and climate sustainable development.

Economic development

Agriculture continues to be one of Georgia’s most important industries, but the sector is characterised by small-scale production and low productivity. The Georgian SME strategy has made significant progress in terms of access to finance as well as support for entry into an international market. Georgia is ranked seventh in the latest World Bank Doing Business Report, the highest in the region.4

Alignment with EU rules

The Free Trade Agreement with the EU acts as an economic engine. In cooperation with the Economic Policy Research Center, a training programme on construction and safety in accordance with EU standards was implemented in 2021 for 17 companies in the architecture and design sector, among others.

Economic Policy Research Centers webbplats

Increased export opportunities

Georgian companies often lack access to capital.5 Targeting support and loans to SMEs improves business financing and facilitates access to credit for start-ups. A particular focus is on women entrepreneurs in the service sector.

TBC Bank’s website

Improving food safety

The agricultural sector is in dire need of modernisation. Through the Georgia Agribusiness Competitiveness project, cooperation with the country’s Ministry of Environmental Protection and Agriculture has continued. This has included the development of labelling and ingredient manuals.

Georgia Agribusiness Competitiveness on Openaid’s website

Democracy and human rights

Positive human rights developments in Georgia continue, although there are major challenges in protecting the rights of LGBTI persons and minorities. Shortcomings in the independence of the judiciary contribute to political instability and divisions in society. Gender-based violence remains a challenge, although it has decreased in recent years.5 Both women and men in Georgia have become more positive about gender equality since 2013.6

Reduced gender-based violence

Domestic violence is decreasing, but remains underreported due to prevailing traditional norms and attitudes. Rural women, IDPs, ethnic minorities and LGBTI people are particularly vulnerable. Under the UN-led Joint Programme for Gender Equality (UNJP), a new law was introduced to make it easier for victims of violence to access government-funded services.

About UN Women’s work in Georgia

Human rights strengthened

New legislation and the development of national institutions promote non-discrimination and gender equality in Georgia. But huge challenges remain in how the law is enforced in practice. Sweden’s support has strengthened national legislation with regard to international and national commitments on human rights, gender equality and non-discrimination.

Improved governance

Through the UNDP Governance Reform Fund, Sida contributes to improved governance based on needs. The support has contributed to progress in national statistical systems, monitoring of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and strengthening of the state administration. Transparency International Georgia and the Institute for Development of Freedom of Information (IDFI) work on strengthening accountability and fighting corruption.

Environment and climate

Georgia’s environmental challenges are partly a legacy of the Soviet era when industrial emissions were not cleaned up. Even today, air pollution is a problem in industrialised areas. Many waterways are also polluted, particularly the Mtkvari River and the Black Sea.

Increased environmental awareness

The environmental performance of Georgian authorities is severely lacking. Cooperation between Keep Georgia Tidy and, among others, Keep Sweden Tidy and Gästrike Återvinnare has raised environmental awareness among the general public and especially among children and young people. Eight municipalities have also launched new waste plans. Keep Georgia Tidy brings together several environmental civil society organisations in Georgia.

Keep Georgia Tidy’s website

Wastewater treatment

Wastewater often enters the country’s rivers untreated. Together with the World Bank and Georgian authorities, Sida is helping to develop two water treatment plants in eastern Georgia. As a result, wastewater from 30,000 households is now treated through a mechanical and biological treatment process and no longer flows untreated into the Alazani River.

About the work in Georgia on the World bank’s website

Governance of Sida's reform cooperation with Georgia

The Strategy for Sweden’s reform cooperation with Georgia (2021–2027) is currently only available in Swedish on the Swedish government website.

Updated: October 4, 2022