Sida's work in Georgia
Georgia is one of Europe’s poorest countries. The aim of Sida’s reform cooperation with the country is to strengthen democracy and respect for human rights, to improve the country’s environmental work and to support Georgia’s efforts to strengthen the ties with the European Union.
Progress has been made
Easy doing business
Small and medium-sized enterprises are contributing to Georgia’s economic progress and the World Bank Group’s report Doing Business 2020 ranks the country’s economy highest in the region for ease of doing business.1
Better social security
The Georgian social insurance system has been redesigned from the ground up several times and currently includes benefits such as old-age pensions, unemployment insurance and sickness and parental leave allowances.
Investigation of gender-based violence
Only 6 percent of women have been exposed to gender-based violence by a partner; 27 percent have been exposed by someone who is not their partner.2 Gender-based violence is investigated to a greater extent and leading to more convictions.
The judiciary is not independent
Despite progress in the rule of law in the country, it is clear that the judiciary is not yet completely independent of vested political interests.
Unemployment remains high and many citizens are forced to rely on low-paid, informal employment with little job security. Among young people, 39 percent are unemployed.3
Lacking management of pollution
Georgia’s capacity and infrastructure for dealing with air, water and soil pollution remains severely limited.
Reform cooperation in Georgia
Georgia became an independent state in 1991 with the dissolution of the Soviet Union. The country immediately experienced an economic collapse, internal strife and regional conflicts. After a period marked by political turbulence, the country began to implement extensive reforms that succeeded in reducing poverty and corruption; still, major challenges remain and over recent years the pace of reform has slowed.
Located in the South Caucasus on the border of Europe and Asia, Georgia remains locked in drawn-out conflicts with the breakaway regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, which have led to the isolation and impoverishment of the conflict areas and driven many to flee.
Agriculture remains one of Georgia’s most important industries but is characterised by small-scale farming and low productivity. Key areas for the continued development of the Georgian economy include more jobs, stronger labour rights and a greater variety of exported goods and services.
Promoting adoption of EU regulation
Georgia’s free trade agreement with the European Union acts as an economic engine, with 23 percent of the country’s total trade in 2020 going to the EU.4 Sweden supports the adoption of Georgian companies to EU food safety regulations via a collaboration with the International Finance Corporation.
Access to international markets
The business sector in Georgia is in need of modernisation. Companies often lack access to capital. Targeted support and loans to small and medium enterprises has achieved clear results in terms of both financing and greater opportunities for accessing the international market.
Strengthening Georgian farmers
The agricultural sector is in desperate need of modernisation. The collective voice of the country’s farmers is strengthened by the Georgian Farmer’s Association, which has around 4,000 members and promotes cooperation to increase production, efficiency and turnover.
Democracy and human rights
While Georgia’s positive development in terms of protecting and promoting human rights continues, there remain major challenges to overcome, for example with regard to the protection of LGBTQI and minority rights. Shortcomings in the independence and impartiality of the judiciary are a fundamental problem and contributory factor to political instability and social polarisation.
While gender-based violence has decreased over recent years, it remains a challenge. There has been a trend towards a more positive attitude to gender equality among both women and men since 2013.5
Changing attitudes about gender-based violence
In many parts of the country, gender-based domestic violence is still considered a private matter to be resolved without outside interference. Support for the work of organisations such as Kvinna till Kvinna (Woman to Woman) has changed attitudes and contributed to new legal praxis on remanding suspected perpetrators of domestic violence in custody.
Reinforcing civil society in Abkhazia
The situation in Abkhazia is precarious, especially for women. Sida supports a number of initiatives in the breakaway region to reinforce civil society and increase awareness of gender equality and human rights.
Improving the quality of legislation
Georgia’s state administration still requires reform. Sida assists the Government of Georgia in improving the quality of legislation and the exercise of public authority through the Governance Reform Fund.
Environment and climate
To a certain extent, Georgia’s environmental problems are a legacy of the Soviet era, when industrial emissions went entirely untreated. Even today, air pollution is a problem in dense industrial zones. Many of the country’s waterways are also polluted, especially the Kura River and Black Sea.
Increasing environmental awareness
Georgian public authorities are lagging severely behind in terms of environmental management. Collaborations between Keep Georgia Tidy, an umbrella for several Georgian non-governmental environmental organisations, and Swedish organisations such as the Keep Sweden Tidy Foundation and Gästrike Återvinnare have increased environmental awareness and preparedness, with new waste management plans adopted in eight municipalities.
Developing water treatment systems
Untreated sewage flows into the country’s rivers. Together with the World Bank and Georgian government agencies, Sweden contributes to the development of water treatment plants in the municipalities of Telavi and Tskaltubo to mechanically and biologically purify wastewater, intended as a model for water treatment systems in the country’s other municipalities.
Safe handling of radioactive materials
Radioactive materials were abandoned in Georgia after the collapse of the Soviet Union. The Swedish Radiation Safety Authority supports the development of procedures, capacity and facilities for the safe handling of radioactive materials.
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 webpage
Updated: January 10, 2022