The Georgia-based Civil Development agency (CiDA) in partnership with the Armenia-based Support for Noyemberyan (SFN) and the Northern Branch of Eurasia Partnership Foundation within the framework of the EU-funded European Partnership Territorial Cooperation (EaPTC) are implementing a 16-month “Cross-border Economic Development” (CED) project. The goal of the CED is to improve the living conditions of bordering communities in the Georgia’s Kvemo Kartli and Armenia’s Tavush regions. This goal will be achieved through a) strengthening cross-border cooperation between the Kvemo Kartli and Tavush regions by attracting investments; b) strengthening cross-border cooperation between the Kvemo Kartli and Tavush regions by increasing transactions between business entities from both regions; and c) informing business entities in the target regions about cross-border investment and trade opportunities.
The project idea is based on the assumption that Georgian businesses now have improved access to the EU market, and Armenia has a tax-free access to the EEU market. In fact, an access to the EU market may be attractive for Armenian businesses that want to export products and are also interested in investing in the Georgian economy. Vice versa, the EEU market can also be attractive for Georgian businesses, and trigger Georgian investments in Armenia. At the same time, engagement with two different global customs unions may also hinder direct cross-border trade relations between Armenia and Georgia. Having in mind the assumed impediments, the CED project wants to explore the opportunities that the current economic setting may bring to the Armenian and Georgian businesses, particularly those located in the Kvemo-Kartli and Tavush regions.
The CED project will commence with a Baseline Study to explore the investment opportunities with each other and with EU and EEU countries, as well as identify business entities in the region that can benefit from the project. Two Agro-tours, one in each of Armenia and Georgia, will help the joint group of about 30 entrepreneurs from Armenia and Georgia to exchange information about business operations and problem-solving strategies. A Media Bus Tour will make it possible for the Georgian and Armenian journalists to jointly visit producers, processors and farmers in the cross-border region and report on economic cooperation opportunities between the two countries. An agricultural fair will exhibit products manufactured in the bordering regions of the two countries. The project partners will also provide business consultations to interested entrepreneurs; establish a user-friendly online platform for the project beneficiaries; publish a practical guide on how to develop business within the frameworks of the EU’s Association Agreement and EEU’s customs union; as well as will produce a catalogue featuring a map of agribusinesses located in the cross-border regions of Armenia and Georgia.
The partners anticipate that the implementation of the project will bring the following results:
- The knowledge of Georgian and Armenian regional business holders on new economic opportunities within the frameworks of the Eurasian Customs Union and the EU Association Agreement has increased.
- Links between Georgian and Armenian business holders have strengthened, and joint ideas are initiated to support local economic development.
- Georgian and Armenian business holders have had an increased access to business-related information on establishment/development of joint business activities.
Project is implemented by CIDA-led partnership in cooperation with SfN and EPF.