ISET

ISET is pleased to welcome its new employee Gigla Mikautadze in the capacity of Deputy Head of the Private Sector Development Research Centre. His responsibilities include leading the centre in studying and formulating effective policy options for strengthening the private sector and promoting market competitiveness. In addition, he will work to promote the engagement of the private sector in policy discussions, as well as assist the research centre in its goal to increase the capacity of the private and the public sector in development.
Mr. Mikautadze is a director and co-founder of the Taxpayers Union of Georgia and a columnist at Forbes Georgia. He is also pursuing his Ph.D. at the Free University of Georgia. He holds a Master’s degree in Economic and Social Studies from University of Trier, Germany (2010), and his most recent post was at the Ministry of Agriculture of Georgia, where he was involved as a consultant in several projects of PMCG and TBSC Consulting.

Georgians have revealed themselves to have overall low levels of financial literacy. Only 6% of respondents to a new research survey were financially literate, which naturally negatively affects the economic situation in the country. ISET's Policy Institute, together with TNS and TBC Bank, conducted the first ever large-scale survey on financial literacy in Georgia. A total of 1000 respondents were surveyed in seven major cities of Georgia: Tbilisi, Batumi, Kutaisi, Zugdidi, Poti, Gori, and Rustavi. They survey was centred around a core questionnaire designed to reveal financial behaviour, attitudes, and knowledge in order to assess levels of financial literacy and financial inclusion. Financial literacy was measured by four specific questions about simple interest rates, compound interest rates, inflation, and risk/diversification. A majority (52%) answered only one or none of the questions correctly, displaying low financial literacy (illiterate).

Borjomi was the final stop and the highlight on a four-day anticorruption program ISET organized for students and faculty of its partner university, the Norwegian School of Economics (NHH) in Bergen. The tour was hosted by Borjomi LTD, producer of Georgia’s most famous mineral water – the “Coca Cola of the Soviet Union”, in the words of Jacques Fleury, the company’s former CEO. Mr. Fleury had personally greeted ISET and NHH participants on Borjomi’s premises.

Held on Saturday, April 9, the visit started with a study tour of Borjomi’s Factory #1, allowing the group to observe the entire bottling process. The factory had recently received a very large investment allowing to greatly expand and fully automate the entire production process. With a capacity of more than 100,000 bottles per hour, today’s Borjomi is selling a very large share of its output in the former USSR market where its water is considered a major premium brand.

On April 15, ISET Policy Institute researcher Lasha Labadze attended a student conference on the topic of “Tourism Development Perspectives in Georgia and World Experience”. Organized by the Research and Planning Department of the Georgian National Tourism Administration, and supported by ISET along with other partners, the event aimed to involve students in improving and solving the issues that the country is facing today in the tourism industry. It gave the participants an opportunity to collaborate with each other as well as the national administration in order to carry out research and bring new ideas to the tourism sector.

All students from accredited universities - including vocational institutions in Georgia and abroad - had the chance to participate in the event. Around 100 projects were submitted, from which 20 were chosen to be presented during the event.

Held on April 8, this discussion was a part of the four-day anti-corruption program ISET organized for a large group of students and faculty from ISET’s partner university, Norwegian School of Economics (NHH) in Bergen. The expert panel included Jacques Fleury, former CEO of Borjomi LLC and JSC Château Mukhrani; Mariam Dolidze, Senior Economist at World Bank Georgia; Archil Bakuradze, Chairman of Supervisory Board at JSC Crystal Georgia; Bruno Balvanera, Resident Representative of EBRD Georgia; Giorgi Oniani, Deputy Executive Director of Transparency International Georgia; and ISET President Eric Livny, who also moderated the discussion.

The discussion started with an overview of Georgia’s emergence from the state of civil war, lawlessness and corruption, as illustrated by Jacques Fleury’s story of rebuilding Borjomi– Georgia’s leading mineral water company – in a “legal” environment in which the courts were a private business like any other. Mariam Dolidze underscored Georgia’s post-Rose Revolution achievements in business-friendly reforms, as reflected in its progress in the World Bank’s Doing Business and other international rankings. She also listed outstanding challenges such as judicial system reforms, labor qualifications, (external) market size and infrastructure. 

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