Betsy’s Hotel is an establishment accustomed to hosting a wide variety of patrons from across the world. However, the gathering of mid-level and senior representatives from public, private and non-profit organizations to be awarded certificates for completing a course funded by Japan Tobacco International Georgia and run by the ISET Policy Institute is certainly unique even for a hotel with such a habitually diverse clientele.

The training program, entitled ‘Leaders in Development’, was devised for policy makers, analysts and executives from both the public and private sectors, and highlighted the importance of understanding economic concepts for professional and national development. The program's ten modules focused on the implications of government regulations for Georgian businesses across a broad range of policy areas: from taxation and tax administration to food safety and environmental standards.

The program's relevance stems from the fact that Georgia is currently facing enormous challenges related to its commitment to approximate EU-style regulations. On the one hand, the Georgian lawmakers and regulators have to acquire the ability to tailor (as opposed to copy-paste) EU regulations for the Georgian context. On the other, they must make sure that the pace of approximation does not exceed the ability of Georgian businesses (particularly, SMEs) to implement necessary adjustments and develop relevant managerial skills technical know-how.

The program culminated in an award ceremony and a dinner hosted by ISET PI faculty and staff. A total of seventeen representatives from fifteen organizations across the three sectors completed the course and earned Leaders in Development certificates. The ceremony was attended by Deputy Minister of Economic and Sustainable Development Irma Kavtaradze, as well as senior representatives of participating companies, civil society organizations and government agencies.

We would like to thank Ovidiu Cernei, Regulatory Affairs Director, and Ivane Khasia, Regulatory Affairs Manager of JTI-Georgia, for such an excellent initiative.

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