World Bank’s South Caucasus in Motion report launch held at ISET
Wednesday, 08 May, 2019

The close ties between ISET and the World Bank were reaffirmed once again on the 8th of May when a project supported by the Bank was unveiled at an event in the institute’s conference hall.

Mr. Alan Fuchs’ report, South Caucasus in Motion, examines the economic development of all three countries of the region; Mr. Fuchs explained that although his work constituted individual investigations and comparisons of statistical data of Georgia, Azerbaijan, and Armenia, it was also important to consider the three separate nations as constituting the South Caucasus all together. This point was also highlighted by the World Bank’s Regional Director for the South Caucasus, Mercy Tembon, in her opening address.

During his presentation, Mr. Fuchs explained that his report was divided into different chapters dealing with different aspects of the region’s economy and its growth, drawing particular attention to the expansion of Georgia’s economy in recent years. One of the most important aspects of the report, he explained, was the revelation of the emergence of Georgia’s middle-class, which Mr. Fuchs stated had been made possible by the country’s economic reforms and a comparative surplus of money when examining prior decades. A more detailed analysis spanning decades or even centuries such as those carried out in Western countries was, however, impossible, since Western nations have not undergone the catastrophic political and economic upheavals that have periodically afflicted Georgia.

In addition, while Georgia’s economy has grown (with some stagnation since 2016), there remains a significant disparity between the quality of life and household economies of Tbilisi and other cities and the country’s rural communities. Overcoming the poverty of Georgia’s regions remains a significant challenge, a fact which also holds true for Armenia and Azerbaijan.

Yet perhaps the most interesting aspect of Mr. Fuchs’ research was the notion of perception – despite Georgia’s growth, he found that the majority of Georgians believe that their lives will not be as financially comfortable as those of their parents. This trend was also observed in Armenia, and to a lesser extent in Azerbaijan.

The presentation was followed by a Q&A session, and copies of the book were available to be purchased after the event. ISET would like to thank the World Bank for its continued support, and for choosing to hold Mr. Fuchs’ report launch at the institute itself.