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New ADB Country Director Looks Forward To Enhancing Partnership

The new Asian Development Bank (ADB) Country Director for Georgia, Yesim Elhan-Kayalar, assumed office today, and said she will strive to enhance ADB’s support for Georgia to foster inclusive and sustainable growth, and to strengthen regional connectivity.

“ADB and the Government of Georgia have forged a strong partnership for enhancing infrastructure and service delivery to the people of Georgia through public sector support and private sector development initiatives since 2007,” said Ms. Elhan-Kayalar. “I look forward to building on these achievements as the portfolio grows in collaboration with our key stakeholders in Georgia.”

Under its current Country Partnership Strategy (CPS) with Georgia for 2014-2018, ADB provides support for roads; energy; water supply and sanitation infrastructure and service delivery; public sector management; private sector development; financial sector deepening and financial inclusion; good governance; gender equality; and knowledge solutions.

Earlier this year, ADB approved a $75 million program to assist the government’s reforms on resource utilization, and issued the first Georgian lari-denominated bonds, raising GEL100 million to support the development of the Georgian capital market and small businesses. Georgia became a member of ADB in 2007, and the portfolio has grown rapidly with $1.6 billion in loan approvals as of 31 December 2014. Financing for the current CPS is estimated at $1.0 billion.

Prior to her current appointment, Ms. Elhan-Kayalar led the public management portfolio of ADB in 10 central and west Asian countries. She has over 25 years of work experience in development agencies, the private sector, and academia in 27 countries.

Ms. Elhan-Kayalar has a PhD in economics from the University of California, and qualifications in finance and management from Harvard University and University of Michigan. She has published in, and taught, economics and finance, and has led research on behavioral finance and competitiveness policy.

ADB, based in Manila, is dedicated to reducing poverty in Asia and the Pacific through inclusive economic growth, environmentally sustainable growth, and regional integration. Established in 1966, it is owned by 67 members—48 from the region. In 2014, ADB assistance totaled $22.9 billion, including cofinancing of $9.2 billion.