The Asian Development Bank (ADB) signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to explore the development of the Anaklia Deep Sea Port and Special Economic Zone (SEZ) in Georgia.
Strategically located between Europe and Asia, the Anaklia project is expected to be the driver for an integrated regional development program worth about $3 billion that will connect Central Asia to international markets.
“The Anaklia Port and SEZ will transform regional connectivity and trade, and it will help establish Georgia as an international logistics and business hub,” said ADB’s Central and West Asia Department Director General Mr. Werner Liepach. “ADB will mobilize its financing and advisory services to explore the regional development opportunities that are presented by this important project. We offer both sovereign and nonsovereign financing. We can facilitate large-scale financing as lead syndication agent, provide transaction advisory services, public-private partnerships, regional cooperation, and technical assistance for capacity development.”
The deep-water port will be one of the largest and most sophisticated in the Black Sea region with a handling capacity of 10,000 TEUs shipping containers. Through a linking network of road and rail, the port will also act as a gateway for landlocked neighbors in central Asia, including Armenia and Azerbaijan. The port’s surrounding hinterland will be developed into a city-sized special economic zone that will be promoted as a prime business, logistics, and investment destination.
The MOU will enable ADB and the Anaklia Port and SEZ’s developing consortium, Anaklia Development Consortium (ADC) and the Anaklia City JSC, to explore opportunities for partnership in the areas of infrastructure, human resource development, financing, and trade facilitation.
The memorandum was signed by Mr. Liepach, ADC CEO Mr. Levan Akhvlediani, and Anaklia City JSC CEO Ms. Ketevan Bochorishvili in Tbilisi.
Potential areas of cooperation identified in the MOU include the development of the infrastructure network to connect the port and SEZ to other cities and regions in Georgia and neighboring countries; public-private partnerships; policy and regulatory frameworks; urban planning; private sector development; and technical and vocational education and training for essential services in the port and the city.
“ADB’s partnership with Georgia has expanded rapidly over the last 3 years,” said ADB Country Director in Georgia Ms. Yesim Elhan-Kayalar. “This project has the potential to transform the geo-economic landscape, and we will explore support at multiple levels.”
“We are developing the first deep sea port in Georgia to become the primary transportation gateway for the landlocked countries of Caucasus and Central Asia. Infrastructure development in Georgia and neighboring countries is crucial, therefore, cooperation with ADB, the leading donor in our region, is of high importance to us,” said Mr. Akhvlediani.
“We are excited about the opportunity to expand our cooperation with ADB. Our projects will create thousands of new jobs. We want to provide education and training activities in the region to support employment opportunities for the local community,” said Ms. Bochorishvili. “In addition, we are eager to cooperate with ADB to develop Anaklia City as a modern, future-oriented project with state-of-the-art hard and soft infrastructure.”
ADB has supported Georgia since 2007 and is one of the country’s largest multilateral development partners. Sovereign and nonsovereign loans to Georgia total $2.42 billion. ADB’s key development priorities in Georgia are to foster inclusive and sustainable economic growth, reduce poverty, enhance regional connectivity, and improve public service delivery.
ADB is committed to achieving a prosperous, inclusive, resilient, and sustainable Asia and the Pacific, while sustaining its efforts to eradicate extreme poverty. Established in 1966, it is owned by 67 members—48 from the region. In 2017, ADB operations totaled $32.2 billion, including $11.9 billion in cofinancing.