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Georgian Investment on Target to Exceed $1 Billion, Gilauri Says

May 31 (Bloomberg) -- Georgia’s first-quarter foreign direct investment grew as much as 33 percent from a year earlier, a “good sign” that FDI flows will exceed $1 billion in 2012, said Prime Minister Nika Gilauri.

The European Fund for Southeast Europe is willing to provide as much as $40 million for micro-financing and small-business loans in the Black Sea nation after previously contributing $70 million, Gilauri said today in an interview in the Georgian capital, Tbilisi. The EFSE is a public-private partnership supported by European governments, private investors and international financial institutions.

Georgia’s debt relative to economic output is at 28 percent and falling, Gilauri said. The $14.4 billion economy grew a preliminary 7 percent in 2011, according to the statistics office. Gross domestic product rose 8.8 percent from a year earlier in the fourth quarter.

The former Soviet republic received nearly $1 billion in foreign investment last year, Gilauri said. The government has targeted and failed to reach the $1 billion threshold in each of the last two years as it recovered from a five-day war with neighboring Russia in August 2008 over the breakaway Georgian region of South Ossetia.

To contact the reporter on this story: Helena Bedwell in Tbilisi at hbedwell@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Balazs Penz at bpenz@bloomberg.net

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