On April 27, 2016, the Paulson Institute hosted a private breakfast roundtable for the Prime Minister of Georgia, Giorgi Kvirikashvili. After concluding his official program in Washington, the Prime Minister was in Chicago as part of his first official tour of the United States since being appointed on December 30, 2015. No stranger to Chicago as a finance graduate of the University of Illinois, Kvirikashvili has served in many pivotal roles in Tbilisi, including Economy Minister, Foreign Minister, and Deputy Prime Minister. He is also a former banking executive and businessman. As Georgia’s new head of government, Prime Minister Kvirkashvili came to the Institute and Chicago to discuss US-Georgia relations, his country’s continuing integration into the Euro-Atlantic partnership, and Georgia’s investment climate and economic goals.
Participants also discussed with Prime Minister Kvirikashvili Georgia’s economic relationship with China, a rapidly growing direct investor in the South Caucasus. Georgia is uniquely positioned as a potential transit point for land-based trade between Asia and Europe and is also a potential services and tourism hub for its wider region. The country lies astride the shortest east-west overland trade route. So the Prime Minister offered participants a perspective on his government’s approach to east-west trade along the so-called “new Silk Road” corridor and Tbilisi’s relationship with various investment partners.
Prime Minister Kvirikashvili was joined at the Institute breakfast by a top-level Georgian delegation that included: Dimitry Kumsishvili, Vice Prime Minister and Minister of the Economy and Sustainable Development; Mikheil Janelidze, Minister of Foreign Affairs; Tedo Japaridze, Head of the Foreign Relations Committee of Parliament; Archil Gegeshidze, Ambassador to the United States; Giorgi Tsikolia, Envoy to the United States; Giorgi Pertaia, Director of the National Investment Agency; and Mamuka Bakhtadze, CEO of Georgian Railways.