Tbilisi, Georgia, March 23, 2010—IFC,
a member of the World Bank Group, is partnering with one of the world’s
leading energy companies, BP, and its oil and gas co-venturers, and the
Austrian Ministry of Finance to launch a new project to improve food safety
practices in Georgia, boosting competitiveness, exports, investments, the
economy, and public health.
Currently, food products that could
be produced in Georgia, a country with rich agricultural traditions, are
being imported, with imports exceeding exports by about eight fold, according
to Georgian Ministry of Economic Development. The lack of appropriate food
safety standards in the country is one of the reasons hampering exports
and one of the main issues for the free trade agreement now being negotiated
with the European Union.
“Despite great potential, economic
liberalization, and recent reforms in the business environment, there is
still a lot to be done to foster the development of agribusiness in Georgia,”
said Snezana Stoiljkovic, IFC Director for Central and Eastern Europe.
“We are happy to use IFC’s international experience and transfer best
practices to stimulate broader implementation of food safety management
systems, reducing food borne diseases, and helping the country become a
part of the global food chain.”
As part of IFC’s regional strategy
focused on agribusiness, the new IFC Georgia Food Safety Improvement Project
will facilitate access to markets for local food processors by increasing
awareness of food safety issues and solutions, piloting implementation
of a food safety management system with clients to build local consultants’
food safety capacity, improving national food safety legislation,
and building the capacity of the country’s regulators to follow
international best practice.
Neil Dunn, General Manager for BP in
Georgia, said, “Safety is BP’s top priority in all our operations worldwide.
We believe that the Food Safety Improvement Project, will not only increase
awareness of food safety issues and bring practical solutions to Georgia’s
food processing sector, but will also develop long-term socio-economic
benefits for the people of Georgia.”
IFC is the only international financial
institution focused exclusively on the private sector, the engine of sustainable
development in emerging markets. Along with IBRD, it is currently seeking
a capital increase to strengthen its ability to create opportunity for
the poor in developing countries - including by helping food producing
companies improve their food safety practices fostering their competitiveness.
IFC, a member of the World Bank Group,
creates opportunity for people to escape poverty and improve their lives.
We foster sustainable economic growth in developing countries by supporting
private sector development, mobilizing private capital, and providing advisory
and risk mitigation services to businesses and governments. Our new investments
totaled $14.5 billion in fiscal 2009, helping channel capital into developing
countries during the financial crisis. For more information, visit www.ifc.org.
For more information about BP, please
For more information about Austrian
Ministry of Finance, please visit: http://english.bmf.gv.at.