The Dubai of the Black Sea?

by Marc W on 4/15/2008 · 4 comments

It’s a slow afternoon at work, so I figured I’d put up another post. I did a quick Google news search on Georgia, and most of the stories are related to yesterday’s UN Security Council session that discussed Abkhazia. None of the articles have much of anything to say, so I’m not going to bother talking about it. All of the articles I found were from either Georgian or Russian sources, and so I’m pretty skeptical about their objectivity. The short version appears to be that the UN will keep its presence there for the time being, and Russia is still stirring the pot. The endgame will presumably be a considerable amount of autonomy for both Abkhazia and South Ossetia, though I doubt they’ll achieve full independence.

What really caught my eye, however, was this article from Agence France Press. Apparently a UAE investment fund has signed a deal to invest over $100mil into turning the Georgian port city of Poti into a major development center. Thus spoke Saakashvili: “My vision is to turn Georgia into the Dubai or Singapore of this region,” Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili said in televised comments. “This new port and the free industrial zone will become a Georgian economic miracle.”

Color me skeptical, to say the least. I recently read Oracle Bones, which amongst other topics talked about life in some of the free economic zones in China. Foreign companies (Taiwanese in this case) set up shop, treat the employees like crap, and then ship all of the profits back home. As soon as a better deal opens up, they move on, and leave behind a slum. From my readings about Russia, the same thing has more or less happened to their various attempts at setting up free-trade zones.

Still, best of luck to Poti, which as near as I can tell hasn’t been in the news since the days of the Golden Fleece.

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Joshua Foust April 15, 2008 at 10:43 pm

A potty resort?

… (crickets) …

I’m sorry, I couldn’t help myself.

Seyitbek April 16, 2008 at 12:55 am

You are absolutely wrong Marc. You ignore how China and India are developing right now and how the countries that Saakashvilli wishes to emulate have developed. Result? Double digit growths- improving living standards and longer lives for citizens overall.

Seyitbek April 16, 2008 at 12:57 am

This is also a signal of the investors into the stability of Georgia’s political, economic system. Tell them to come to Kyrgyzstan, no major non-natural resources will even consider.

Georgia should rightly be proud, very.

Oldschool Boy April 16, 2008 at 12:21 pm

I love Georgians and wish them all the best! Of course 100mil is not very much (comparing for instance with 50bil for construction of City of Rabigh in Saudi Arabia, or 10bil in Aktau City in Kazakhstan) but it is good for the beginning.
I believe that Poty can develop into a major center.
By the way, investrment companies from Asian and Arabic countries now become more and more active in investing in the developing World, in this case in the former USSR coutries, while western companies are getting behind. I’ve recently read an article about it. I know that some Kazakh money have already been invested into Georgia. It means that people believe in Georgia.

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