The development of the ICT (Information and Communications Technology) service sector is one of the strategic priorities for the Georgian economy. The sector is characterized by the unique potential to contribute to the country’s long-term growth, create positive productivity spillovers into other industries, and, in the longer term, transform the existing industrial structure of Georgia by moving away from primary production and primary exports.
We were thrilled to see Salome Gelashvili, head of the ISET-PI Agricultural Policy Research Center (APRC), actively participate in a UNDP Georgia online discussion. During the virtual roundtable (entitled Local Economic Development and Business Friendly Environment for Municipalities), a variety of notable international speakers, particularly utilizing Czech expertise, came together to consider business development, combatting the rural-urban divide, and the effect of COVID-19 on the informal sector.
In a recent ISET Economist blog post, Luc Leruth explores the notion of a spatial fracture in Georgia. He wonders whether people will become accustomed to working remotely, with the COVID crisis having given them this fresh opportunity. If so, this could help decrease the strain on Tbilisi infrastructure by slowing down migration to the capital. Will COVID, unexpectedly, convince people to continue working remotely and settle outside Tbilisi in the countryside?
World economies hampered by the pandemic; countries facing public healthcare crises, with millions killed by COVID-19; thousands of cities under lockdown; social distancing and transformed social practices; countless institutions functioning online; the youth spending endless days and nights in front of computer screens; and, globally, over a year of online education. This is the reality in many countries around the world, including Georgia, in the spring of 2021.
The COVID-19 pandemic has changed our lives and perceptions in many important ways: the value we put on face-to-face interactions, the importance of personal space, communication with loved ones, and much more. Some of these perceptions and social changes may actually outlive the pandemic.