Georgia

Map of Georgia
Map of Georgia

Georgia is a country in the Caucasus region of Eurasia. Situated at the juncture of Eastern Europe and Western Asia, it is bounded to the west by the Black Sea, to the north by Russia, to the south by Turkey and Armenia, and to the east by Azerbaijan. Georgia covers a territory of 69,700 km² and its population is 4,615,807 (July 2009 est.).

Georgia's economy sustained GDP growth of more than 10% in 2006-07, based on strong inflows of foreign investment and robust government spending. However, GDP growth slowed to 2% in 2008 following the August 2008 conflict with Russia, and the economy contracted by nearly 5% in 2009 as foreign direct investment and workers' remittances declined in the wake of the global financial crisis. Georgia's main economic activities include the cultivation of agricultural products such as grapes, citrus fruits, and hazelnuts; mining of manganese and copper; and output of a small industrial sector producing alcoholic and nonalcoholic beverages, metals, machinery, aircraft and chemicals. Areas of recent improvement include growth in the construction, banking services, and mining sectors, but reduced availability of external investment and the slowing regional economy are emerging risks. The country imports nearly all its needed supplies of natural gas and oil products. It has sizeable hydropower capacity, a growing component of its energy supplies. Georgia has overcome the chronic energy shortages and gas supply interruptions of the past by renovating hydropower plants and by increasingly relying on natural gas imports from Azerbaijan instead of from Russia. The construction on the Baku-T'bilisi-Ceyhan oil pipeline, the Baku-T'bilisi-Erzerum gas pipeline, and the Kars-Akhalkalaki Railroad are part of a strategy to capitalize on Georgia's strategic location between Europe and Asia and develop its role as a transit point for gas, oil and other goods.

Batumi is a seaside city on the Black Sea coast and capital of Adjara, an autonomous republic in southwest Georgia. It has a population of 121,806 (2002 census).

Batumi, with its large port and commercial center, is also the last stop of the Transcaucasian Railway and the Baku oil pipeline. It is situated some 20 km from the Turkish border, in a subtropical zone, rich in citrus fruit and tea. Industries included shipbuilding, food processing, and light manufacturing.

Batumi today is the main port of Georgia. It has the capacity for 80,000-tonne tankers to take materials such as oil. This oil originates from Azerbaijan and is shipped all over the world. Smaller oil exports also come from Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan. Additionally the city exports regional agricultural products. Since 1995 the freight conversion of the port has constantly risen, with an approximate 8 million tonnes in 2001. The annual revenue from the port is estimated at between $200 million and $300 million.

Since the change of power in Ajara, Batumi has attracted several international investors with real estate prices in the city trebling since 2001. Kazakh investors have reportedly invested $100 million to purchase more than 20 hotels in the Ajara region of Georgia. Construction of a number of new hotels will be launched in Ajara’s Black Sea resorts starting from 2007.