Kutaisi, Georgia, 20 August 2019 – Kutaisi City Municipality recently welcomed a colleague from Delft, the Netherlands, who travelled to Georgia on a 5-day Staff Exchange Mission in order to help Kutaisi design an Investment Portfolio – one of the essential components of Kutaisi’s Local Economic Development Plan (LEDP).
The Staff Exchange visitor from the Netherlands, Mr Gido Ten Dolle, who leads Delft’s Urban and Economic Development portfolio, met members of Kutaisi’s Municipality and City Assembly as well as representatives of the private sector, industrial zones and higher education institutions. Their discussions focused upon Kutaisi’s opportunities for urban and economic development, and Mr Ten Dolle shared his experience of policy strategies and economic growth.
Through its Local Economic Development Plan, Kutaisi seeks to attract investors, raise the city's international profile and develop an inclusive economy. Encouraged and inspired by the 5-day exchange programme, the city’s municipality introduced a draft Investment Portfolio in order to achieve these goals according to a new vision focusing upon the promotion of tourism, industrial zones and higher education. Kutaisi expects to adopt a definitive version of this Portfolio by the end of 2019.
Ms Nino Tvalavadze, Kutaisi’s Deputy Mayor, stated that ‘It was very important for Kutaisi to participate in the M4EG Staff Exchange Programme. We are working on an economic development plan for our city, and at this stage we are seeking professional advice to promote Kutaisi as an investment opportunity. The City of Delft developed its own investment portfolio with the help of its university sector. We have similar opportunities in this regard, and Mr Ten Dolle’s expertise was therefore particularly interesting and fruitful.’
In turn, Mr Gido Ten Dolle, Delft’s Urban and Economic Development Director, noted that ‘We can look back at a very intensive week during which we visited many different places and sites, and held intensive discussions with Kutaisi’s Deputy Major, with several Members of Parliament and with representatives of employers’ organisations and higher educational institutions. We spoke a lot about the best methods to design an investment portfolio, and I am sure that we have identified some key ideas for further action. Kutaisi has great potential for further investments, but in order to be successful the challenge is to focus and set some clear priorities.’
In his assessment of the exchange visit, Mr Zviad Archuadze, M4EG Country Coordinator for Georgia and Azerbaijan, declared that ‘Kutaisi was already the 2nd signatory from Georgia to participate in M4EG’s Staff Exchange Programme this year. We are very glad that the Programme is continuing to run smoothly and effectively and that the meetings in Kutaisi have been so productive. Thanks to the Staff Exchange Programme’s meetings and sharing of experience, Kutaisi will soon adopt a new investment portfolio capable of contributing to the city’s economic growth.’
Launched as part of the EU’s ‘Mayors for Economic Growth’ (M4EG) initiative, the Staff Exchange Programme sends municipal staff members from EU countries to selected signatories in order to share their experience and render assistance. Kutaisi is the second municipality in Georgia to participate in the M4EG Staff Exchange Programme this year; earlier, in July, a Polish delegation from the town of Kostrzyn visited Baghdati Municipality in order to help their Georgian colleagues further promote Baghdati as a tourism destination.