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On 22 September 2015, on air on Rustavi 2, a member of the Georgian Dream coalition, Zviad Dzidziguri, stated that Georgia’s economic growth rate is one of the best in the region and is better than the economic growth rates of Azerbaijan and Turkey, let alone those of Russia, Ukraine and Armenia. According to Mr Dzidziguri, under such regional circumstances, a 2% economic growth rate is not a bad result.

FactCheck

verified the accuracy of the statement.

Zviad Dzidziguri named Georgia’s neighbouring countries whilst talking about the region’s economic growth rate and so we looked into the economic growth rates for the first months of 2015 in Georgia and the geographical neighbourhood. Preliminary data on economic growth ratesfor the period January-August 2015 is already available (see Table 1). The Georgian economy grew by 2.8% in this periodand is higher than that of Russia and Ukraine but not of any other neighbouring country.

Azerbaijan’s economy is heavily dependent upon oil export and so falling oil prices has a negative impact upon its economy.  In spite of this, Azerbaijan’s economy grew

by 7.3% in January-August 2015. Even though Armenia is more heavily dependent upon the Russian economy, this year’s growth rate of the Armenian economyis higher than that of Georgia. Additionally, notwithstanding the serious challenges facing Turkey (political crisis, fight against the Islamic State, more than two million refugees from Syria, terrorist attacks), the Turkish economy is growing faster than the Georgian economy.

Table 1:

 Economic Growth Rate in the Period of January-August 2015

Country January-August 2015
Azerbaijan 4.2%
Armenia 3.9%
Turkey (2 quarters) 3.8%
Georgia 2.8%
Russia -3.5%
Ukraine (2 quarters) -16%

On 7 October 2015, the International Monetary Fund updated the annual economic growth prognosis for its 188 member states. The prognosis for Georgia’s economic growth rate remained the same at 2%. Based upon this prognosis, Georgia ranks 127th

among the 188 countries. Georgia’s economic growth rate is estimated to be 3% in 2016.

According to the data of the International Monetary Fund, Azerbaijan’s economy will grow by 4% in 2015, Turkey’s economy will grow by 3% in 2015 and Armenia’s economy will grow by 2.5% in 2015. Again, of the neighbouring countries, Georgia’s economic growth rate is only higher thanthose of Russia and Ukraine. Russia’s economy will shrink by 3.8% this year. If we look at the regional picture, we have to compare Georgia’s economic growth rate to the analogous data of the larger group of countries. Even though Georgia, similar to Ukraine, is not a member of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), the International Monetary Fund groups Georgia and Ukraine with the member states of the CIS. In the CIS region, Georgia, together with Kyrgyzstan, is ranked in the 6thand 7th

places, respectively, based upon their economic growth rates. The highest economic growth rate (8.5%) will be registered in Turkmenistan whilst Ukraine will have the worst economic performance as its economy is expected to shrink by 9% in 2015.

Table 2: 

Economic Growth Rate (%) in the CIS Region

Country 2015 2016
1 Turkmenistan 8.5 8.9
2 Uzbekistan 6.8 7.0
3 Azerbaijan 4.0 2.5
4 Tajikistan 3.0 3.4
5 Armenia 2.5 2.2
6 Kyrgyzstan 2.0 3.6
7 Georgia 2.0 3.0
8 Kazakhstan 1.5 2.4
9 Moldova -1.0 1.5
10 Belarus -3.6 -2.2
11 Russia -3.8 -0.6
12 Ukraine -9.0 2.0
Source: International Monetary Fund

According to the classification of the World Bank, Georgia belongs to the region of the developing countries of Eastern Europe and Central Asia. This means that 12 Eastern European countries are added to the group of CIS member states. If we look at the picture of the economic growth rates of the different countries from the Eastern European developing countries region, we will see the following:  Georgia ranks 10th 

from the 13 countries. Of note is that compared to the economies of these 12 countries, Georgia’s economy is less developed and, therefore, has a higher potential to achieve a faster economic growth rate.

Table 3:

Economic Growth Rate in Eastern European Developing Countries

Country 2015 2016
1 Poland 3.5 3.5
2 Romania 3.4 3.9
3 Montenegro 3.2 4.9
4 Kosovo 3.2 3.8
5 Macedonia 3.2 3.2
6 Turkey 3.0 2.9
7 Hungary 3.0 2.5
8 Albania 2.7 3.4
9 Bosnia and Herzegovina 2.1 3.0
10 Georgia 2.0 3.0
11 Bulgaria 1.7 1.9
12 Croatia 0.8 1.0
13 Serbia 0.5 1.5
Source: International Monetary Fund

Since 2013, Georgia’s economic growth rate has significantly decreased. The economic growth rate was 6.4% in 2012 and 3.3% in 2013. The year 2014 was relatively better and Georgia registered a 4.8% growth of its economy. However, since 2015, the economic growth rate has dropped again (see Graph 1).

Graph 1: 

Georgia’s Economic Growth Rate

image001 Source: National Statistics Office of Georgia

Conclusion

According to the data of the first eight months of 2015, Georgia does not have the "best" economic growth rate as compared to its neighbouring countries. Moreover, Georgia’s economic growth rate is lower than the economic growth rates of Turkey, Azerbaijan and Armenia. Georgia’s economic growth rate is only higher thanthose of Russia and Ukraine. It is important to underscore that the economic crisis in Russia has a greater negative influence upon Armenia, Azerbaijan is seriously suffering from falling oil prices and Turkey has multiple serious challenges to meet.

According to the prognosis of the International Monetary Fund, Georgia’s economy will grow by 2% in 2015, Azerbaijan’s economy will grow by 4% in 2015, Turkey’s economy will grow by 3% in 2015 and Armenia’s economy will grow by 2.5% in 2015. If we look at the regional picture, five countries from the CIS region have higher economic growth rates than Georgia whilst in the Eastern European developing countries region Georgia ranks behind nine countries from the total of 13.

Therefore, FactCheck concludes that Zviad Dzidziguri’s statement is FALSE.

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