On 29 November 2016, on air on the talk show, Archevani,

the Speaker of the Parliament of Georgia, Irakli Kobakhidze, stated: “If we look at the economic development parameters, we will see that we are one of the leaders in the region, even though the economic growth rate is not optimal. This is also stipulated by the regional context. We are one of the leaders in terms of economic growth rate.”

FactCheck

verified the accuracy of Irakli Kobakhidze’s statement.

Information about the economic parameters of different countries is published by the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank. FactCheck

’s analysis in this article is based upon their data.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) groups Georgia with the nations of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS).[1]

According to the October estimates of the IMF, the total economy of the CIS countries dropped by 0.2% in 2016 which is 2.5% more as compared to the number registered in 2015 (-2.7%). It is estimated that the economic growth rate will be 1.4% in 2017.

According to the IMF’s data, Georgia’s economy grew by 2.8% in 2015 which is an average figure as compared to the economic growth rates of other CIS countries. In 2015, Armenia, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan had higher economic growth rates as compared to Georgia. As of the 2016 estimate, Georgia’s economic growth rate decelerated and constitutes 2.7% although it managed to retain its existing position. According to the 2017 estimate, Georgia will improve its positions among CIS countries and outperform Armenia in terms of economic growth to be 4th 

on the list.

Table 1:

 Real GDP Percentage Change in CIS Countries in 2015-2017

2015 2016 2017
Azerbaijan 1,1 -2,4 1,4
Belarus -3,9 -3 -0,5
Turkmenistan -6,5 5,3 5,4
Moldova -0,5 2 3
Russia -3,7 -0,8 1
Georgia 2,8 2,7 4
Armenia 3 3,2 3,4
Tajikistan 6 6 4,5
Uzbekistan 8 6 6
Ukraine -9,9 1,5 2,5
Kazakhstan 1,2 -0,8 0,6
Kyrgyzstan 3,5 2,2 2,3
Source: International Monetary Fund  

Considering Georgia’s choice to pursue a course of Euro-Atlantic integration, we will also look at the situation concerning Eastern European countries. Based on the IMF’s data, the economy of Eastern Europe grew by 3.5% in 2015, 3.2% in 2016 and is forecast to grow by 3.1% in 2017.

The graph below clearly illustrates that Georgia’s 2015 economic growth rate is a low figure for the Eastern Europe region. With a 2.8% economic growth rate, Georgia outperforms only Croatia and Serbia and occupies the 9th

place together with Albania. According to the 2016 prognosis, Georgia’s position is set to improve vis-à-vis Eastern European countries whilst the real GDP growth by 2017, as announced by the Government of Georgia, exceeds the expected economic growth of each Eastern European country which puts Georgia into a lead position. In his statement, however, Irakli Kobakhidze, was talking about the present situation and not future estimates.

Graph 1: 

Real GDP Percentage Change in Eastern European Countries in 2015-2017

კო Source: International Monetary Fund

According to the World Bank, Georgia is in the European and Central Asian group of countries. The total combined real GDP of the region dropped by 0.1% in 2015. As per June estimates, the economy will grow by 1.2% in 2016 whilst the economic growth rate will be 2.5% according to the 2017 prognosis.

According to 2015 data, the change in Georgia’s real GDP is relatively low which gives Georgia the 15th position in the World Bank ranking. According to 2016 estimates, Georgia’s position improved as it moves to the 12th place in the ranking. If the economy grows by 4% as announced by the Government of Georgia, the country will take the 4th

position together with Moldova, Kosovo and Macedonia and become one of the leaders in the region.

Table 2: 

Real GDP Percentage Change in Eastern Europe and Central Asia Countries in 2015-2017

2015 2016 2017
Azerbaijan 1,1 -1,9 0,7
Albania 2,6 3,2 3,5
Belarus -3,9 -3,0 -1,0
Bosnia and Herzegovina 3,2 2,6 3,1
Bulgaria 3,0 2,2 2,7
Turkey 4,0 3,5 3,5
Turkmenistan 6,5 5,0 5,0
Kosovo 3,6 3,6 4,0
Macedonia 3,7 3,7 4,0
Moldova -0,5 0,5 4,0
Montenegro 3,4 3,7 3,1
Poland 3,6 3,7 3,5
Romania 3,7 4,0 3,7
Russia -3,7 -1,2 1,4
Georgia 2,8 2,7 4,0
Serbia 0,8 1,8 2,3
Armenia 3,0 1,9 2,8
Tajikistan 4,2 4,0 4,8
Uzbekistan 8,0 7,3 7,2
Ukraine -9,9 1,0 2,0
Hungary 2,9 2,6 2,4
Kazakhstan 1,2 0,1 1,9
Kyrgyzstan 3,5 3,4 3,1
Croatia 1,6 1,9 2,0
Source: World Bank

Conclusion According to the International Monetary Fund, in the combined list of CIS and Eastern European countries, Georgia was in the 13th place of 24 countries in terms of economic growth rates in 2015. The 2016 estimate indicates that the situation remains the same as Georgia with its 2.7% real GDP growth rate is outperformed by 12 countries. According to the 2017 prognosis, Georgia (4.0% economic growth rate) is in the 4th position after Uzbekistan (6.0%), Turkmenistan (5.4%) and Tajikistan (4.5%). The results are the same if we consult the World Bank data (Georgia was in the 14th place in 2015, 12th place in 2016 and is forecast to take the 4th 

position in 2017).

Therefore, in line with real GDP growth rates in 2015 and 2016, Georgia is in an average or below average position in the region. However, based on the 2017 prognosis, Georgia should become one of the leaders in the region.

FactCheck concludes that Irakli Kobakhidze’s statement is MOSTLY FALSE.

[1] Since 2008, Georgia has suspended its membership in the CIS.

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