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Roman Gotsiridze: “It is a manipulation that we are number one in Europe after Ireland in terms of economic growth.”

Verdict: FactCheck concludes that Roman Gotsiridze’s statement is TRUE.

Resume: The authorities often speak about double-digit economic growth to show Georgia as a leader. However, the high economic growth rate in 2021 is largely stipulated by the base effect which is referred to in Georgia’s political or expert community as the “spring effect.” As compared to 2019, Georgia’s economic recovery performance is not really impressive. FactCheck has written about this issue in the past.

In accordance with the World Bank’s data in the pandemic year of 2020, the economy of Ireland increased by 5.9% whilst Georgia’s economy dropped by 6.8%. In 2021, Ireland’s economy continued growth whilst the economic recovery process started in Georgia. In line with the forecasts for November 2021, Ireland’s economy will grow by 14.6% whilst Georgia’s economy will grow by 10.5%. Therefore, Ireland’s economic growth constitutes roughly 22% as compared to the pre-pandemic period whilst Georgia’s economic growth would be 3%. In terms of economic recovery, Georgia is outperformed by Ireland, Serbia, Estonia, Luxembourg and Lithuania in Europe as compared to 2019. Therefore, FactCheck concludes that Roman Gotsiridze’s statement is TRUE.

Analysis

On 18 December 2021, United National Movement member, Roman Gotsiridze, made the following publication on Facebook: “It is a manipulation that we are number one in Europe after Ireland in terms of economic growth. Ireland’s economy increased by 14.5% this year. This growth is not because of the base effect; that is, yesteryear’s decline. It is real growth. Last year, despite the pandemic, Ireland’s economy increased by 5.9% (Georgia’s economy dropped by 6.8%).” This publication is one of many which Roman Gotsiridze made to offer his commentary on various statements made by the Georgian Prime Minister, Irakli Gharibashvili.

FactCheck decided to verify accuracy of the statement.

Many high-level government officials, including the Prime Minister, Irakli Gharibashvili, often talked about unprecedented double-digit economic growth in the course of 2021 which “makes Georgia a leader both in Europe and across the world.” However, the high economic growth rate in 2021 is largely stipulated by the base effect which is referred to in Georgia’s political or expert community as the “spring effect.” Given stringent economic restrictions, Georgia’s economy decreased by 6.8% in 2020. Therefore, it is important to note that the economic growth figures are high in essence but this is not because of technical/mathematical reasons similar to the growth in 2021.

The International Monetary Fund’s October 2021 report needs to be taken into account for a better understanding of this situation. According to this report, Georgia is number one in Europe after Ireland in terms of forecasts of economic growth whilst the same report states that Georgia is outperformed by Ireland, Serbia, Estonia, Luxembourg and Lithuania in terms of economic recovery as compared to 2019.

Graph 1: Economic Growth Rates of Georgia and Ireland, 2017-2021

Source: World Bank

In accordance with the World Bank’s data, Ireland’s economy increased by 5.9% in the pandemic year of 2020 whilst Georgia’s economy dropped by 6.8%. In 2021, Ireland’s economy continued growth whilst Georgia’s economic recovery process only started. According to the International Monetary Fund’s forecast, Ireland’s economy will grow by 14.6% whilst according to the Georgian Government forecasts, Georgia’s economy will grow by 10.5%. Therefore, Ireland’s economic growth constitutes roughly 22% as compared to the pre-pandemic period whilst Georgia’s economic growth would be only 3%.

Editor’s Remark: At time of this article’s publication, December 2021’s annual inflation figures are not yet available. Therefore, all calculations are true vis-à-vis the time of publication.


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18%
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10%
Manipulation
8%
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7%

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