I would like to give you some very important information. First of all, I want to tell you that we are starting a vast reconstruction of Zugdidi.
We were concentrating on the development of infrastructure – repairing of roads and water systems up to now, but we should never forget that Zugdidi is the center and heart of Samegrelo with its large population. That is precisely the reason we are starting to implement new infrastructural projects here.
To be more specific, the water system will be replaced in the whole city, which has been one of the main problems for Zugdidi for decades.
We are also starting the construction of a large and beautiful square, hotels and café-bars, the development of a touristic infrastructure in general.
In short, the center of Zugdidi will become one of the nicest places in Georgia.
Mestia and Svaneti, in general, as well as the whole Black Sea shore is developing and as the road towards these touristic centers runs through here, Zugdidi will acquire one of the most important functions for tourists and will become a comfortable city for its residents as well.
The rehabilitation works are to begin here tomorrow.
Instead of the old stadium, there will be a new one, “Ingiri”, built here. We will also build other sports complexes. You know that I have promised to build an Olympic standard skating area for the children of Zugdidi. Although it is true that investors have postponed this several times, we will do this with own resources and will honestly fulfill our promise.
I believe that Zudgigi will be the nicest city after the reconstruction work is finished, while living here will be comfortable and something that everyone will be proud of. The second issue concerns a new initiative which will be important not only for us or for you, but for every region of Georgia. You know that a great deal of attention is paid to the development of the seashore all around the world. 80 percent of new commercial, trade and industrial centers are being developed along seashores.
Traditionally, this is the case around the world and Georgia will not be an exception in this regard. That is exactly how Kolkheti, the old Georgian kingdom, developed back then and it is from those that the myths that concern us originated.
Precisely this had been the identity of Georgia for millennia. Georgia is in a very good position today. The credit ratings are being downgraded all over the world. While Georgia is the only non-oil producing country whose credit rating is being upgraded. Hence, there is an opportunity for investments to be made here.
According to all the major studies we are the number one country across the world in the fight against corruption. Similarly, according to the World Bank data in terms of economy, we are the number one reformer country.
Based on the international studies, we can say that after New Zealand, we have the second most efficient administrative system in the world.
We are the safest country in Europe, which would have been unimaginable a few years ago.
In a nutshell, Georgia has all the features for huge investments to be made here and for us to have a large trade turnover. There are many jobs, a large industry, huge logistical centers and all that we are good at to be developed here, especially in Samegrelo.
We thought a lot about how to achieve this and decided to found a large new city between Alaklia and Kulevi, which will be called Lazika. Lazika will be the second largest city after Tbilisi which based on my forecast, will have at minimum of a half a million residents in 10 years. It will become the main trading and economic center in Western Georgia and the main center on the entire Black Sea coast.
We will start substantial work along Anaklia beginning in the spring of next year for building a new port. The favorable natural conditions of deep water and a great canyon are perfect for building a maritime port. We will build roads and replace water systems everywhere. We will drain the swamped areas as well – there is only one such place and it will not be a problem to dry it out.
We will employ several thousand people in building a new city next year. We will also announce a competition for Georgian as well as foreign architects.
We have built extraordinary buildings in Batumi and it is becoming the nicest city today. Poti is developing very rapidly as well – the free economic zone is expanding and a large airport is being built which will serve the entire western Georgia vicinity, including our new city, Lazika.
Our aim is to unite the results of the reconstruction of Poti, Batumi, Zugdidi, Kutaisi and all other large cities of Georgia into one large centre, into Western Georgia, together with the largest city of Samegrelo – Lazika.
All of this will enable us to forget about poverty once and for all.
We need a big breakthrough in order for us not to have poverty here anymore.
We were developing rapidly, and Georgia has the highest economic growth in the region this year also, but we still have a long way to go to reach our set goal, as we had a very low growth rate for years.
We have already started negotiations with several large investments groups from Europe and Asia to invest money into the building of a new city. I would like to call on each Georgian, including the ones that are abroad and those that are displaced from Abkhazia to participate and build the new pride of Georgia, a new city together with us. Lazika will be built like no other city has in a single short period of Georgian history.
It will happen here – in western Georgia, here – on the Black Seashore and here – near the heart of Samegrelo, an extension to Zugdidi.
Thus, there are vast constructions ahead of us and we have significant plans to implement.
This is something we have begun work on. Remember that we always do what we say we will. No one would imagine that two years ago anything could be done in Anaklia. The best aqua park will be here next summer; there will be lots of amusement activities and two big hotels built.
No one would have imagined that there could be anything done in Svaneti. Everything will be very impressive there this year, but especially in two years. We are building a new ski resort on Tetnuldi, where a lot of people will be employed.
Look at how the different regions of Samegrelo are developing. The autobahn connected here from Tbilisi, which is important not only country wide but it connects to Istanbul, as well as the Baku autobahn. Similarly important is the fast railway, which connects to Asia. In other words, we are in the centre of all of this.
More than ever before we need educated people today and to achieve that we need to build schools, which will be equipped with computerized classrooms. We are creating and will have the best universities next year.
Basically, we need to make a leap, which is made possible through carefully planned and well calculated vast reconstruction.
What do you think, why did Russia hit us in Abkhazia? Because they knew that the greatest prospect in terms of opportunities, education for people and economic development was in Abkhazia.
This fact has basically broken through the backbone of Georgia.
Despite all of this, we will create a new city, which will be a solid foundation of the fact that Georgia will by all means regain its territories. The existence of Georgia is certainly inconceivable without Abkhazia, but for this we need development and action.
We will certainly have the opportunity to restore our own positions and retain the current ones.
For this, constant development, constant action and constant progress are needed.
This is what I wanted to talk to you about today and I thank you very much for your attention.