The FINANCIAL -- The volume of remittances sent to Georgia remains the main source of funding, exceeding FDI. Russia leads the list, followed by Greece and Turkey.
The volume of remittances sent to Georgia remains the main source of funding, exceeding FDI. During the first half of 2014 money transfers amounted to USD 697,357,400, up from USD 669,040,800 in the prior-year period. The largest share of money transfers comes from Russia, where the majority of Georgian emigrants reside.
The Georgian Diaspora in the Russian Federation is engaged in both small and large business. Small businesses are mainly involved in trade and food services, according to the Economic Policy Research Institute which investigated the businesses of ethnic Georgians abroad.
The list of the most significant Georgian Diaspora entrepreneurs doing business in Russia includes: Merab Elashvili, involved in a restaurant chain and distribution; Mindia Gulua - restaurant chains, services, real estate; Mikheil Khubutia, restaurant chain, real estate, chain of gun stores; Soso Orjonikidze - road construction, oil; Gia Gvichia - beer factories; Aleksandre Ebralidze - gambling, construction, manufacturing, development, trade, banking, transport; Valeri Meladze - involved in banking, entertainment; Levan Vasadze - running finance and insurance; Konstantine Mirilashvili - meat and sugar; Badri Kakabadze - food processing; Lev Partskhaladze - construction; Aleksandre Japaridze - running an oil business; and Shalva Chigirinski - involved in oil and gas.
Despite the reduction of transfers from Russia, this country still remains the leader in terms of remittances. The total volume of inflow in 2014 from Russia amounted to USD 347,193,100, down from the USD 358,430,500 as of the first six months of 2013.
The Russian Federation is followed by Greece. USD 102,627,300 has been sent from Greece this year; the sum was USD 91,410,700 in the same period of the previous year. Inflow from Italy amounted to USD 60,362,300, which is over USD 8 million more than in 2013. The volume of transfers from the USA totalled USD 37,443,900, up from the USD 35,837,100 in the first half of 2013.
The Georgian Diaspora has emerged in Greece mainly due to ethnic conflicts and social, political and economic issues of Georgia. According to current data, 400,000 Georgian Diaspora representatives reside in Greece (100,000 of them are ethnic Greek). Most Georgians are spread through Athens and Thessaloniki.
There are no specific organizations aimed at facilitating Georgian-Greek business relations, although several Georgian-Greek business forums have been organized by the Georgian Entrepreneurs’ Confederation.
Some Georgian businesses in Greece include: Restaurant Metekhi, Travel company Din Tour, Inex Group, S.A operating in tourism, logistics, publishing, telecommunications, and Intelexpress, money transfer company.
The Georgian Diaspora in Italy does not exist as such; the community there is better classified as labour migrants. According to unofficial information, there are up to 7,000 Georgians living in Italy. According to the National Statistics Office of Italy - ISTAT, there are around 6,520 Georgians residing in Italy legally and another 9,031 that are without an official residency document, out of which the absolute majority are women.
Moreover, according to the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Italy, around 5,366 Georgians were given legal status in 2011. Therefore, it can be estimated that in total there are around 15 thousand Georgians living in Italy.
The EPRC research has been made in cooperation with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Georgia. The information has been provided by the embassies of Georgia in the above-mentioned countries.
According to GeoStat, money transfers to Georgia reached USD 697,357,400 during the first half of 2014, up from USD 669,040,800 in the prior-year period. Outflow amounted to USD 80,602,400, also up from USD 69,438,400 in the first six months of 2013.
With over USD 11 million and USD 8 million respectively, Turkey and Italy have shown the largest increase of remittances to Georgia during the first half of the current year. Georgians received over USD 11 million and USD 3 million less money from Russia and Ukraine correspondingly.
USD 29,791,900 has been transferred from Turkey this year, while the same figure totalled USD 18,473,500 in 2013. Money transfers from Spain increased by USD 2 million during the current period and reached USD 13,805,800. Inflow from Ukraine was USD 16,332,500, down from USD 19,536,300 from the first six months of 2013. Transfers from Germany amounted to USD 11,150,400 or USD 3 million more. USD 10,463,200 has been transferred from Israel this year, up from USD 9,338,600. Money transfers from Azerbaijan increased by USD 1.1 million in 2014 and amounted to USD 7,767,200. USD 7,162,900 has been transferred from Kazakhstan this year. The sum was USD 6,395,500 during the first six months of 2013.
Together with the Russian Federation and Ukraine, remittances inflow to Georgia has slumped from the UK as well. Money transfers from the UK amounted to USD 7,247,100 in 2014, down from the USD 9,341,100 from the first half of 2013.
There are over 1 million Georgians residing abroad. The data is less than accurate as many of them are living illegally.
One of the most intellectually powerful groups of the Georgian Diaspora resides in Austria, according to the recent research of the Economic Policy Research Center (EPRC).
The potential of Austrian intellectual transfer is expressed in three main directions: medicine, physics and the arts. There exists one of the largest concentrations of emigrant doctors. However, students of different directions are also appearing as well as business executives.
The Georgian Diaspora in the US is also one of the most interesting in terms of intellectual transfer. A significant group of scientists, especially in the field of physics, are present in the US.
There are also other scholars who are employed at universities. Representatives of the Georgian Diaspora are employed at the World Bank and other international financial institutions, as well as representatives of culture and business. Georgian Jews are included among media-organization owners.
One of the most representative groups of bankers is present in the UK. In general, the UK stands out for its businessmen, economists and researchers, as well as the relative abundance of students. Thus in Britain, the focus should be made on intellectual transfer of economic and financial directions.
Spain, Belgium, Germany and France are mostly characterized with a concentration of immigrants involved in art. France and Germany, however, might be of interest with regard to the concentration of doctors and university scientists.
The Netherlands is quite ambiguous in terms of intellectual emigration. There is no one group greatly concentrated there. We come across football players, as well as different people employed in the private sector, also musicians.
The opportunities of intellectual transfer are relatively small in Greece, despite a large number of the Georgian Diaspora in this country. The main cores of the migrants are labour migrants. The database shows that Greece does not have a great potential in these terms. A similar situation exists in Italy.
The size of the Diaspora in the USA is up to 100,000 Georgians, out of which an absolute majority is irregular women migrants, according to unofficial statistics. Georgians are mostly concentrated in the states of New York and New Jersey. Due to their status, it is hard to locate and describe them. They are not normally members of any organizations or a particular Diaspora community. On the other hand, the small Georgian community in San Francisco is primarily engaged in science, culture, sports and small business.
The size of the Georgian Diaspora in the UK is estimated to be up to 15,000 persons, out of which approximately up to 8,000 are irregular migrants employed in the construction and food service sectors. Another large group of the Georgian Diaspora is students, who are relatively active participants in Georgia-related projects.
There is a small group of Georgian professionals living in the UK and there is a small chance of their return to Georgia, so they try to do something for the better of the country locally. The Office of the State Minister of Georgia for Diaspora Issues believes that with a proper governmental policy, this group of people could be further organized and used in various ways.
The Georgian Diaspora in the UK has the largest intellectual potential together with the US and Russian Georgian Diaspora. As far as Italy, Spain and Greece are concerned, Georgians residing in these countries are mostly labour migrants, with little or no knowledge transfer potential.
The creation of a Georgian community in the UK was associated with the social-economic hardships existing in Georgia during the 90s. However, a larger flow of Georgians started entering the UK after the year 2000. It was not until 2005 that an official Georgian community organization was founded in the UK. Before that, an institutionally strong organization did not exist there. Georgian community organizations in the UK are mostly involved in cultural and scientific works, such as helping to organize Georgian art and wine festivals.