During the Soviet period, Georgia had a well-developed business relationship with other Soviet republics. After independence, the situation in the country has been aggravated by national strife, mainly in the autonomous regions of South Ossetia and Abkhazia, and strife within the South Caucasian region. This has resulted in major damage to the country’s infrastructure and the important oil imports from mainly Azerbaijan have been made more difficult. Along with structural problems in business in connection with the dissolution of the Soviet Union, this has posed major problems for the country’s economy. Between 1990 and 1996, the country’s GDP fell by an average of 19 percent per year. In 2018, GDP per capita was US $ 4,335; The agricultural sector accounted for 8 percent of GDP and employed 56 percent of the country’s employment.
The broken relief and high altitude greatly limit the availability of suitable arable land. This is partly offset by an advantageous subtropical climate that makes it possible to grow labor-intensive but profitable crops such as tea and citrus fruits. Agriculture is varied and highly mechanized. In addition to tea and citrus fruits, there are also significant crops of cereals, fodder plants, grapes and tobacco. Locally, however, livestock management is often the most important industry in the countryside. Agriculture, which was collectivized during the Soviet period, underwent rapid and very extensive privatization during the 1990s.
Minerals and energy
Georgia has rich deposits of breakable natural resources. Of most importance is the rich occurrence of manganese, including at Tjiatura. Other assets include coal at Tkvartjeli and Tkibuli and oil at Kazreti. The dominant domestic energy source is a well-developed water electricity production, which was an important basis for the country’s industrialization. The most important hydropower plants are located on the rivers Rioni, Inguri, Kodori and Bzyb. Despite the well-developed waterways, the country is highly dependent on imports of oil from neighboring countries.
Large assets in coal and water energy contributed to Georgia’s early development of a well-developed industrial industry, with mining and machine manufacturing as its main branches. After the collapse of the Soviet Union and the country’s internal conflicts during the 1990s, industrial production fell by 75 percent. The heavy industry, which produced, among other things, means of transport (railway equipment and trucks), machinery and agricultural equipment was hit hard, as was a large part of the light industry, which further refined the country’s agricultural products (including cotton, wool and silk).
During the 2000s, the problems for the industry continued and in 2005-07 extensive privatizations were carried out to revitalize the industry. These resulted in some growth. Primarily, the construction and mining industry experienced economic growth. Alongside these are also chemical, food, textile and fertilizer industries.
Prior to independence, the country’s trade was almost entirely focused on other sub-republics within the Soviet Union; In 1991, about 90 percent of exports went to these. After independence, efforts were made to widen the market for the country’s products. Exports mainly consist of vehicles, metal products and artificial fertilizers, while imports are mainly oil, vehicles and machinery. According to Countryaah, the most important trading countries are the Russian Federation, Turkey and Azerbaijan.
Tourism and gastronomy
Prior to independence, Georgia was a popular tourist destination for travelers from other parts of the Soviet Union. After independence, internal unrest and financial problems led to a decline in tourist flows, but in the 2000s the tourism industry has recovered. In 2012, the country was visited by 4.4 million tourists. The majority still come from the former Soviet Union, but the number of tourists from the EU is steadily increasing.
With the varied natural landscape, the subtropical climate in the west and the interesting cultural history, Georgia has good conditions to become a major tourist destination. The country has from fine beaches along the Black Sea coast to the vast mountain masses of the Caucasus and in between hilly landscapes with vineyards, tea and tobacco plantations. In addition to the possibility of bathing, the warm climate provides an exciting flora and fauna; Georgia has large forest areas with rich plant and animal life.
Culturally, Georgia is a melting pot of impulses from Turkey (including all the cultures that existed before the Turks came), Persia and Russia. Georgian cuisine, which is said by lyrical writers to “float milk and honey”, is unusually rich in raw materials due to its geographical location. The many ethnic groups have retained their traditions and eating habits, and many restaurants around the world boast of having just Georgian food. The variety of vegetables (tomatoes, onions, cucumbers, eggplant, peppers and cabbage), fruits (apples, tangerines, figs and pomegranates), herbs (basil, oregano, cinnamon, cloves and coriander), dairy products, nuts, honey, bread and tea is the most significant.
Among the dishes are soups such as Chartjo (with meat, onions, garlic, tomato puree and salt cucumber), Tjachochbili (stew with poultry meat), satsivi (dish with chilled walnut sauce), skewer (mtsvadi), cheese bread (chatjapuri), patties, pickles trout, salmon, carp, geese, marmalade, disturb, washed down with the notable Georgian wine or the local tea with honey in it.