Georgia’s economy grew by 7.5% in the first three quarters of 2012, showing some decline with the same period of 2011 (7.9%). Despite the economic growth, the extreme poverty level decreased only slightly (9.7 in 2011 and 9.2 in 2010) while poverty increased from 22.7% in 2010 up to 23% in 2011.
Unemployment remains high (15.1%, 2011; estimated youth unemployment – more than 30%). More than 70% of the population regard themselves as unemployed, as showed by NDI public opinion survey in mid-2012.
About 70% of Georgians – the displaced, women and those living in the mountainous regions especially, are economically or socially vulnerable (UNDP research: Economic and Social Vulnerability in Georgia. 2012)
UNDP works with national partners to ensure that the benefits of economic growth reach those who still live in poverty. This includes:
- Establishing a system of professional education and vocational training that meets the needs of the local labour market
- Promoting agriculture as a driving force for local development, assisting farmers to find new means of production and get better access to information and technologies
- Supporting new businesses in the areas of agriculture, trade and services
- Assisting the Government in planning and implementing economic reforms
Vocational education and training
More than 4,000 students graduated from the UNDP-supported vocational education courses in 2010-2013. Seventy per cent of the graduates were employed by local businesses and industries.
Vocational education and training has been in focus of UNDP’s work since 2007 as one of the primary mechanisms to tackle structural unemployment.
In partnership with donors, employers, education centres and local authorities, UNDP established a retraining system, which turned vocational education and training centres into the hubs of economic activity in the regions.
In 2010, the Ministry of Education and Science of Georgia revised legislation on vocational education and training considering most of UNDP’s recommendations.
Agriculture extension service
More than 2,000 farmers across Georgia receive consultation and training in the UNDP-supported agriculture extension centres. Established at the professional colleges, the centres provide training and consulting for farmers who have no other access to up-to-date information and agriculture technologies.
In 2012, following UNDP’s successful initiatives in the regions of Georgia, the need for farmers’ advisory services was acknowledged and budgeted by the Ministry of Agriculture of Georgia. The state-funded agriculture extension service was launched in the six regional centres across the country.
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