The Georgian economy includes diversified and mechanized agriculture alongside a well-developed industrial base. Agriculture accounts for about half of the gross domestic product and employs about one-fourth of the labor force; the industry and service sectors each employ about one-fifth of the labor force.
After independence the Georgian economy contracted sharply because of political instability (which discouraged foreign investment), the loss of favorable trading relationships with the states of the former Soviet Union, and the civil unrest in Abkhazia and South Ossetia, where key pipelines and transport links were sabotaged or blockaded. Georgia sought to transform its command economy into one organized on market principles: prices were liberalized, the banking system reformed, and some state enterprises and retail establishments privatized.
The National Bank of Georgia, which is the central bank, issues the national currency, the Georgian Lari. The majority of Georgia’s financial institutions—the stock exchange and most of its banks—are situated in Tbilisi.
Georgia’s main economic activities include cultivation of agricultural products such as grapes, citrus fruits, and hazelnuts; mining of manganese, copper, and gold; and producing alcoholic and nonalcoholic beverages, metals, machinery, and chemicals in small-scale industries. The country imports nearly all of its needed supplies of natural gas and oil products. It has sizeable hydropower capacity that now provides most of its electricity needs.
Georgia has overcome the chronic energy shortages and gas supply interruptions of the past by renovating hydropower plants and by increasingly relying on natural gas imports from Azerbaijan instead of from Russia. Construction of the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil pipeline, the South Caucasus gas pipeline, and the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railroad are part of a strategy to capitalize on Georgia’s strategic location between Europe and Asia and develop its role as a transit hub for gas, oil, and other goods.
Georgia’s economy sustained GDP growth of more than 10% in 2006-07, based on strong inflows of foreign investment, remittances, and robust government spending. However, GDP growth slowed following the August 2008 conflict with Russia, and sank to negative 4% in 2009 as foreign direct investment and workers’ remittances declined in the wake of the global financial crisis. The economy rebounded in the period 2010-17, but FDI inflows, the engine of Georgian economic growth prior to the 2008 conflict, have not recovered fully. Unemployment remains persistently high.
The country is pinning its hopes for faster growth on a continued effort to build up infrastructure, enhance support for entrepreneurship, simplify regulations, and improve professional education, in order to attract foreign investment and boost employment, with a focus on transportation projects, tourism, hydropower, and agriculture. Georgia had historically suffered from a chronic failure to collect tax revenues; however, since 2004 the government has simplified the tax code, increased tax enforcement, and cracked down on petty corruption, leading to higher revenues. The government has received high marks from the World Bank for improvements in business transparency. Since 2012, the Georgian Dream-led government has continued the previous administration’s low-regulation, low-tax, free market policies, while modestly increasing social spending and amending the labor code to comply with International Labor Standards. In mid-2014, Georgia concluded an association agreement with the EU, paving the way to free trade and visa-free travel. In 2017, Georgia signed Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with China as part of Tbilisi’s efforts to diversify its economic ties. Georgia is seeking to develop its Black Sea ports to further facilitate East-West trade.
$39.7 billion (2017 est.)
$38.6 billion (2016 est.)
$37.52 billion (2015 est.)
note: data are in 2017 dollars
country comparison to the world: 120
4.8% (2017 est.)
2.8% (2016 est.)
2.9% (2015 est.)
country comparison to the world: 55
$10,700 (2017 est.)
$10,400 (2016 est.)
$10,100 (2015 est.)
note: data are in 2017 dollars
country comparison to the world: 138
services: 66.2% (2017 est.)