Better jobs and entrepreneurship for Georgia

Denmark and the ILO work together in Georgia to promote better jobs and entrepreneurship opportunities

The Government of Denmark signed a 5-year development agreement with the International Labour Organization to strengthen labour law reform and compliance, promote youth entrepreneurship, formalize businesses and strengthen responsible business conduct in Georgia.

News | 02 April 2018
Despite positive trends in the economy, Georgia is struggling with poverty, unemployment, gaps in social protection and poor employment and entrepreneurial prospects for youth. Youth unemployment is of particular concern, as it stands at 30.8%, which is considerably higher than the general unemployment rate. Informality, and what it implies (low levels of productivity, low wages, low working conditions, and poor access to social protected), is also a challenge as it counts for a large share of the Georgian labour market.

Fundamental principles and rights at work, as well as other conditions that determine the quality of jobs, are important factors in ensuring that jobs are attractive to job seekers, and play a key role in driving productivity. In 2006, the then-Government of Georgia adopted a new labour code that was based on the assumption that deregulation of labour would attract investment and create jobs. The current Government, elected in 2012, re-elected in 2016, has been working towards the gradual restoration of labour market institutions. It has undertaken a number of encouraging steps in this regard, including the adoption of a new labour code and the re-establishment of the Tripartite Social Partnership Commission, which provide for a better balance between the interest of workers and employers.

Against this backdrop, a new ILO programme me funded by Denmark will be working to strengthen labour market institutions In Georgia by providing support along two integrated pillars. The first aims to strengthen regulatory labour market institutions to ensure improved enforcement and respect for labour laws and international labour standards. The second pillar targets the development of improved institutional capacity to promote youth entrepreneurship, formalize businesses and implement responsible business conduct.

On April 2, the ILO presented the new programme me to its core partners, the Ministry of Labour, Health and Social Affairs, the Georgian Employers Association, and the Georgian Trade Union Confederation, as well as the Human Rights Secretariat of the Administration of the Government of Georgia. Initial steps for the implementation of the programme me were also discussed.

Following the meeting, Ms. Elza Jgerenaia, Head of Labour and Employment Policy Department at the Ministry of Labour, Health and Social Affairs of Georgia, stated that “the Ministry very much welcomes the establishment of the new Danish-funded project, as it will allow us to continue our cooperation with the ILO in important areas, such as labour law reform and compliance, but also open up new areas of cooperation where ILO support is needed, such as youth entrepreneurship”.

The new programme  will run until 2021 and is funded under the Danish Neighbourhood Programme me, which is Denmark’s bilateral programme  for EU’s neighbouring countries in the East. The new 2017-2021 edition of this programme  exclusively focuses on Ukraine and Georgia and sets out two thematic objectives, being the promotion of human rights and democracy, and strenthening sustainable and inclusive economic development. Based on ILO’s good track record as a specialized agency on labour market and social dialogue issues with a strong presence in Georgia, the Danish Government chose ILO as an implementing partner for the programme me with a budget of almost 4.5 Mio USD.