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How will Georgia use its donors’ millions?2008-11-21 16:36
The flood of money sent to rescue Georgia from the consequences of the August conflict is showing no signs of drying up. Following the 4.5 billion dollars allocated by donor countries, an incredible sum for such a small state, members of the European Union are going to fork out a further 50 million euros.
The EU approved this European Commission initiative a few days ago. According to reports from Day.Az, this sum is compromised of so-called free credit. That means that it does not need to be redeemed within the year. It should be aimed at "financing measures to support displaced people inside Georgia". At the same time it is planned that 75 percent of the entire sum will be spent on emergency aid.
The 4.5 billion dollars promised in October will be supplemented by 70 million dollars from the Asian Development Bank, it decided this week. Furthermore, the bank intends to strengthen its cooperation with Georgia by opening its own office there.
The American corporation Millennium Challenge is also doing its bit. A deal to allocate an additional 100 million dollars will be concluded today. This is on top of the aid programme for Georgia worth 295.3 million dollars that the corporation had already made provisions for.
"An amendment is being made to the document signed in 2005 by the corporation and the Georgian government, whereby the financial aid will increase to 395.3 million dollars," the agency Georgia Online quotes a corporation statement.
Incidentally, after the European Commission visited Georgia immediately once the fighting ended, it talked of only 4 million dollars-worth of economic damage. Subsequently other experts estimated it at 2.3 billion dollars. And then millions turned into billions.
The Georgian opposition started to worry and journalists became extremely interested in the following question: where will the money go? Such a sum would be enough for every Georgian inhabitant to receive a thousand dollars. The government took a different slant, immediately declaring that all 4.5 billion dollars will be used to provide aid for refugees and to rebuild destroyed infrastructure and housing.
Warnings made by the opposition that the money would be put towards strengthening Mikheil Saakashvili's power and rearming the Georgian military have been ignored by the EU and other international organizations. They have clearly taken seriously the World Bank and other donor agencies' assurances that the assimilation of the funds will be strictly controlled. They are therefore confident that any possible use of the money for extraneous purposes can be ruled out.