ComCom Member Vakhtang Abashidze Talks about Georgia’s Prospects for Becoming a Digital Hub at International Digital Connectivity Summit
Member of the Communications Commission Vakhtang Abashidze, Minister of Economy and Sustainable Development Levan Davitashvili and Rregional director of the World Bank Charles Cormier opened the International Digital Connectivity Summit Georgia 2022 – “Developing Inter-Regional Connectivity Corridors.” The purpose of the summit was to discuss the potential for creating an international digital connectivity corridor between Europe and Asia and the possibilities for establishing international digital connectivity between countries. In his opening speech, Vakhtang Abashidze talked about Georgia’s prospects for becoming a digital hub and data centre. He noted that the existing telecom backbone infrastructure gives Georgia the guaranteed advantage of becoming a link between Europe and the Middle East.
“Research and analysis shows that Georgia has the guaranteed advantage of being able to use the existing telecom backbone infrastructure, including the submarine Black Sea Fibre-Optic Cable and commercial contracts, to actively develop the corridor between Europe and the Middle East via Armenia and position the region as a safe and trustworthy conduit of data. Georgia is the only country in the region with a direct infrastructural border with Europe. We are also an international transit conduit for Armenia and Azerbaijan, who in turn direct traffic to the Middle East and South Asia. The opening of the aforementioned routes will enable the existence of two important digital corridors for carrying international volumes of the Internet: first, from Europe to the Middle East via Georgia and Armenia, and second, From Europe to South Asia via Georgia and Azerbaijan. The existing digital infrastructure and international connection points give Georgia a unique opportunity to gradually develop its own potential and become a digital hub. The existence of a Trans-Caspian connecting route is important for the development of the aforementioned corridor. The project, which will run from Azerbaijan through the Caspian Sea will be implemented in the near future. The important infrastructure in Georgia creates an opportunity for the country to become a global data transit hub for new routes that will connect Europe with Asia and the Middle East. The digital hub will pave the way for the Europe-Asia digital corridor, which will further benefit both our country and the neighboring regions,“ Vakhtang Abashidze stated.
The summit was attended by the ministers of economy from countries of South Caucasus and the EU, representatives of regulatory bodies and regulatory networks, as well as technology and telecom companies, the relevant missions of the United Nations and European Union (including the Directorate General for Neighborhood and Enlargement Policy of the European Commission – DG Near) and non-governmental organisations. During the event, the experts discussed the opportunities and challenges of further development of international digital connectivity in the South Caucasus region, as well as the opportunities for investment and cooperation between the parties.
One of the extensive panels at the summit was devoted to digital development. It was led by the Communications Commission member Ekaterine Imedadze. Participants included guest experts and representatives of local operators.