| Government of Georgia
September 18, 2013
On the Approval of the Strategy for the Development of Samegrelo – Zemo Svaneti Region for 2014-2021
“In accordance with Subsection “s” of Article 5 of Georgian Law on the Structure, Authorities and Operation of the Government of Georgia and Annex 2 (Technical and Administrative Provisions) to the Agreement on Financing between EU and the Government of Georgia of 14 November 2011 (Support to regional Development of Georgia), this Strategy for Development of Samegrelo Zemo Svaneti region for 2014-2021 Period shall be approved.”
Prime Minister B. Ivanishvili
Strategy for the Development of Samegrelo – Zemo Svaneti Region for 2014-2021
I. General Description of the Region
Samegrelo-Zemo Svaneti region is located in the western part of Georgia, on Colchis Lowland. In the west the region shares borders with Black Sea, in the north-west – Autonomous Republic of Abkhazia, in the north – Russian Federation, and in the east – Imereti and Racha-Lechkhumi-Kvemo Svaneti regions. The total area of Samegrelo-Zemo Svaneti is 75,000 sq. km, 10.8% of the country’s territory. Population of the region is 478,200, which is 10.66% of Georgian population. The region includes 497 settlements, which include 8 cities, 2 towns and 487 villages. 40.3% of the population lives in the cities and towns and 59.7% lives in the villages. High mountain settlements (over 1000 m) include 136 villages of Mestia Municipality and 1 village of Martvili Municipality. 98.6% of the population is ethnic Georgians. Population density of the region is 64 people per sq. km. Samegrelo-Zemo Svaneti region includes 9 self-government units: self-governing city of Poti; Abasha, Zugdidi, Martvili, Mestia, Senaki, Chkhorotsku, Tsalenjikha and Khobi municipalities. At the regional level, the executive power of the state is represented by the state representative – governor, whose administration is located in the city of Zugdidi. City of Zugdidi is located at325 km from the capital city Tbilisi.
Major part of region territory is characterized by subtropical climate, while in northern part of the region the climate is subalpine and alpine. The region includes Kolkheti Lowlands, characterized by excessively humid subtropical climate significantly influenced by the Black Sea.
The region is characterized with complicated social situation and demographic problems. Dynamics of both population migration and natural growth are negative.
With its population, Samegrelo-Zemo Svaneti is one of the large regions of Georgia. According to available official data, Samegrelo - Zemo Svaneti population is 478,200. 37.2% of the region’s population resides in Zugdidi Municipality.
In 2012, natural population growth rate was negative (-364 people or -0.76%). Internal and external migration negatively impact demographic situation of the region. Migration processes are mostly caused by difficult social situation and poor employment opportunities. Employable population mostly moves to Tbilisi or abroad for employment.
II Social Development of the Region
Life Standards and Social Security of the Population
In Samegrelo - Zemo Svaneti region, active population is 211,000; self-employed –128; employment rate - 16.5%; activity level – 70.7%; and employment rate – 59%. It should be noted that according to experts’ assessments, formal data does not provide an accurate picture of employment in the region. This is caused with the inclusion of the self-employed in agriculture into the category of employed. Most part of the self-employed, given the average annual period of employment and their low incomes, could not be regarded as fully employed people.
In 2011, average annual number of hired employees in the region was 25,200 (5.26% of the region’s population), 26.92% higher than the figure for 2010.During the same period, 9,736 people were employed by large enterprises; 7441 – by medium-size enterprises; and 8,062 people – by small enterprises.
In 2011, average monthly remuneration of the hired employees was GEL 436.4 (GEL 358.5 where the employer was a local natural person or legal entity; GEL 1025.7 – if the employer was foreign natural person or legal entity; and GEL 207.1 – public sector).This indicator is GEL 7.3 higher than in 2010. Average monthly remuneration in large businesses was GEL 701.6; medium-size entities – GEL 299; and small entities – GEL 216.7. Samegrelo - Zemo Svaneti is in the fourth place based on the average monthly remuneration among the regions of Georgia.
In 2011, annual monthly average monetary and non-monetary income of the households was GEL 639.1 and monetary incomes and remittances were GEL 488.8. Based on this data, Samegrelo - Zemo Svaneti stands third among Georgian regions after Adjaria and Kvemo Kartli. Distribution of household incomes by types is as follows:
Household incomes’ structure (2011)
Expenses of the households by types are as follows:
Household expenses’ structure (2011)
Rates of poverty and extreme poverty are very high in the region. In 2012, unified database of the vulnerable families (of the region) included 57,500 and only 14,500 families of them received allowances. Percentage of families registered with the database is close to the country’s average.
In Samegrelo - Zemo Svaneti, 94,600 are registered recipients of pension and social packages, who comprise 19.7% of the population, slightly exceeding the national average (19.05%).
12,400 disabled persons are registered in the region; about one third of them are recipients of subsistence allowances.
Self-governing units of the region must pay, as one-time assistance, GEL 500 from their budgets (because of scarcity of local budget) to the socially vulnerable and disabled. There are almost no other significant programs to address the problems of these people.
It should be noted that development of the infrastructure adapted for the disabled in compliance with the relevant construction standards does not take place in the region, hindering their proper integration into public life.
In Samegrelo - Zemo Svaneti, 89,500 Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) (28.8 thousand families) are registered. They comprise 18.7% of the region’s population. On this indicator, Samegrelo - Zemo Svaneti is first among all the regions in Georgia. IDPs were resettled in the region as individually and in dense settlements (23.5%). For most of them the problem of proper accommodation is not solved yet.