Introduction    Georgia Top of Page
The region of present-day Georgia contained the ancient kingdoms of Colchis and Kartli-Iberia. The area came under Roman influence in the first centuries A.D. and Christianity became the state religion in the 330s. Domination by Persians, Arabs, and Turks was followed by a Georgian golden age (11th-13th centuries) that was cut short by the Mongol invasion of 1236. Subsequently, the Ottoman and Persian empires competed for influence in the region. Georgia was absorbed into the Russian Empire in the 19th century. Independent for three years (1918-1921) following the Russian revolution, it was forcibly incorporated into the USSR until the Soviet Union dissolved in 1991. An attempt by the incumbent Georgian government to manipulate national legislative elections in November 2003 touched off widespread protests that led to the resignation of Eduard SHEVARDNADZE, president since 1995. New elections in early 2004 swept Mikheil SAAKASHVILI into power along with his National Movement party. Progress on market reforms and democratization has been made in the years since independence, but this progress has been complicated by Russian assistance and support to the breakaway regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. After a series of Russian and separatist provocations in summer 2008, Georgian military action in South Ossetia in early August led to a Russian military response that not only occupied the breakaway areas, but large portions of Georgia proper as well. Russian troops pulled back from most occupied Georgian territory, but in late August 2008 Russia unilaterally recognized the independence of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. This action was strongly condemned by most of the world's nations and international organizations.
   Geography    Georgia Top of Page
Southwestern Asia, bordering the Black Sea, between Turkey and Russia
Geographic coordinates:
42 00 N, 43 30 E
Map references:
Middle East
total: 69,700 sq km
land: 69,700 sq km
water: 0 sq km
Area - comparative:
slightly smaller than South Carolina
Land boundaries:
1,461 km
border countries: Armenia 164 km, Azerbaijan 322 km, Russia 723 km, Turkey 252 km
310 km
Maritime claims:
territorial sea: 12 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
warm and pleasant; Mediterranean-like on Black Sea coast
largely mountainous with Great Caucasus Mountains in the north and Lesser Caucasus Mountains in the south; Kolkhet'is Dablobi (Kolkhida Lowland) opens to the Black Sea in the west; Mtkvari River Basin in the east; good soils in river valley flood plains, foothills of Kolkhida Lowland
Elevation extremes:
lowest point: Black Sea 0 m
highest point: Mt'a Shkhara 5,201 m
Natural resources:
forests, hydropower, manganese deposits, iron ore, copper, minor coal and oil deposits; coastal climate and soils allow for important tea and citrus growth
Land use:
arable land:11.51%
permanent crops: 3.79%
other: 84.7% (2005)
Irrigated land:
4,690 sq km (2003)
Total renewable water resources:
63.3 cu km (1997)
Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural):
total: 3.61 cu km/yr (20%/21%/59%)
per capita: 808 cu m/yr (2000)
Natural hazards:
Environment - current issues:
air pollution, particularly in Rust'avi; heavy pollution of Mtkvari River and the Black Sea; inadequate supplies of potable water; soil pollution from toxic chemicals
Environment - international agreements:
party to: Air Pollution, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
Geography - note:
strategically located east of the Black Sea; Georgia controls much of the Caucasus Mountains and the routes through them
   People    Georgia Top of Page
4,615,807 (July 2009 est.)
Age structure:
0-14 years: 16.1% (male 395,929/female 345,071)
15-64 years: 67.6% (male 1,503,360/female 1,616,234)
65 years and over: 16.4% (male 302,103/female 453,110) (2009 est.)
Median age:
total: 38.6 years
male: 36.1 years
female: 41 years (2009 est.)
Population growth rate:
-0.325% (2009 est.)
Birth rate:
10.66 births/1,000 population (2009 est.)
Death rate:
9.51 deaths/1,000 population (2008 est.)
Net migration rate:
-4.26 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2009 est.)
urban population: 53% of total population (2008)
rate of urbanization: -0.6% annual rate of change (2005-10 est.)
Sex ratio:
at birth: 1.13 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.15 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.93 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.67 male(s)/female
total population: 0.91 male(s)/female (2009 est.)
Infant mortality rate:
total: 16.22 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 18.21 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 13.97 deaths/1,000 live births (2009 est.)
Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 76.72 years
male: 73.41 years
female: 80.45 years (2009 est.)
Total fertility rate:
1.44 children born/woman (2009 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
0.1% (2007 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
2,700 (2007 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deaths:
fewer than 200 (2003 est.)
noun: Georgian(s)
adjective: Georgian
Ethnic groups:
Georgian 83.8%, Azeri 6.5%, Armenian 5.7%, Russian 1.5%, other 2.5% (2002 census)
Orthodox Christian 83.9%, Muslim 9.9%, Armenian-Gregorian 3.9%, Catholic 0.8%, other 0.8%, none 0.7% (2002 census)
Georgian 71% (official), Russian 9%, Armenian 7%, Azeri 6%, other 7%
note: Abkhaz is the official language in Abkhazia
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 100%
male: 100%
female: 100% (2004 est.)
School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education):
total: 12 years
male: 12 years
female: 13 years (2006)
Education expenditures:
3.1% of GDP (2006)
   Government    Georgia Top of Page
Country name:
conventional long form: none
conventional short form: Georgia
local long form: none
local short form: Sak'art'velo
former: Georgian Soviet Socialist Republic
Government type:
name: name: T'bilisi
geographic coordinates: 41 43 N, 44 47 E
time difference: time difference: UTC+4 (9 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
Administrative divisions:
6 states and 2 territories*; Australian Capital Territory*, New South Wales, Northern Territory*, Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania, Victoria, Western Australia
Dependent areas:
9 regions (mkharebi, singular - mkhare), 1 city (k'alak'i), and 2 autonomous republics (avtomnoy respubliki, singular - avtom respublika)
regions: Guria, Imereti, Kakheti, Kvemo Kartli, Mtskheta-Mtianeti, Racha-Lechkhumi and Kvemo Svaneti, Samegrelo and Zemo Svaneti, Samtskhe-Javakheti, Shida Kartli
city: Tbilisi
autonomous republics: Abkhazia or Ap'khazet'is Avtonomiuri Respublika (Sokhumi), Ajaria or Acharis Avtonomiuri Respublika (Bat'umi)
note: the administrative centers of the two autonomous republics are shown in parentheses
9 April 1991 (from the Soviet Union)
National holiday:
Independence Day, 26 May (1918); note - 26 May 1918 was the date of independence from Soviet Russia, 9 April 1991 was the date of independence from the Soviet Union
adopted 24 August 1995
Legal system:
based on civil law system; accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction
18 years of age; universal
Executive branch:
chief of state: President Mikheil SAAKASHVILI (since 25 January 2004); the president is both the chief of state and head of government for the power ministries: state security (includes interior) and defense
head of government: President Mikheil SAAKASHVILI (since 25 January 2004); Prime Minister Nikoloz GILAURI (since 6 February 2009); the president is both the chief of state and head of government for the power ministries: state security (includes interior) and defense; the prime minister is head of the remaining ministries of government
cabinet: Cabinet of Ministers
elections: president elected by popular vote for a five-year term (eligible for a second term); election last held 5 January 2008 (next to be held January 2013)
election results: Mikheil SAAKASHVILI reelected president; percent of vote - Mikheil SAAKASHVILI 53.5%, Levan GACHECHILADZE 25.7%, Badri PATARKATSISHVILI 7.1%
Legislative branch:
unicameral Parliament or Parlamenti (also known as Supreme Council or Umaghlesi Sabcho) (150 seats; 75 members elected by proportional representation, 75 from single-seat constituencies; to serve five-year terms)
elections: elections: last held 21 May 2008 (next to be held in spring 2012)
election results: percent of vote by party - United National Movement 59.2%, National Council-New Rights 17.7%, Christian Democratic Movement 8.8%, Labor Party 7.4%, Republican Party 3.8%; seats by party - United National Movement 120, National Council-New Rights 16, Christian Democratic Movement 6, Labor Party 6, Republican Party 2
Judicial branch:
Supreme Court (judges elected by the Supreme Council on the president's or chairman of the Supreme Court's recommendation); Constitutional Court; first and second instance courts
Political parties and leaders:
Christian Democratic Movement [Giorgi TARGAMADZE]; Democratic Movement United Georgia [Nino BURJANADZE]; Georgian People's Front [Nodar NATADZE]; Georgian United Communist Party or UCPG [Panteleimon GIORGADZE]; Georgia's Way Party [Salome ZOURABICHVILI]; Greens [Giorgi GACHECHILADZE]; Industry Will Save Georgia (Industrialists) or IWSG [Georgi TOPADZE]; Labor Party [Shalva NATELASHVILI]; National Council-New Rights (bloc forming joint opposition) [Levan GACHECHILADZE]; National Democratic Party or NDP [Bachuki KARDAVA]; United National Movement [Mikheil SAAKASHVILI]; New Rights [David GAMKRELIDZE]; Republican Party [David USUPASHVILI]; Socialist Party or SPG [Irakli MINDELI]; Traditionalists [Akaki ASATIANI]; Union of National Forces-Conservatives [Koba DAVITASHVILI and Zviad DZIDZIGURI]
Political pressure groups and leaders:
separatists in the breakaway regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia
International organization participation:
Diplomatic representation in the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Batu KUTELIA
chancery: 2209 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20008
telephone: [1] (202) 387-2390
FAX: [1] (202) 393-4537
consulate(s) general: New York
Diplomatic representation from the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador John F. TEFFT
embassy: 11 George Balanchine Street, T'bilisi 0131
mailing address: 7060 T'bilisi Place, Washington, DC 20521-7060
telephone: [995] (32) 27-70-00
FAX: [995] (32) 53-23-10
Flag description:
white rectangle, in its central portion a red cross connecting all four sides of the flag; in each of the four corners is a small red bolnur-katskhuri cross; the five-cross flag appears to date back to the 14th century
   Economy    Georgia Top of Page
Economy - overview:
Georgia's economy sustained GDP growth of close to 10% in 2006 and 12% in 2007, based on strong inflows of foreign investment and robust government spending. However, growth slowed to less than 3% in 2008 and is expected to slow further in 2009. Georgia's main economic activities include the cultivation of agricultural products such as grapes, citrus fruits, and hazelnuts; mining of manganese and copper; and output of a small industrial sector producing alcoholic and nonalcoholic beverages, metals, machinery, aircraft and chemicals. Areas of recent improvement include growth in the construction, banking services, and mining sectors, but reduced availability of external investment and the slowing regional economy are emerging risks. The country imports nearly all its needed supplies of natural gas and oil products. It has sizeable hydropower capacity, a growing component of its energy supplies. Georgia has overcome the chronic energy shortages of the past by renovating hydropower plants and by bringing in newly available supplies from Azerbaijan. It also has an increased ability to pay for more expensive gas imports from Russia. The construction on the Baku-T'bilisi-Ceyhan oil pipeline, the Baku-T'bilisi-Erzerum gas pipeline, and the Kars-Akhalkalaki Railroad are part of a strategy to capitalize on Georgia's strategic location between Europe and Asia and develop its role as a transit point for gas, oil and other goods. Georgia has historically suffered from a chronic failure to collect tax revenues; however, the government has made great progress and has reformed the tax code, improved tax administration, increased tax enforcement, and cracked down on corruption since coming to power in 2004. Government revenues have increased nearly four fold since 2003. Due to improvements in customs and tax enforcement, smuggling is a declining problem. The country is pinning its hopes for long-term growth on a determined effort to reduce regulation, taxes, and corruption in order to attract foreign investment, but the economy faces a more difficult investment climate both domestically and internationally.
GDP (purchasing power parity):
$21.6 billion (2008 est.)
$21.09 billion (2007)
$18.77 billion (2006)
note: data are in 2008 US dollars
GDP (official exchange rate):
$13.28 billion (2008 est.)
GDP - real growth rate:
2.4% (2008 est.)
12.4% (2007 est.)
9.4% (2006 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP):
$4,700 (2008 est.)
$4,500 (2007 est.)
$4,000 (2006 est.)
note: data are in 2008 US dollars
GDP - composition by sector:
agriculture: 12.8%
industry: 28.4%
services: 58.8% (2008 est.)
Labor force:
2.02 million (2007 est.)
Labor force - by occupation:
agriculture: 55.6%
industry: 8.9%
services: 35.5% (2006 est.)
Unemployment rate:
13.6% (2006 est.)
Household income or consumption by percentage share:
lowest 10%: 2.4%
highest 10%: 27% (2005)
Distribution of family income - Gini index:
40.8 (2005)
Investment (gross fixed):
29.5% of GDP (2008 est.)
revenues: $3.778 billion
expenditures: $4.182 billion (2008 est.)
Inflation rate (consumer prices):
11.3% of GDP (2008 est.)
Central bank discount rate:
note: this is the Refinancing Rate, the key monetary policy rate of the Georgian National Bank (25 December 2008)
Commercial bank prime lending rate:
20.41% (31 December 2007)
Stock of money:
$1.154 billion (31 December 2007)
Stock of quasi money:
$1.379 billion (31 December 2007)
Stock of domestic credit:
$3.374 billion (31 December 2007)
Market value of publicly traded shares:
$1.389 billion (31 December 2007)
Agriculture - products:
citrus, grapes, tea, hazelnuts, vegetables; livestock
steel, aircraft, machine tools, electrical appliances, mining (manganese and copper), chemicals, wood products, wine
Industrial production growth rate:
6% (2008 est.)
Electricity - production:
7.116 billion kWh (2006 est.)
Electricity - consumption:
6.694 billion kWh (2006 est.)
Electricity - exports:
635 million kWh (2007 est.)
Electricity - imports:
532 million kWh (2007 est.)
Oil - production:
979.1 bbl/day (2007 est.)
Oil - consumption:
12,980 bbl/day (2006 est.)
Oil - exports:
2,492 bbl/day (2005)
Oil - imports:
15,820 bbl/day (2005)
Oil - proved reserves:
35 million bbl (1 January 2008 est.)
Natural gas - production:
10 million cu m (2007 est.)
Natural gas - consumption:
1.49 billion cu m (2007 est.)
Natural gas - exports:
0 cu m (2007 est.)
Natural gas - imports:
1.48 billion cu m (2007 est.)
Natural gas - proved reserves:
8.495 billion cu m (1 January 2008 est.)
Current account balance:
-$3.334 billion (2008 est.)
$2.761 billion (2008 est.)
Exports - commodities:
scrap metal, wine, mineral water, ores, vehicles, fruits and nuts
Exports - partners:
Turkey 13%, US 11.2%, Azerbaijan 6.3%, UK 5.4%, Bulgaria 5.1%, Ukraine 5%, Armenia 4.8%, Turkmenistan 4.5%, Canada 4.2% (2007)
$7.304 billion f.o.b. (2008 est.)
Imports - commodities:
fuels, vehicles, machinery and parts, grain and other foods, pharmaceuticals
Imports - partners:
Turkey 14%, Russia 12.3%, Ukraine 8.5%, Azerbaijan 7.3%, Germany 6.8%, US 5%, Bulgaria 4.6% (2007)
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold:
$1.522 billion (31 December 2008 est.)
Debt - external:
$4.5 billion (2007)
Exchange rates:
laris (GEL) per US dollar - 1.47 (2008 est.), 1.7 (2007), 1.78 (2006), 1.8127 (2005), 1.9167 (2004)
   Communications    Georgia Top of Page
Telephones - main lines in use:
556,100 (2007)
Telephones - mobile cellular:
2.6 million (2007)
Telephone system:
general assessment: fixed-line telecommunications network has only limited coverage outside Tbilisi; long list of people waiting for fixed line connections; multiple mobile-cellular providers provide services to an increasing subscribership throughout the country
domestic: cellular telephone networks now cover the entire country; mobile-cellular teledensity approaching 60 per 100 people; urban fixed-line telephone density is about 20 per 100 people; rural telephone density is about 4 per 100 people; intercity facilities include a fiber-optic line between T'bilisi and K'ut'aisi; nationwide pager service is available
international: country code - 995; the Georgia-Russia fiber optic submarine cable provides connectivity to Russia; international service is available by microwave, landline, and satellite through the Moscow switch; international electronic mail and telex service are available
Radio broadcast stations:
AM 7, FM 12, shortwave 4 (1998)
Television broadcast stations:
12 (plus repeaters) (1998)
Internet country code:
Internet hosts:
27,905 (2008)
Internet users:
360,000 (2007)
   Transportation    Georgia Top of Page
23 (2008)
Airports - with paved runways:
total: 19
over 3,047 m: 1
2,438 to 3,047 m: 7
1,524 to 2,437 m: 5
914 to 1,523 m: 4
under 914 m: 2 (2008)
Airports - with unpaved runways:
total: 4
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1
914 to 1,523 m: 2
under 914 m: 1 (2008)
3 (2007)
gas 1,591 km; oil 1,253 km (2008)
total: 1,612 km
broad gauge: 1,575 km 1.520-m gauge (1,575 electrified)
narrow gauge: 37 km 0.912-m gauge (37 electrified) (2006)
total: 20,329 km
paved: 7,854 km (includes 13 km of expressways)
unpaved: 12,475 km (2006)
Merchant marine:
total: 191
by type: bulk carrier 18, cargo 148, carrier 2, chemical tanker 1, container 4, liquefied gas 1, passenger/cargo 2, petroleum tanker 4, refrigerated cargo 5, roll on/roll off 4, vehicle carrier 2
foreign-owned: 153 (China 10, Cyprus 1, Egypt 12, Germany 2, Greece 5, Hong Kong 2, Israel 2, Lebanon 4, Monaco 4, Nigeria 1, Romania 16, Russia 12, Syria 49, Turkey 14, Ukraine 18, UAE 1) (2008)
Ports and terminals:
Bat'umi, P'ot'i
large parts of transportation network are in poor condition because of lack of maintenance and repair
   Military    Georgia Top of Page
Military branches:
Georgian Armed Forces: Land Forces, Air and Air Defense Forces
note: naval forces have been incorporated into the coast guard (2009)
Military service age and obligation:
18 to 34 years of age for compulsory and voluntary active duty military service; conscript service obligation - 18 months (2005)
Manpower available for military service:
males age 16-49: 1,113,251
females age 16-49: 1,168,021 (2008 est.)
Manpower fit for military service:
males age 16-49: 908,282
females age 16-49: 959,290 (2009 est.)
Manpower reaching militarily significant age annually:
male: 32,355
female: 30,809 (2009 est.)
Military expenditures:
0.59% of GDP (2005)
a CIS peacekeeping force of Russian troops is deployed in the Abkhazia region of Georgia together with a UN military observer group; a Russian peacekeeping battalion is deployed in South Ossetia
   Transnational Issues    Georgia Top of Page
Disputes - international:
Russia and Georgia agree on delimiting 80% of their common border, leaving certain small, strategic segments and the maritime boundary unresolved; OSCE observers monitor volatile areas such as the Pankisi Gorge in the Akhmeti region and the Argun Gorge in Abkhazia; UN Observer Mission in Georgia has maintained a peacekeeping force in Georgia since 1993; Meshkheti Turks scattered throughout the former Soviet Union seek to return to Georgia; boundary with Armenia remains undemarcated; ethnic Armenian groups in Javakheti region of Georgia seek greater autonomy from the Georgian government; Azerbaijan and Georgia continue to discuss the alignment of their boundary at certain crossing areas
Refugees and internally displaced persons:

refugees (country of origin): 1,100 (Russia)
IDPs: 220,000-240,000 (displaced from Abkhazia and South Ossetia) (2007)
Illicit drugs:
limited cultivation of cannabis and opium poppy, mostly for domestic consumption; used as transshipment point for opiates via Central Asia to Western Europe and Russia

This page was last updated on 14 May 2009


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