Middle East :: Georgia
page last updated on August 3, 2010
Flag of Georgia
Map of Georgia
Introduction ::Georgia
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
Southwestern Asia, bordering the Black Sea, between Turkey and Russia, with a sliver of land north of the Caucasus extending into Europe
Geographic coordinates:
42 00 N, 43 30 E
Map references:
Middle East
total: 69,700 sq km
country comparison to the world: 120
land: 69,700 sq km
water: 0 sq km
Area - comparative:
slightly smaller than South Carolina
Land boundaries:
total: 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
Current Weather
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:
timber, 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
4,600,825 (July 2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 120
Age structure:
0-14 years: 15.8% (male 389,647/female 338,845)
15-64 years: 68% (male 1,508,950/female 1,620,227)
65 years and over: 16.2% (male 296,557/female 446,599) (2010 est.)
Median age:
total: 38.8 years
male: 36.3 years
female: 41.3 years (2010 est.)
Population growth rate:
-0.325% (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 220
Birth rate:
10.7 births/1,000 population (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 178
Death rate:
9.79 deaths/1,000 population (July 2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 65
Net migration rate:
-4.16 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 158
urban population: 53% of total population (2008)
rate of urbanization: -0.6% annual rate of change (2005-10 est.)
Sex ratio:
at birth: 1.12 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.15 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.93 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.66 male(s)/female
total population: 0.91 male(s)/female (2010 est.)
Infant mortality rate:
total: 15.67 deaths/1,000 live births
country comparison to the world: 121
male: 17.64 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 13.48 deaths/1,000 live births (2010 est.)
Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 76.93 years
country comparison to the world: 62
male: 73.61 years
female: 80.64 years (2010 est.)
Total fertility rate:
1.44 children born/woman (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 191
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
less than 0.1% (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 135
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
2,700 (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 133
HIV/AIDS - deaths:
fewer than 200 (2003 est.)
country comparison to the world: 113
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)
country comparison to the world: 145
Government ::Georgia
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: T'bilisi
geographic coordinates: 41 43 N, 44 47 E
time difference: UTC+4 (9 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
Administrative divisions:
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 the chief of state and serves as head of government for the power ministries of internal affairs and defense
head of government: Prime Minister Nikoloz GILAURI (since 6 February 2009); the prime minister is head of government for all the ministries of government except the power ministries of internal affairs and defense
cabinet: Cabinet of Ministers
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elections: president elected by popular vote for a five-year term (eligible for a second term); election last held on 5 January 2008 (next to be held in 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; members to serve five-year terms)
elections: last held on 21 May 2008 (next to be held in the spring of 2012)
election results: percent of vote by party - United National Movement 59.2%, National Council-New Rights (a Joint Opposition, nine-party bloc) 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]; Conservative Party [Kakha KUKAVA]; Democratic Movement United Georgia [Nino BURJANADZE]; For Fair Georgia [Zurab NOGAIDELI]; Georgian People's Front [Nodar NATADZE]; Georgia's Way Party [Salome ZOURABICHVILI]; Greens [Giorgi GACHECHILADZE]; Industry Will Save Georgia (Industrialists) or IWSG [Georgi TOPADZE]; Labor Party [Shalva NATELASHVILI]; National Democratic Party or NDP [Bachuki KARDAVA]; National Forum [Kakhaber SHARTAVA]; New Rights [David GAMKRELIDZE]; Our Georgia-Free Democrats (OGFD) or Alliance for Georgia [Irakli ALASANIA]; People's Party [Koba DAVITASHVILI; Republican Party [David USUPASHVILI]; Socialist Party or SPG [Irakli MINDELI]; Traditionalists [Akaki ASATIANI]; United National Movement or UNM [Mikheil SAAKASHVILI]
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 BASS
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 with a central red cross extending to all four sides of the flag; each of the four quadrants displays a small red bolnur-katskhuri cross; the five-cross flag appears to date back to the 14th century
Economy ::Georgia
Economy - overview:
Georgia's economy sustained GDP growth of more than 10% in 2006-07, based on strong inflows of foreign investment and robust government spending. However, GDP growth slowed to 2.1% in 2008 following the August 2008 conflict with Russia, and the economy contracted by about 7% in 2009 as foreign direct investment and workers' remittances declined in the wake of the global financial crisis. 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 and gas supply interruptions of the past by renovating hydropower plants and by increasingly relying on natural gas imports from Azerbaijan instead of 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, since coming to power in 2004, has simplified the tax code, improved tax administration, increased tax enforcement, and cracked down on petty corruption. However, the current economic downturn has eroded the tax base and led to a decline in the budget surplus and an increase in public borrowing needs. The country is pinning its hopes for renewed growth on a determined effort to continue to liberalize the economy by reducing 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):
$20.29 billion (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 122
$21.82 billion (2008 est.)
$21.37 billion (2007 est.)
note: data are in 2009 US dollars
GDP (official exchange rate):
$11.11 billion (2009 est.)
GDP - real growth rate:
-7% (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 200
2.1% (2008 est.)
12.3% (2007 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP):
$4,400 (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 149
$4,700 (2008 est.)
$4,600 (2007 est.)
note: data are in 2009 US dollars
GDP - composition by sector:
agriculture: 12.2%
industry: 26%
services: 61.8% (2009 est.)
Labor force:
1.918 million (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 123
Labor force - by occupation:
agriculture: 55.6%
industry: 8.9%
services: 35.5% (2006 est.)
Unemployment rate:
16.4% (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 156
13.6% (2006 est.)
Population below poverty line:
31% (2006)
Household income or consumption by percentage share:
lowest 10%: 1.9%
highest 10%: 30.6% (2008)
Distribution of family income - Gini index:
40.8 (2009)
country comparison to the world: 59
37.1 (1996)
Investment (gross fixed):
22.5% of GDP (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 65
revenues: $3.125 billion
expenditures: $4.033 billion (2009 est.)
Inflation rate (consumer prices):
1.7% (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 62
10% (2008)
Central bank discount rate:
8% (25 December 2008)
NA% (31 December 2007)
note: this is the Refinancing Rate, the key monetary policy rate of the Georgian National Bank
Commercial bank prime lending rate:
22% (31 December 2009)
country comparison to the world: 15
20.8% (31 December 2008)
Stock of money:
$1.077 billion (31 December 2009)
country comparison to the world: 111
$972.4 million (31 December 2008)
Stock of quasi money:
$1.606 billion (31 December 2008)
country comparison to the world: 107
$1.379 billion (31 December 2007)
Stock of domestic credit:
$3.695 billion (31 December 2009)
country comparison to the world: 91
$3.598 billion (31 December 2008)
Market value of publicly traded shares:
$NA (31 December 2009)
country comparison to the world: 107
$327.3 million (31 December 2008)
$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:
-8.5% (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 135
Electricity - production:
7.97 billion kWh (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 99
Electricity - consumption:
6.902 billion kWh (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 100
Electricity - exports:
628 million kWh (2007 est.)
Electricity - imports:
430 million kWh (2007 est.)
Oil - production:
994.9 bbl/day (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 105
Oil - consumption:
13,000 bbl/day (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 142
Oil - exports:
1,486 bbl/day (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 120
Oil - imports:
16,590 bbl/day (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 121
Oil - proved reserves:
35 million bbl (1 January 2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 80
Natural gas - production:
8 million cu m (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 92
Natural gas - consumption:
1.73 billion cu m (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 82
Natural gas - exports:
0 cu m (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 176
Natural gas - imports:
1.72 billion cu m (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 49
Natural gas - proved reserves:
8.495 billion cu m (1 January 2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 81
Current account balance:
-$1.549 billion (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 142
-$2.915 billion (2008 est.)
$1.793 billion (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 132
$2.428 billion (2008 est.)
Exports - commodities:
scrap metal, wine, mineral water, ores, vehicles, fruits and nuts
Exports - partners:
Turkey 17.87%, Azerbaijan 12.3%, Bulgaria 9.6%, Canada 8.78%, UK 7.49%, Ukraine 6.82%, Spain 5.27%, US 4.99% (2009)
$4.298 billion (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 117
$6.261 billion (2008 est.)
Imports - commodities:
fuels, vehicles, machinery and parts, grain and other foods, pharmaceuticals
Imports - partners:
Turkey 16.81%, Azerbaijan 9.72%, Ukraine 9.17%, Russia 7.39%, US 6.63%, Germany 6.22% (2009)
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold:
$2.11 billion (31 December 2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 113
$1.48 billion (31 December 2008 est.)
Debt - external:
$3.381 billion (31 December 2009)
country comparison to the world: 114
$7.711 billion (31 December 2008)
Exchange rates:
laris (GEL) per US dollar - 1.6996 (2009), 1.47 (2008), 1.7 (2007), 1.78 (2006), 1.8127 (2005)
Communications ::Georgia
Telephones - main lines in use:
618,000 (2008)
country comparison to the world: 93
Telephones - mobile cellular:
2.755 million (2008)
country comparison to the world: 112
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 75 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:
104,243 (2009)
country comparison to the world: 72
Internet users:
1.024 million (2008)
country comparison to the world: 85
Transportation ::Georgia
22 (2009)
country comparison to the world: 133
Airports - with paved runways:
total: 18
over 3,047 m: 1
2,438 to 3,047 m: 7
1,524 to 2,437 m: 4
914 to 1,523 m: 4
under 914 m: 2 (2009)
Airports - with unpaved runways:
total: 4
914 to 1,523 m: 2
under 914 m: 2 (2009)
3 (2009)
gas 1,596 km; oil 1,258 km (2009)
total: 1,612 km
country comparison to the world: 80
broad gauge: 1,575 km 1.520-m gauge (1,575 electrified)
narrow gauge: 37 km 0.912-m gauge (37 electrified) (2008)
total: 20,329 km
country comparison to the world: 109
paved: 7,854 km (includes 13 km of expressways)
unpaved: 12,475 km (2006)
Merchant marine:
total: 191
country comparison to the world: 35
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
Transportation - note:
large parts of transportation network are in poor condition because of lack of maintenance and repair
Military ::Georgia
Military branches:
Georgian Armed Forces: Land Forces, Air and Air Defense Forces
note: naval forces have been incorporated into the coast guard (2010)
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: 1,094,390
females age 16-49: 1,140,758 (2010 est.)
Manpower fit for military service:
males age 16-49: 901,307
females age 16-49: 946,357 (2010 est.)
Manpower reaching militarily significant age annually:
male: 30,314
female: 28,299 (2010 est.)
Military expenditures:
0.59% of GDP (2005 est.)
country comparison to the world: 161
Military - note:
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
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

Source: The World Factbook (CIA)