Tbilisi (GBC) - Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili on Thursday addressed the 22nd Annual Central Asia Regional Economic Cooperation Ministerial Conference in the capital city of Tbilisi to highlight Georgia’s “unique” role in contributing to “shared regional prosperity” with its economic development.

Garibashvili noted Georgia had successfully maintained economic stability despite “challenges of regional and global scale” due to his Government’s “consistent and effective” economic policies.

“Our Government focuses on enhancing the competitiveness of our private sector, integrating the country into global value chains, upholding a business-friendly environment and efficiently leveraging the nation's transit and renewable energy potential”, he said.

Garibashvili said it was “gratifying” to see CAREC's key policy directions were “closely” aligned with Georgia's aspiration to serve as a regional hub offering a “simplified and accelerated” trade and transport route between Europe and Asia.

Speaking about the Middle Corridor, a transportation route network connecting China with Europe through the South Caucasus region, the Prime Minister stressed the importance of implementing large-scale infrastructure projects to ensure its “smooth” operations.

“As the significance of the so-called Middle Corridor is growing as a stable and secure alternative to traditional routes, we are committed to implementing large-scale infrastructure projects to facilitate the improvement of transportation and logistic connections”, he said.

The PM added the large-scale projects included the development of a new deep sea port in western Georgian seaside town of Anaklia, the Black Sea submarine electricity cable project, intended to connect the grids of the South Caucasus and European Union member states, railway modernisation project and construction of a new international airport in Tbilisi.

The Georgian PM said “numerous barriers” still impeded swift movement of goods, vehicles and individuals among CAREC countries.

“The seamless functioning of the Middle Corridor necessitates the establishment of joint checkpoint infrastructure enabling simultaneous border crossings between neighbouring countries through a one-stop principle. This approach aims at minimising the costs of transporting goods and maximising the effective utilisation of latest technological advancements”, he said.

The Conference is being hosted in Tbilisi for the first time, with senior officials from countries across central and west Asia and Masatsugu Asakawa, the President of the Asian Development Bank, in attendance.