Georgia was one of the first countries to gain formal independence after the collapse of Soviet Union; however, its development has been hampered by ethnic violence and a civil war, which has resulted in large segments of the population being displaced and/or otherwise negatively affected by the conflicts. More than ten years on, the ethnic conflicts are still not fully resolved. As a result, Georgia has yet to complete the transition to a modern market economy. The slowness of reforms and liberalization of the market has led to little increase in the economic prosperity of the population. In fact, the delays in the transitions led to high levels of unemployment, which in turn, left many Georgian citizens with few options other than to take up self-employment to generate income and make their livings. Over the years, the micro and small business sector has evolved and become very dynamic. This has fueled the demand for microfinance services giving rise to an emerging microfinance industry.
May 25, 2005