Opening the ‘Ingur/i gate’ for legal business

What conditions are needed for political acquiescence?

Business communities on the two sides of the Georgian-Abkhaz conflict are not uniform with regard to the assessment of the benefits of opening the ‘Ingur/i gate’ for legal business and demonstrate different degrees of preparedness to take the new opportunities should the ‘gate’ indeed open.

However, no business actor showed readiness to lobby their political leadership for a temporary regulatory framework that would decriminalise business projects that transcend the conflict barrier and open new markets and destinations now, while the political and security impasse may not be resolved for decades. Political will is necessary, according to the business community.

This study outlines the conditions that are either conducive to or that would prevent consolidating political – and public – will to let business function both as an economic and a public diplomacy actor. Cases where the private sector made a difference in the peace process and when the economy triggered political shifts and encouraged major societal transformations show that political deadlock may be overcome if rapprochement happens in other areas of interaction essential for wellbeing and security on all sides.

Clearly a certain degree of political will, however minimal, and public interest were necessarily present for such developments to serve as a driver of the peace process.